mini MUFF Profile: Kirsten Carthew

“In my opinion, feminism is an educational tool to change the world for the better.”

Fish Out Of Water

This month we’re doing something a little different with mini MUFF. Not only do we have SIX short films to show you, but we’ve also expanded our usual local fare to include selections from every corner of Canada! Teaming up with Etheria Film Night for this event, we used our combined programming expertise to find the darkest, creepiest, and bloodiest in Canadian women-directed horror.

First up: Fish Out of Water depicts a post-apocalyptic world where isolation is a given and deformity is the norm… where catching a fish takes days, if you are lucky. It tells the story of a world gone to shame… where one can get away with murder, but not without a reckoning.

Fish Out Of Water has screened at the Dead North Film Festival, Fantasia International Film Festival, Scream Queen Filmfest Tokyo, and Atlantic Film Festival.

Yellowknife-based filmmaker Kirsten Carthew has directed several short films and is currently working on her first feature, The Sun At Midnight. She also has several writing credits to her name and is a former producer and journalist with the CBC. She has worked as a filmmaker and transmedia producer in Europe, Canada, the Middle East, and the United States of America. In 2011 and 2012, Kirsten was nominated as a WiseWoman by the Status of Women Council for her role in co-founding two award-winning not-for-profit organizations.

Get to know more about Kirsten Carthew and her short film Fish Out Of Water!

Fish Out of Water poster

TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF AND HOW YOU GOT INVOLVED WITH FILMMAKING.

Kirsten Carthew: I am from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. I am a filmmaker because I choose to be and subsequently, invest my time, attention, and labour that way. I love visual storytelling and sharing characters and worlds that I am excited to create and collaborate with others to realize.

TELL US SOMETHING FUN OR INTERESTING ABOUT FISH OUT OF WATER.

KC: Fish Out Of Water was shot on location in Yellowknife over a weekend of -40° temperatures with a total of four crew members and two non-professional actors. I got frostbite on my toe, which turned a not-so-beautiful purple. Thankfully, it has since healed. Craft services was a fancy winterized tent set up on a frozen lake. We learned that fake blood insta-freezes in the cold and that, for better or worse, most people in Yellowknife can be bribed with doughnuts.

CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT SOME/ALL OF THE OTHER AMAZING WOMEN IN FILM WHO WORKED ON THIS SHORT?

KC: Tara Marchiori — Director of Photography. Tara is creative, practical and highly intuitive. She is the easiest person to work with. Check out her still work.

Nicole Garbutt — SPFX Makeup. Nicole is a detail-oriented artist, who is super generous with her time and mindshare. Check her out.

Mira Dunn — Actress, “Woman.” Mira is the coolest. She is game for adventure and was a total champion in the cold.

Ella Bertelson — Actress, “Girl.” Ella is a very thoughtful global citizen. Her way into the film was to showcase what the world might look like if we do not take care of it. Whereas, she finds the film too scary to watch, her 4-year-old sister Sumi is our biggest fan and watches the film almost daily.

Tiffany Beaudin — Editor. Tiffany is one of the best editors I know. She was just nominated for an award by the Canadian Cinema Editors for her work on Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah Canadian, which, by the way, was also nominated for an Oscar. I love the way Tiffany creates rhythm. She finds space for the characters to breathe and the audience to explore the story world even when the footage is tight. She is a little bit (very) magical.

Lisa Scott — Wardrobe. Lisa is an incredibly talented creative who can turn a towel into a classy dress. This was the first film Lisa worked on and I look forward to working with her again.

Fish Out of Water

TELL US ABOUT WHY YOU ARE A FEMINIST AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO YOUR FILMMAKING.

KC: Feminism champions a core value of mine, which is that everyone is important and has much to offer. I want to see positive changes effected in the world through the empowerment of individuals. In my opinion, feminism is an educational tool to change the world for the better.

WHO ARE YOUR FAVOURITE WOMEN WORKING IN THE FILM INDUSTRY?

KC: Off the top…
Cinematographer — Stephanie Weber-Biron 
Screenwriter — Janet Peoples, Terri Tatchell
Director — Agnieszka Holland, Julie Taymor,Kathryn Bigelow, Mary Harron
Actors — Carol Burnett, Devery Jacobs, Angela Bassett, Melissa McCarthy
Producer — Gale Anne Hurd, Anne-Marie Gèlinas, Kathleen Kennedy
Costume Design — Jenny Beavan

PUT TOGETHER YOUR DREAM TEAM (WITH YOU IN ONE OF THE ROLES, OBVS!)

KC: Exec Producer — Gale Ann Hurdy
Producer — Anne-Marie Gèlinas
Cinematographer — Stephanie Biron Weber
Writer — Terri Tatchell/Me
Director -Me
Editor — Tiffany Beaudin

Fish Out of Water

WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE ABOUT FILMMAKING YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED? WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO WOMEN THINKING ABOUT PURSUING CAREERS IN FILM?

KC: To be honest, I wish I had had more advice. With that in mind, I would encourage women to learn what they don’t know and then ask around. I find most people in the industry extremely generous with their mindshare.

IF A MOVIE ABOUT YOUR LIFE WAS CAST/CREATED, WHO WOULD STAR AS YOU AND WHAT GENRE WOULD IT BE?

KC: Espionage musical starring someone with a ridiculous and/or ridiculously great accent.

IF YOU COULD HOLD ANY GUINNESS WORLD RECORD IN THE WORLD, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

KC: I saw a TED presentation of a guy who plane hops… that. Or, something involving swimming with blue whales or best sleight of hand magic tricks.

Fish Out of Water

WHO IS THE BEST/SUPERIOR BATMAN?

KC: Michael Keaton

WHAT’S YOUR GO-TO JAM?

KC: Mixtape — iTunes, Mixcloud — Various DJs, my friend IddoPop

RECOMMEND ONE #MUFFAPPROVED FILM FOR OUR BLOG READERS:

KC: Antonia’s Line (dir. Marleen Gorris)


Learn more about Fish Out Of Water and X1A Films here, and check out Kirsten’s new film The Sun At Midnight here. On Twitter you can follow the hashtag #kirstencarthew.

miniMUFF is our short film program. Through it we celebrate local female talent by screening a short film before our monthly features and highlighting the filmmaker on our blog. Learn more here. Read past miniMUFF profiles here.

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