Your Name: Brenda Longfellow
Where are you from? Originally Northern Ontario, a little mining town called Copper Cliff
The name of your film in the festival: Carpe Diem
What was your inspiration for this film? After spending three years completing a conventional film on the environmental crisis (Weather Report, 2007), which had exactly zero impact, I began to think about approaching the issue of climate change from an entirely different perspective. What if all our notions of informed debate and rational discussion were meaningless next to the overwhelming and entrenched power of the oil regime in which we all live and from which we all benefit to greater and lesser degrees? What if instead of the one- dimensional politics of denunciation, we use humor and irony as a way to address our seeming incapacity to change? Why not go completely over the top and use opera with a two -headed singing fish as the perfect embodiment of the perversity of our allegiance to oil?
It seemed to me that using opera to raise questions concerning the social impact of the Alberta Tar Sands development, allows the film to highlight the epic, even mythic aspects of this collective act of hubris. Given the planet changing implications of the Tar Sands, an aesthetic tone of black comedy seems uncannily appropriate.
Why did you choose to submit to the DCISFF? Who could resist Dawson City?
Brenda Longfellow is hosting an interactive workshop, From Documentary to Documentary Opera, on Friday from 12 noon to 5 pm. Carpe Diem kicks off At the Confluence on Saturday at 7 pm.