The last time I checked in with Rebeccah Love, one of the most exciting Canadian short filmmakers working today, her message was simple: “Focus on the community above all else.” Between 2018 and now, however, the idea of community – as in the common enjoyment of watching a movie together – was shattered. But now Love is back in full community mode with the long-awaited (at least in some Toronto movie circles) premiere of its new short, Parade Eve.
The 20-minute drama, which tells the story of a young woman (played by Love’s regular partner Sarah Swire) and her mania, is a deeply moving portrait of what happens when a community really cares – when neighbors cease to be familiar. and begin to become members of a genuine support system. Parade Eve It also serves as a landmark for love, ongoing mental health issues and even characters developed in her previous films. Mature, Pallor Parlor and A woman’s block – everything will be shown in parallel Parade Eve April 16 at the Paradise Theater in Toronto.
Prior to the event, Love spoke to The Globe and Mail about the intersection between art and projection.
All your movies are about mental health, especially when a young woman can not get the support she needs. How much does it draw from your own life experiences?
After graduating from high school, I had every intention of becoming a lawyer like my father. But I got sick long after my first year at university, experiencing mania and psychosis. It was a huge challenge, but my illness made me realize that I wanted to make a living. I was four years old when I came in and out of hospitals, but then I enrolled in Ryerson for film school, and by the time I was 21, I felt like I was in control of my illness.
However, your work started with a more conventional approach. I’m thinking about your rom-com acresfrom 2018.
It was a very Nicholas Sparks-style story, yes, but when I got there, I realized that I wanted to dig into my own story, into my own struggles, that would create a more exciting narrative. When I was 18 and struggling with my condition, I desperately needed to hear the story of a director who went through what I was going through. I did not have that and I felt quite alienated, isolated, scared. Now 31, I have not been hospitalized for 10 years, so my priority is to be the person I was looking for then. To reassure struggling people that it can be controlled and even turned into art and storytelling.
“Filter what you know” is an approach to storytelling, but it can cut both sides. How difficult is it for you to put your own races in the world?
On the one hand, it comes naturally – there is this healing aspect to it, where it is liberating and laxative. But there are also professional and personal implications. There may be employers who do not want to hire you. The people you date are terrified of your story. It is beautiful, fascinating, scary. But in the end it’s worth it.
Your movies really focus on the community. But it must have been difficult to miss this community, for the most part, for the last two years.
The community is a big part of my life and practice, so it was incredibly difficult. But I premiered my last film Pallor Parlor over the Zoom, and invited some psychiatrists to give speeches during the event. So it can happen.
You get Dr. Vicky Stergiopoulou, a general practitioner at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, to speak at Parade Eve sorting. How important is it to have outside voices of experts to complement your work?
It’s a controversial move for a community whose members have been abused in psychiatric institutions. But I’m fascinated by the way psychiatrists think, and I like the idea of building bridges between creative and medical communities. We both have a lot to say to each other. Like my job with the TIFF viewer, where I showed movies in places like CAMH, it all has to do with creating a dialogue.
Parade Eve premiere on April 16 at Paradise Theater in Toronto
This interview has been summarized and edited
Schedule your time on the screen with the weekly What to Watch newsletter. Register today.