Interview with Writer/Actor John Thomas Gauthier (BUTTERFLY)

BUTTERFLY was the winner of BEST DIRECTION at the December 2021 WILDsound Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

As an actor, it is sometimes hard and defeating waiting around for the right auditions to come your way. I had begun toying with the idea of writing my own scripts and creating my own films, but was not sure where to start. I work at two different bars to make ends meet, and one night I was working and met these two gentlemen who were customers. One was an exuberant Irishman (Pól) and the other a slick South African (Thomas). We talked a little and I discovered that they were also fledgling actors. I loved their energy and accents so much that I knew I had found a couple guys for a future project. Within a couple of weeks, at the other bar I work at, I overheard a man sitting at my bar, talking about film with his buddy. That man was Merc (Mercenary). He had experience shooting/directing music videos and wanted to break into short/feature films. So I asked him if he would direct something for me in the near future. He agreed. I had my actors, and I had my director. Now all I needed was a script. I’d always loved cop dramas, and psychological thrillers so I decided to take a stab at that genre. A few re writes and some research, and Butterfly was born.

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

It all happened at a chaotic pace. It was about 4 months from pen to editing. We shot it guerilla style in the beginning. Fast takes. Short cuts. Wild angles. It was very hectic, as it was all new for pretty much the whole cast and crew. We ended up switching locations twice before ending up where we did. We all learned so much, and a lot of it was as we went.

3. How would you describe your film in two words!?

Dark and gritty!

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

The biggest obstacle was scheduling. Merc had other projects he was working on, we needed to find a good sound guy, all the actors had different schedules of availability, and as I said, we were all learning together as we went. Nobody really has any formal training.

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

It made me feel like Kevin in The Office saying “It’s just nice to win one.” The pandemic really hit everyone hard financially and emotionally, so to have it so well received means more than anything. We all really do love our art, and worked our asses off to get Butterfly to happen. Spent what very little we had to hire a VFX artist, composer, and audio help. Some favours were called in and we will never forget those who helped and backed us.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

Ever since I was a little boy. I was always a class clown. Loved using my dads shoulder mounted camcorder to make films with the cousins at the cottage, or Star Trek knock offs with a friend from class. I loved drama class and was in many plays growing up. It wasn’t until my early 30’s that I decided to take a serious run at it. I’ll never stop now. It really is my true passion . I was born to entertain.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

If I had to pick one, it would be Return of The Jedi.

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

Being that this was my first festival experience, I am still new to all of this and really appreciate the timely email updates about status and information. I have no suggestions, only praise that there are so many wonderful online festivals that give us little guys the opportunity to take part in.

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?

It was absolutely a breeze. The fact that submissions are simply a click away, and the filter for criteria are so easy to follow, it makes navigating and submitting very easy. Almost too easy. One can get carried away with the THOUSANDS of festivals we now have access to! I love it.

10. What is your favorite meal?

Gimme a cheeseburger and I’m a happy man.

11. What is next for you? A new film?

I will be shooting a short comedy in early January. My first time returning to my roots and first love, the comedic genre. It’s gonna be a lot of fun. I am also writing a feature that pulls inspiration from Cocktail with Tom Cruise.

By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival www.wildsound.ca

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