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Xtra Xposed – Philip Lyall, Director, 65_RedRoses

Two Xtra Xposeds in one week? Girl you know it's true.

Here's why: it takes a community to propell an artist to national and international acclaim. Philip Lyall is a Vancouverite and his first full-length documentary, 65_RedRoses, is screening this year at the Vancouver International Film Festival. I believe in Philip's work and encourage all of you to catch one of the screenings of his film over the rest of the festival. For show times, check here.

1) Who the hell are you and what do you do?

My name is Philip Lyall and I'm a proud GAY filmmaker from Vancouver.

2) How long have you been involved in film?

My father is a television producer, so I've known about the business my whole life. I started as child actor where I found a love for performing in front of the camera. From there, I decided to attend film school at the University of British Columbia where I discovered my passion for making films and took more of a role behind the camera.

3) 65_RedRoses is screening at this year's Vancouver International Film Festival. How does it feel to have your movie showing in your hometown?

It's such a thrill! I am so proud to have my first feature documentary screening in my hometown at VIFF! Everyone I've ever known is attending the screenings and I feel so much support from family, friends and the medical community. They truly embrace the film!

4) 65_RedRoses is your first feature documentary film, which you co-directred, produced and edited. How long did it take you to make and how hard was it to wear so many different hats?

After I graduated film school in 2006, I was visiting Eva (the main subject of the film) regularly in hospital. When she told she had been placed on the transplant list for a set of new lungs, I called up my film school colleague Nimisha Mukerji. In May of 2007, we decided we had to shoot a documentary about her. We started filming in the summer of 2007 and completed post-production in February 2009.

In terms of the multiple roles I was juggling as co-director/producer/editor, it was psychotic yet liberating! I was basically in a marriage for two years with my partner Nimisha and it
was incredibly difficult. We both wanted the same thing but worked in very different ways. But I think when you finish making a film that you are really proud of and you know you've poured BLOOD, SWEAT and TEARS into it, it's in that moment you know you've produced something special.

5) In your mind, what's the appeal of the film? Why do you think it won the audience choice award for favourite Canadian documentary when it premiere
at Toronto's Hot Doc's Festival last May?

65_RedRoses is a high drama film about young woman facing their own mortality. The stakes are high and the characters are bigger than life. Eva Markvoort is not only beautiful but utterly magnetic on screen. I think you know you have an amazing documentary subject when the individual begins to tell their story and the audience is so transfixed that you can hear a pin drop. The reason it did so well at Hot Doc's and connected with people is because it dealt with universal themes such as family support, friendship, and death. Since it's about
a girls journey through transplant, we hope every viewer is inspired to become an organ donor.

6) What is it like to be out in an industry where the majority of actors, directors and producers stay in the closet for the sake of their careers?

In my position as a director/producer, i feel it's a plus be openly gay. Being a "minority" works to my advantage! Whether it's a documentary subject or an actor, I believe i can connect with a wide range of subject matter that deals with pain and over coming certain obstacles because I had to deal with that in my own experiences. To a certain extent, I can sympathize and understand the characters
situation and in turn I can tell a story that's full of insight and compassion.

7) How important are gay themes and gay content to your work?

I'm actually moving into gay content on my next project. I'm very interested in stories about young adults confronting for the first time their new found homosexual feelings. It's such a scary, exciting and emotional time and I think people need to see these stories in order for people to be sympathetic towards our situation.

8) Where can people catch 65_RedRoses?

You can catch 65_RedRoses at the Vancouver International Film Festival

  • Friday, Oct. 9th (1:45pm) at Vancity Theatre
  • Saturday, Oct. 10th (6:30pm & 9:30pm) Granville 7 Theatre
  • Tuesday, Oct. 13th (11:00am) Granville 7 Theatre
9) What's next for you?

I'm developing an 8 episode docu-drama series called "Homosexuals Anonymous". It's about the sexual re-orientation movement in the US. 
Richard Cohen, a psychotherapist and the leader in gay reparative therapy, believes you can change ones same sex attractions back to
heterosexual feelings. Very controversial and so fucking interesting!

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