mini MUFF Profile: Alexandra Cananzi & Sierra Wong
“I don’t necessarily set out to make feminist films. I simply want to make interesting films, and to tell stories that haven’t been told a million times already.”
This month’s mini MUFF director, Alexandra Cananzi, proudly proclaims, “If it doesn’t have explosions, it’s not worth making.” That’s just one of the reasons why her film Suite Spot is the perfect pairing for Rachel Talalay’s comic book-based apocalyptic sci-fi action comedy Tank Girl. Suite Spot tells the tale of JuicyLucy, a regular on Suitespot.com — a sexting site for the romantically rejected — whose internet boy-toy blows up in her face (quite literally), leaving her searching for answers with site newbie Stretch. See both films at this month’s MUFF event — July 13th, 2016 — at Carlton Cinema!
Besides its showing at Ryerson University Film Festival (where it won the Technicolor Award for Post Production), this will be the first time Suite Spot has been seen on a big screen.
Get to know the amazing Toronto-based filmmakers behind Suite Spot: the writer and director, Alexandra Cananzi, and the producer and editor Sierra Wong.
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF AND HOW YOU GOT INVOLVED WITH FILMMAKING.
Alexandra Cananzi: From Oakville, Ontario. I started making movies when I received a handy-cam for my 12th birthday. It started with Harry Potter spoofs, and it will probably end with Harry Potter spoofs, but in between I want to create the same magical worlds that engrossed me as a kid for the next generation. I’m the type of person who laughs hysterically at her own jokes, and cries easily when watching the news.
Sierra Wong: I’m a 23-year-old girl from Toronto, working as a video editor. My three loves are food, film, and traveling, so I try my best to fill my life with all three, sometimes all at the same time. When you eat something, see something, or go somewhere that is terrifying and amazing, those are the best parts of life.
TELL US SOMETHING FUN OR INTERESTING ABOUT SUITE SPOT.
AC: 1.The original title for SuiteSpot.com was ExplodeYourDick.com but was changed for PG13 purposes.
2.The final render for our film was 76 hours (which we divided amongst 4 computers)
3. Episodes of Teen Wolf kept us going.
SW: This film was an insane amount of effort from Alex and I. Of course, many people helped along the way, but for the majority of the work, it was just the two of us soldiering on. We pitched together. We built the flats for the set together. We tore down the set together. We lived in a tiny closet, never sleeping, doing VFX together. We reached the brink of insanity together, and I’m not sure that we ever came back. But when you get to splatter fake blood in a hotel room that the queen has slept in, I guess it’s all worth it.
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT SOME/ALL OF THE OTHER AMAZING WOMEN IN FILM WHO WORKED ON THIS SHORT?
AC: The most important person who worked on this film would be my producer, editor, and friend Sierra Wong. Without her support I would never have had the confidence to make this ridiculous film. Too often we would look at each other and say, “What are we doing?” and then laugh and do it anyways. I also want to give a huge shout out to the actresses Joanna Areti, Norah Noble, and Darcy Stewart: who brought their A-game every day, and taught me so much about the directing process. And last but not least is our production designer Jenn Gaines, who wasn’t afraid to stick her thumb in hot glue (I will never forget). All of these ladies believed in me even when I didn’t.
SW: Obviously our director Alex is the first to come to mind. The film was her idea, and she wrote the script. Anyone who knows her will tell you she is one of the most unique people you will ever meet, and she has no filter. She always has the strangest, silliest, most original ideas, which is why I love working with her. Hopefully she doesn’t read this because I don’t usually say this many kind things about her.
Another key role was our Production Designer Jenn, who is awesome and helped bring the whole vision to life.
There were a whole bunch of other ladies on set, doing anything from gripping, to continuity, to make-up, and so on. I’m not going to name them all but they were all awesome.
TELL US ABOUT WHY YOU ARE A FEMINIST AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO YOUR FILMMAKING.
SW: I’ve never liked the question, “Why are you a feminist?” because it seems incredibly obvious. A better use of time might be asking all the people who don’t support women or other minorities why they are assholes.
I don’t necessarily set out to make feminist films. I simply want to make interesting films, and to tell stories that haven’t been told a million times already. It just so happens that the stories that don’t get told are the ones belonging to the most marginalized groups, which includes women.
WHO ARE YOUR FAVOURITE WOMEN WORKING IN THE FILM INDUSTRY?
AC: Deepa Mehta, Christina Piovesan, Judi Dench, Jodi Foster, Rachel McAdams, Lynne Ramsay, Elizabeth Banks, Valerie Kaelin.
SW: Andrea Arnold, Sarah Polley, Tilda Swinton, Evan Rachel Wood, Margaret Sixel.
WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE ABOUT FILMMAKING YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED? WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO WOMEN THINKING ABOUT PURSUING CAREERS IN FILM?
AC: Always make time for your family and loved ones, they will be your biggest source strength when you hit your hardest walls. Also, remember that opportunities will always come again.
SW: Find a way to keep creating, despite money or time. Don’t count on the Canadian film industry to help you out because it is very broken. Get creative and do it yourself.
IF YOU COULD HOLD ANY GUINNESS WORLD RECORD IN THE WORLD, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
AC: The biggest comic book collection.
SW: Most plates of gnocchi ever eaten.
WHO IS THE BEST/SUPERIOR BATMAN?
AC: Ben Affleck’s chin.
SW: The best Batman hasn’t been made yet. It’s the one that Alex and I plan to make, starring Joseph Gordon Levitt in every role. He will be the best Batman.
WHAT’S YOUR GO-TO JAM?
AC: Any and all k-pop.
SW: There was a time when I would’ve had a cool alternative band to say, but now I mostly just listen to Carly Rae Jepsen.
WHAT MALE MOVIE/TV CHARACTER ARE YOU DREAMING WOULD GET A GENDER-SWAP?
AC: Donald Trump, on the condition that he also becomes a person of colour.
SW: Probably James Bond or some other super masculine character.
RECOMMEND ONE #MUFFAPPROVED FILM FOR OUR BLOG READERS:
AC: A Little Princess
SW: Mad Max: Fury Road
#miniMUFF is our short film program to celebrate local female talent. We do so by screening a short film before our monthly features and highlighting the filmmaker on our blog. Learn more here. Read past mini MUFF profiles here.