I’m so glad that I saw Proteus and then was able to take John Greyson’s Directing Master Class. It was a lot of fun and was packed with clips and great stories from the soft-spoken and genuinely nice guy that he is. I don’t know what I expected, but it was an engaging way to spend my Sunday afternoon. His background is in video art and while many try to categorize him, I think that he embodies the spirit of the independent filmmaker. All of his work is challenging and crams a dizzying range of ideas into beautiful structures. Seeing clips from his body of work along with his commentary revealed patterns, concerns and a wealth of information about telling a story through the media of film and video. A highlight for me was a short produced by Greyson as part of the 25th Anniversary of the Toronto International Film Festival that encapsulated the love that we have for film and festivals.
There were fascinating glimpses into the process that he has followed and the challenges that he has overcome. He is one of the many filmmakers who grew out of the coop scene which is the backbone of media arts production in Canada. His diverse experience was shared as he talked about his video art, feature filmmaking and episodic tv (“Made in Canada”, and “Queer as Folk”). I took pages of notes and here are some gems that I took from the session: “three is so nice”, Movies of the Week - “interesting ways to talk about our lives”, “lunches are good”, documentary - “an immersion in ideas and not emotions”, and directing is “finding what feels right.”