Film Fridays: Filmmaker Interview with Jordan Bouma, Jumanji Recap, & Calls for Films & Video Art
I’m excited to welcome a budding filmmaker to Film Fridays today!
The best part of Film Fridays (and Artsy Mondays and Writer Wednesdays) is the opportunity we have to learn from each other. To see into the creative life of another person, get inspired and connected, and get excited about promoting people who are out there doing amazing work. That’s pretty awesome.
Thank you for reading & please share this interview : )
When did you know you wanted to be a filmmaker?
I think there was always a storyteller in my bones. For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to tell stories. There’s something incredible about the fact that I have the power to bring anything I imagine into existence. Anything I want to make, I can make. I’ve explored this in every art medium I can get my hands on. It explains why I do so many paintings and continue to work in the art department in film. I officially decided I wanted to pursue filmmaking as a career in 2013. I left Edmonton in 2014 to attend a film production program at Confederation College in Thunder Bay, Ontario.
Who are the filmmakers and what are the films that have had the greatest influence on you and why?
I am a bit of a cinema-geek, so my list of inspirations are long. To name a few, I adore directors such as Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Terry Gilliam, Tim Burton, the Coen Brothers, Wes Anderson, Spike Jonze and many more. Their works are all extremely visually compelling, which is one of my main goals as a filmmaker. In particular, I love a lot of that grim and messy 90’s look that a lot of the listed directors have. I think this is partially because I love the look of practical sets and props. I like things to feel tangible and organic.
Where did you learn your filmmaking skills or are you self-taught?
I was self-taught until I decided to be taught much later. I always made little skits and animated short films as a teenager, so I picked up quite a few skills along the way. Then I took film production in college and I realized how much I still had to learn. Don’t get me wrong, my knowledge of filmmaking rocketed in those short couple of years. It was a really good school and they taught me a lot, but I don’t think you ever stop learning when it comes to film. I’ve found the best strategy is to surround yourself with people who are smarter than you.
What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned along the way?
Don’t compare your filmmaking careers with other people. There will always be more successful, better filmmakers than you. Some of those people will be your friends and co-workers. But don’t join the rat race trying to prove you’re a success. I find the best way to view your own film, is by asking yourself if it’s better than your last film. If so, it’s a success. If not, it’s a learning experience.
The second greatest lesson I learned was to be a finisher. You’re always going to want to strangle your own film in the process, but it’s better to have a completed film than a half-finished project that will never see the light of day.
What is the inspiration behind your work?
I’m fueled by a relentless need to tell stories in new and unique ways. I don’t want to make a film that already exists. Also being a Christian filmmaker, I refuse to make inspirational “Hallmark” films that come off as preachy. “Christian” is not a film genre.
What has been your favorite project that you’ve worked on?
There have been so many favourite projects I’ve worked on, it’s hard to choose. Most notably, I worked as a grip on season 2 of the Netflix Original, Lost in Space. That was the biggest set I’ve been on so far. Every once in awhile I would just look around the set and think to myself, “I’m here. I’m actually here.” It looked just like the big sets I would watch on the special features of my VHS and DVDs as a kid.
I think the other notable one would be my experience directing my short film, Utak. It was my first time directing after graduating from film school, so it was a big step for me personally. I got to learn about the joys of film insurance, equipment renting and what to do if your assistant director suddenly has a severe allergic reaction on set. Yes, that last one happened. It was truly a big learning experience, and the outcome of the film I am still immensely proud of.
Do you have any filmmaking rituals or habits when you’re working on a project?
Not any habits per say, but I always have a rule that there needs to be one really cool thing about the film we are making. Something that will grab the audience’s attention immediately and stay in their minds long after the credits roll.
What has been your greatest challenge or struggle as a filmmaker? How have you/are you choosing to overcome it?
My greatest challenge in filmmaking is filmmaking itself. There is so much to do, and so much can go wrong. I think the hardest part is you have to do it every day. There’s no shortage of things to do, situations to handle, papers to sign, money to sort, scripts to rewrite, auditions to go through, cuts to edit, and deadlines to meet. You as a filmmaker are at the mercy of the film, and it’s up to you to see it through without compromising.
What advice do you have for aspiring filmmakers?
My advice for aspiring filmmakers is to remain humble. Be gentle and kind to everyone you work with. The filmmaking world is built on networking, and most people call the ones they enjoyed working with, so never be a prideful or mean-spirited. Also, if you want to make a film, just do it! Whenever I am at a crossroads, I ask myself which I would regret more: Trying something and failing, or not trying and wondering what might’ve been. That always helps me commit to jumping into this terrifying cinema world.
What destination around the world would you most like to capture in film?
Honestly, I get so excited whenever we scout out a really cool location, I’m game to film anywhere so long as it’s practical. There have been so many amazing locations at our fingertips here in Canada, I don’t really feel a need to travel across the globe to film. I have traveled to various parts of Alberta and Ontario, and I’ve seen locations turned into everything from a 1970’s office to an alien planet.
If you could have any superpower, which would you choose?
I always answer this by saying the power to create illusions, because I love messing with people. You could yell, “There’s a giant man-eating dung beetle behind you!” And it would be true. Imagine their faces!
When you are not making films, what are your favorite hobbies?
When I’m not filmmaking, I am painting and drawing. I love creating art. I do graphic design as well, which is nice because I have had a lot of opportunities to create posters and ads for films I’ve worked on. When I’m not painting, I am unicycling and practicing my juggling. My plan is to join the circus if filmmaking doesn’t work out.
The debate over what movie we will watch for movie night tonight still rages on in my house. In a family of five (two adults, three kids ranging from 10 to 4 years old), all with differing tastes in films, it can be hard to come to a consensus about what to watch.
I do want to give a little recap of my movie night from last week.
I wasn’t over the moon about Jumanji: The Next Level. It was okay. There were lots of laughs and new surprises – which were great. I’m finding it difficult to put my finger on what exactly irked me about this film…
In some ways, there were too many characters, though I did enjoy the “old grandpa” reactions to being inside the game. There were six lead characters in the real world, hence six inside the game, not to mention a plethora of supporting characters. With that many people to keep track of, it felt like I didn’t get enough of the characters I love.
In the first movie, we start in the real word, are transported to Jumanji and stay there, only returning at the end. This installment of Jumanji went back and forth, back and forth. Add this to the large cast, and it felt like a bit too much.
Does that make sense?
Also, was not a fan of the wardrobe of Awkwafina’s character. Her outfit looked better suited for The Matrix, while the others in the game were clothed for an expedition. She also had a lot of eye make-up on, which didn’t jive with the the feel of the “game.” Hence, these aesthetic choices were bothersome.
Overall, the movie was enjoyable, though it did not live up to its predecessor.
This week was my first in the role of Curator at the Multicultural Heritage Centre in Story Plain Alberta. YAY!!
Attention: Filmmakers & Video Artists!
Open Call for video art and films for screening – COMING SOON!
Soon I will release two calls for submissions for a video art exhibition and a series of film screening evenings.
Please watch this blog and consider submitting.
I am a big proponent of film as an art form, and, in the gallery, I give space for video arts, as well as creating more opportunities to screen indie films.
Perhaps you are nervous about submitting. I’ve been there.
The best advice I’ve ever received is: Do things before you are ready.
My friend Kelly Mellings said this to me almost two decades ago. He told me how he would apply for his dream jobs, even those ones beyond his skill set, and if he got them, he’d learn so he was capable and skilled to excel at what was given to him to do.
If you have a project, I’d love to see it.
Stay tuned for all my “calls for submissions” for artwork.
Subscribe to my e-newsletter to have these opportunities sent right to you.
What I believe: I am a huge supporter of local art. Both its creation and presentation. Art plays an important role in our society, broadly and personally. It is an attraction and also a critical means of communication. It speaks to the age we live in and the world we wish to form tomorrow. I am thrilled to have a part in setting the temperature of the cultural climate where I live. I bring passion, vision, and bountiful energy to my role as Curator. It’s more than a job to me. It is a calling.