For anyone hoping to maintain a semblance of real-life and responsibility during the Vancouver International Film Festival— reconsider your priorities. In addition to offering a number of feature-length films and shorts, the VIFF lineup includes a number of must-see creator talks. TV show buffs in particular should take note because some of the industry’s top professionals are stepping onto the VIFF stage to discuss the inner workings of shows like Game of Thrones, Westworld, The Handmaid’s Tale, and more — all series that have raised the proverbial bar when it comes to primetime storytelling. Interested? Check out the list below for VIFF’s upcoming Creator Talks hosted at the Vancity Theatre.
Executive producer, showrunner, writer, transmedia pioneer- Carlton Cuse is a jack of all trades and a master of, well, all. Avid TV show watchers have likely heard of Cuse thanks to his work on the hit series Lost — Cuse explored transmedia by integrating the TV show with the internet in unprecedented ways. Plus, his writing and producing roles with the show earned him two Primetime Emmy Awards. More recently, Cuse developed the five-season series, Bates Motel, a contemporary reimagining of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. And although Bates Motel’s finale aired earlier this year, Cuse has no shortage of work. The prolific writer has multiple projects on the go, including Colony for USA Network and the upcoming Jack Ryan for Amazon. Anyone hoping to learn more about Cuse’s artistic oeuvre should check out his talk on September 29 at 6:00 PM.
Jeremy Podeswa and Greg Middleton
Still reeling from Game of Thrones season seven? At VIFF, you’ll get to hear from two men whose talents contributed to the show’s success. Toronto-born film director Jeremy Podeswa directed the premier and finale of Game of Thrones’ latest season (“Winter is coming” and “The Dragon and the Wolf,” respectively). In addition to Game of Thrones, Podeswa has worked on multiple HBO series, including True Detective, True Blood, and Boardwalk Empire. He has also earned directing credits on shows like The Walking Dead, American Horror Story, The Borgias, and Queer as Folk.
Cinematographer Greg Middleton joins Podeswa on stage to illuminate his own career milestones. Podeswa, who joined the Game of Thrones team in 2014, boasts an impressive catalogue of TV shows and feature films: Middleton has worked on Better than Chocolate, The Five Senses, Between Strangers, Kissed, and more. Plus, Middleton and Podeswa tackled the multi-award-winning Fugitive Pieces together; Podeswa wrote and directed the film, while Middleton brought his notoriously subtle camera work to the project.
Helen du Toit from the CBC Breaking Barriers Film Fund will interview the two creatives on September 30 at 5:00 PM.
Costume design sets the stage for the spatiotemporal environments of our favourite shows and films. One of the women at the forefront of contemporary costume design, Ane Crabtree, has contributed to the audience’s perceptions of the characters and places in shows like Pan Am, The Sopranos, and Westworld. Most recently, she designed the costumes for the TV show The Handmaid’s Tale — a contemporary take on Margaret Atwood’s 1985 dystopian novel with the same title. There is more than meets the eye in Crabtree’s designs, and her Creator Talk will likely elucidate what’s behind her creative decisions. In a recent Q&A with Vogue, Crabtree explained her obsession with colour during the development of The Handmaid’s Tale. In the article she says, “In Atwood’s simplified universe, everyone was divided into controlled groups depending on their role. Each subsector needed a uniform to overthrow any individuality, so colour was a very tribal way to identify this.” For more insights into the world of costume design, check out Crabtree’s Creator Talk on October 2 at 6:30 PM.
From music video production and blockbuster hits like The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, to episodic thrillers Hannibal and critically-acclaimed Black Mirror, executive producer and director David Slade has navigated the challenges associated with pretty much every film genre imaginable. Most recently, Slade reunited with his Hannibal team to work on the new TV show adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s novel, American Gods, the first episode of which will screen at the talk. Join Slade as he discusses his cinematic language and recounts various situations he has encountered while working on indie films, Hollywood blockbusters, and popular TV shows.
Tom Goodman, the chief TV critic at Hollywood Reporter will facilitate the discussion on October 4 at 6:30 PM.
The final Creator Talk will follow the Canadian premiere of the SYFY/Netflix series Ghost Wars, created by Vancouver-based screenwriter, director, and film and television producer Simon Barry, and produced by Nomadic Pictures. Barry will take the stage after the premiere to discuss the show, which follows fictional character Roman Mercer, a local outcast living in a small Alaskan town overrun by paranormal forces. The show’s protagonist has to learn to channel his psychic powers in order to drive away the haunting. Audience members may recognize Barry’s name from his work on the Canadian sci-fi series Continuum. VIFF’s final Creator Talk takes place on October 10 at 8:30 PM.
Get tickets to any of these amazing talks here.