FLICK HARRISON's interview on City TV's Breakfast TV
[click here to go back to the Sex, Drugs, Love, Marx page]

FF: I'm Fiona Forbes

M: And I'm Michael Eckford and we're film... and we're being filmed, filming, something like that. Flick Harrison is joining us right now, underground filmmaker extraordinaire, he's got a new movie coming out, "Sex, Drugs, Love, Marx...", and we're also going to talk about the theatre scene in Vancouver as well, in terms of where you can actually get movies seen if you're an underground filmmaker, how are you Flick?

FH: I'm good, great.

M: Now, what is this, just documenting stuff for fun?

FH: Yeah, I figure, you know, might as well film everything.

FF: You're a filmmaker, it's what you do, but you have to tell people out there who haven't had a chance to see your movie yet, what it's all about.

FH: Okay, it's called 'Sex, Drugs, Love, Marx...,' it's basically about a couple who moves from Vancouver to Ottawa and they sort of start having trouble because she's got a harsh corporate job that she hates, she has insomnia, and he's just graduated from university so he wants to slack off for a while and sort of scope things out and get into whatever.

M: Well it's interesting cos if there's one thing that causes stress, I think, in relationships that people don't recognize sometimes it's the role that your work plays in putting stresses on relationships people have.

FH: Yeah, and that's kind of one of the objectives I had when I was making the film was to try and take microeconomics, how people's jobs and their financial needs and all that stuff affects their relationships and try to map that out in a really systematic way.

M: How many movies is this for you now, is this 11 or...

FH: I think I've made 50 or 60 movies...

M: That's incredible.

FF: What the heck?

M: Cause people are intimidtated sometimes when they think about, people think they have a vision for a movie, we had a gentleman on just the other day that was talking about it. Do you lose the intimidation after a while and just give 'er?

FH: You have to sort of not care, because there's so many things that people can say like, Oh, you can't do this, you can't do that, and you have to just...

FF: "These are the rules to make a succesful movie." And your movie has a really different look... it's black and white. Your DOP, very well-known photographer Jane Weitzel shot it for you and i think that's a huge part that gives it the kind of different look. What was your vision for how the movie comes across visually?

FH: I chose Jane because I actually worked with her in Pakistan, I worked with her on Capsule Magazine, Taxi Magazine, so I knew she was a wicked still photographer, so I figured if I just hand her a video camera, it was the first time she ever picked up a videocamera, and I just said, don't learn, here's the camera, compose with your eye, she knows black and white better than anyone I know, and she doesn't have all the crap...

FF: Preconceived notions that people have...

FH: Yeah, and a lot of cinematographers, it's understandable, the money that's involved, there's so much money that's riding on every shot, uh, I knew she wouldn't be as precious about because she didn't have as much training.

FF: You have to mention why you chose a woman to shoot your movie.

FH: oh, well, it's kind of a marxist-feminist thing, right, I know the camera department is the phallic symbol department of the film industry...

FF: What? [to cameraguy] Greg? An extension of what?

M: Our camera op's like, what am I holdin' here?

FH: Well, the steadicam's flexible, so... that's important.

M: That's an extra thing. But you really do get a different view when a woman's behind the camera. At least that's the theory.

FH: It's the gaze, right. Yeah, what are you looking at. What does your eye, for a man, you're obviously, if you're a straight man, you're going to be looking at a female body in a certain way, and a straight woman looks at it in a different way, lesbian woman, gay man, you all have these different ways of looking at various types of bodies, and so I like to mess with that.

FF: Give it a twist.

M: We talked about the visual aspect in terms of the black and white and the different look of the film, but you use audio in a really different way as well, the soundtrack of the whole film. And it's really effective, I was surprised by that a little bit, you know when you really don't necessarily expect as a viewer cause you've never really seen it before in a film.

FH: That's what I like to hear, you know, something that hasn't been done before. Craig Huxtable who did the sound was, he worked for months and months, partly because his computer is very slow at rendering...

FF: Well, I'm gonna go on a road trip to seattle.

FH: Yeah, he has a band called Landscape Body machine where he does insane techno stuff, plus he's done sound for video games, like this game called GunMetal. Again I didn't get a film industry sound person because I didn't want it to sound like every film, like "correct sound." So he messed around and did a lot of weird stuff and tripped out.

FF: So this film "Sex, Drugs, Love, Marx..." is at the Blinding Light Cinema May 17-18. Blinding Light where I've seen some very interesting films amongst other things, what's the story, why is it closing?

FH: I have to put the camera down for this.

FF: Are you gonna cry?

FH: I'm actually gonna cry.

M: You are gonna cry!

FH: I actually got someone to write an article about it for Broken Pencil and I almost cried when I read the article. Basically the Blinding Light is the best place for cinema in Vancouver, because it's six or seven nights a week of pure, underground, independent stuff from all over the world, and you know people all over North America, people from he Chicago Underground Film Fest, programmers in San Francisco, New York, that I've talked to, they all know about it and they're all horribly depressed. It's very sad.

M: Well it's hard because in these days when you see the big feature films, the matrix and things like that, there's a place for them but you see them sort of starting to dominate more than people are comfortable with.

FH: Well, yeah, they've just been the rule, and as you get the sort of digital film revolution going, you get the digital counter-revolution where they wanna switch all our TV's to HD, high definition, and then you can't show the old DV stuff, the indie stuff, because it doesn't look as good.

FF: Your job is to go see this movie and many other independent films showing all over Vancouver. What we're going to do now is take a break.

M: It's awesome, it's a great show.

[music rises]

FF: I love how you didn't even look, you just set up that shot....[fade out]