Interview with director Paige K. Boudreau (NOSTOMANIA)

NOSTOMANIA is an experimental film from Canada that played to rave reviews at the April 2017 FEMALE FEEDBACK Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Paige K. Boudreau: I’ve long had an interest in urban exploration, particularly from my roadtrips across rural Saskatchewan. The biggest find I ever had was the abandoned town Froude, SK – which is about a half hour drive from where my grandparents used to live. Froude was special because there were several buildings still standing, as well as a plaque commemorating the town. That made it easy to research and discover the truth behind these haunting structures. Originally I had imagined the project as more of a documentary about Froude, but the more time I spent there the more I realized that Froude represented this condition of nostomania within me, and that was what I was really seeking to capture.

From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?

From the time I decided to make the film until completion was a little over a year. However, the first time I set foot in Froude would’ve been about 5-6 years prior to that, and that’s when the seed of the idea was planted.

How would you describe your short film in two words!?

Melancholy and Decay.

What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

When the idea shifted from straight-forward documentary to more of an experimental art film I felt a lot of uncertainty. I was feeling overly precious about the idea and anxious about bringing anyone else on to the project for fear of me not being able to intimately communication my ideas to them. That’s why I ended up gearing up my iPhone and headed out to Froude for a few days to shoot it myself. I was able to really find the visuals and the story organically in the space. I spent time sitting in the church, laying in the grass, wandering through the barn, listening to the walls tell me their stories. It was a much messier process than a lot of my films, but I feel like it needed to be that way to create the film it needed to be.

What were your initial reactions when watching the Toronto audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

I was so scared they wouldn’t like the film! It was a huge relief to hear the feedback, and I was completely humbled and enamoured with the discussion my film provoked. The mentions of gentrification, not being in the present, and the experience being both incredibly personal but also universal were things on my mind when creating the piece and so I am so thrilled to know that the audience felt them as well.

AUDIENCE FEEDBACK VIDEO:

How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

Usually when I visit abandoned spaces I go once, take my photos, have a single experience, and then am on my way. Something about the town of Froude kept calling me back there, I would visit at least once a year on my travels. There are fragments of haunting and tangible memories there that I needed to capture.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

I suspect it’s a Christmas movie because of the sheer fact that I usually watch the same Christmas movies year after year – Muppet Christmas Carol and Christmas Vacation. Other than that I would guess Brothers Bloom – it’s my favorite movie and whenever I am feeling creatively stuck it helps get me out of my rut. Early in my career I sent an email to the director of the film Rian Johnson, and he actually responded to me(!) with some incredibly encouraging words as a young director, and I think I associate the movie with that experience as well.

What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

When writing I often listen to one or two songs on repeat, sometimes for days at a time – so this is a hard thing to nail down. When writing this film, the song I listened to the most would’ve been either Lick Your Wounds by Andy Shauf, or Drawn To Blood by Sufjan Stevens.

What is next for you? A new film?

In addition to NOSTOMANIA I have 2 other films currently doing the festival circuit – Mallory Memphis and Up In Smoke. I’m also currently developing a feature with some similar themes to NOSTOMANIA titled Just Off Main Street, and a dramatic series called Broken Dishes.

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