This Friday, Nov 16th at 7PM, The Klondike Institute of Art & Culture, Dog Day, and Divorce Records present Lowlife, a feature film by Seth Smith, at the Oddfellows Ballroom. For more information on the film, please visit http://lowlife-movie.com/
This screening is part of a cross Canada theatrical premiere that includes screenings in every Canadian province and territory throughout the weekend. KIAC is thrilled to be a part of this presentation, and caught up with Seth Smith, man of many hats including director, writer, and producer, to talk briefly about the film and his do-it-yourself approach to film making and distribution. Admission will be $5 for Dawson City Arts Society members and $7 for non-members. We hope to see you there!
The production of Lowlife has been described as, “physically, emotionally, and financially taxing,” and “an obsession that often meant the sacrifice of family, friends, and other projects.” Is this typical of your working practice or was there something about this specific project that required a different sort of engagement?
Seth Smith: It did take over our lives. That’s part of the reason the title stuck I think. I generally try not to let work leech into my person life, but because of our budget and the enormity of the project, we were kind of forced to live in that world for half a year. I think it really helped though. Everyone working on the production was doing this for the first time, so I think the amount of dedication helped the actors and the characters and made the overall Lowlife world more real. Watching it now, it feels like it was a real event in my life. Darcy still has war style flashbacks. Ha.
Can you describe the role of nature and wilderness in Lowlife?
Seth Smith: The environment here really had an impact on the tone of the film. The coastal areas here have a definitive look and that was something we kind of wanted to showcase. We get a good share of storms and heavy wind which really effects the terrain. Trees are small and slanted, the landscape’s freckled with boulders and rocks. It looks like a dead zone. Time wise, we thought the end of the Winter would be the best fit. Desolate yet hopeful with lots of new growth and rebirth… It ended up being a really cold time of year to be rolling around in a bog, but it added a harsh edge that complimented the theme of fighting an addiction.
Has there been any surprising feedback from the festival screenings?
Seth Smith: Views have been mixed. A lot of different interpretations of the story, different feelings about it, but the one thing is that people have a view, and that’s what I want. You know… People to care. If you’re thinking about it later on, then it worked as far as I’m concerned. I like films that have longevity in the way that people take it home with them afterwards, trying to compete it, like it’s their own problem. But yeah, we were overjoyed to win the Audience Award at the Atlantic Film Festival, for me it’s the realest one, by the people.
Lowlife is screening at alternative spaces in every Canadian province and territory this weekend. What does this say to you about the national artistic community?
Seth Smith: I think it’s a great time in Canada for this type of thing. There is a lot of do-it-yourself energy out there, and people are getting used to putting on their own events. We’re completely overjoyed with all of the organizers help putting this together. We didn’t expect so much support. I think it is the perfect time in history for DIY film distribution. Projectors are accessible, the internet works better and it’s easier to network. I think there will always be a hunger for art that is a little left of dial and isn’t supported by mainstream channels.
Cast / crew photo by Aaron McKenzie Fraser