When did you know you wanted to be a filmmaker?
I knew I wanted to be a filmmaker when I was a teenager and always guessed the plots and who ‘dunnit’. I used to say, ‘If I make a movie, I will do it like this etc. etc.
Who are the filmmakers and what are the films that have had the greatest influence on you and why?
The film that influenced me the most was the Matrix. It is the only film I went back to the theatre and watched twice more. That is the only movie that I have ever watched more than once in a theatre. I was fascinated with the amazing concept and the action. Trinity was one of the coolest characters and had an influence on my feature Replecan.
Where did you learn your filmmaking skills or are you self-taught?
I am self-taught in most things I do. I work in a non-linear fashion so the school of hard knocks is the best learning environment for me.
Suza Film Replecan
What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned along the way?
The greatest lesson I have learned is work with people who trust you and whom you trust. Work with people who inspire you. You either feel good working with someone or you don’t. Listen to your gut.
What is the inspiration behind your work?
The inspiration behind my work is growing up in a society where people of color especially women were maids, servants, slaves, backing singer etc. etc. ad nauseum. I went outside and found myself in a multi-cultural environment but entertainment rarely portrayed this. I found myself complaining for quite some time. I decided well no one is going to do it, I better roll up my sleeves. I consider myself doing a public service, to ensure under represented groups and at least point to one movie where the person of color does not die first.
What has been your favorite project that you’ve worked on?
My favorite project I think was Future Shift. If I did not have fun on that production, I doubt I would have continued. Despite the challenges of losing the final edit three times (one being in the 2013 flood) and vowing never to do one more movie ever again – that the 1st AD Hernan knowingly responded “Yep we all say that, just wait.” I still enjoyed the experience.
Do you have any filmmaking rituals or habits when you’re working on a project?
Yes I do. I never let anyone on set without meeting them prior. It is one of my golden rules. I had an experience when a person despite being told it was a closed set brought someone to the set and it threw a lot of things into turmoil. I spend a lot of time creating an energy of creativity and support and I work with people who enhance that energy. I get brilliant performances from many of my actors and sometimes in my humble opinion I would describe their performances as World Class, Oscar worthy but it doesn’t happen by accident.
Suza and Regina King
What has been your greatest challenge or struggle as a filmmaker? How have you/are you choosing to overcome it?
The greatest struggle I had, was understanding that filmmaking is a business not a meritocracy. I have started to learn the ‘business of filmmaking’ which has little to do with creativity or merit.
What advice do you have for aspiring filmmakers?
My best advice is ask yourself do you have to make this movie? If the answer is yes, then it is up to you and you alone to make the movie. There is rarely someone waiting in the wings to hand you over ten million dollars to create it. Build up a resume of projects and learn the business of filmmaking at the same time.
What destination around the world would you most like to capture in film?
There are so many but I would say that Europe or Thailand would be great. Somewhere warm for sure. The interesting thing is that as a kid I watched many Westerns and loved the scenery of the mountains. I feel very fortunate to be able to film here in Alberta – the scenery – not too shabby!
If you could have any superpower, which would you choose?
The superpower I would choose is being able to give people the power of discernment.
When you are not making films, what are your favorite hobbies?
When I am not making films I am oil painting listening to saxophone instrumental smooth jazz, composing music, practicing TaeKwondo and gymnastics, walking in nature and traveling.
Where can people find you online or in person?
People can find me here: