How do you know when you’ve made a great movie?

I have just come back from Gimli, Manitoba where they held their 12th annual film festival. I was invited to attend not only to screen MOON POINT (Sean Cisterna) and a short film I also Executive Produced entitled HIDDEN DRIVEWAY (Sarah Goodman), but also to sit on a panel and moderate another. Both panels were lively, informative and presented to full houses.

Many emotional conversations took place in Gimli over the last four days that continue to give me affirmation of my passion for what I do for a living, and why I do it. Especially when for the most part I earn no money, and live in a basement apartment at the tender age of 49. Most people don’t believe or understand why I would work as hard as I do when most years my income is below the poverty line.

Why would anyone want to live the kind of life I I do? People find it hard to believe that I don’t earn a salary on most of the movies that I make. How does that happen? What do you mean you have to defer all of your fees and that you will never earn a penny on this particular movie or that particular movie? Yes it’s true I am afraid to say. It happens more times than not. This weekend in Gimli, Manitoba this topic was discussed at length and the answer which I have been saying for years rang more true than ever before…….PASSION!

You have to have passion because if you don’t, doing all the things that I do for no money, stress, and a whole lot of sacrifices would be deemed insanity. The true measure of why I make movies is this story:

A woman came to me in Gimli and told me she took her son to the MOON POINT screening and then later that night she took him to see the outdoor screening of E.T. – The Extra-Terrestrial also in Gimli. She asked her son what he thought of E.T. and he replied “I liked it, but it wasn’t my favorite film of the festival.” She said “Then what was your favorite film of the festival?” Her son replied “MOON POINT!”

This is why I make movies!

I am thankful every day that I get to do what I do. That the movies that I make affect people, create conversation and emotion.

I believe all filmmakers think this way, at least I hope so, because if you think you’re going to make movies to see fame and fortune, well I’m here to tell you that you’d better find yourself another career.

We all as filmmakers need to strive to make films that affect people, create conversation, emotion and wanting more. Canadian films are doing that more so now that ever before and we need to keep doing it. We need to continue to make these films no matter what it takes.

Thanks Gimli Manitoba for showing me that I need to keep doing what I am doing!