Interview with Filmmaker Chase Gouthro  (ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN)

ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN was the winner of BEST DIRECTION at the April 2022 Toronto DOCUMENTARY Film Festival.

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1. What motivated you to make this film?

When I was first introduced to Dr. Anderson, I was totally blown away by her story. However, it wasn’t until I spent some time with her family and met her kids, Sydney, Zachary, and especially Nicholas, that I knew I needed to make this film. The journey that their family had been on, and the profound love and support that they have for each other really solidified the need to tell this story.

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

From pre-production to finished film took just over two years. Apart from the typical hurdles in documentary filmmaking and fundraising, the covid-19 pandemic also made production difficult. When dealing with children who are medically fragile or medically complex, I really wanted to make sure filming could take place as safely as possible. This meant waiting for vaccine eligibility for our production crew, and for cases to be at a level where the families felt comfortable.

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

I would describe this film, or at least its genre, as “perspective activism”. It’s not an “activism doc” in the classic sense that the film itself makes a strong argument for medical paediatric cannabis, instead it presents the perspectives and experiences of these families, raises questions around the role of healthcare, and lets the audience come to their own conclusions.

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

Apart from the everyday challenges any filmmaker faces, I would say the most important obstacle was wanting to make sure the final film did these families’ stories justice. I was asking these families to share such deeply personal and oftentimes difficult stories in such a public way, and that was a responsibility I didn’t take lightly. Every decision I made came from that perspective, and I hope the final film reflects that.

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

I was quite impressed with the feedback from your audience members. It is quite apparent that this was an audience of people who love documentary films. I’m very grateful that this story spoke to each of them in their own way, and I hope that it helped change, or solidify, their perspectives on cannabis’ role in paediatric medicine.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMeVYbnPPBs

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

Storytelling, in any of its forms, has always been very important to me. My cousin Adam and I use to make little movies and sketch videos on his Hi 8 camcorder when we were young. That must have been a seminal part of our childhood, as we both ended up pursuing careers in media production. In fact, he even help me film this documentary. Full circle.

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

After editing and post production, it would have to be this one, Anything Can Happen. Thankfully it’s a story I enjoy, and care very deeply about.

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

Having the film play for an audience, and receiving feedback from them, is what the festival experience is all about. I think you have done this beautifully, especially given current state of things.

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

FilmFreeway is an excellent tool for filmmakers. Having so many festivals aggregated in one place, and the ability to search for festivals that will help get your film in front of the right audiences is crucial. It’s been a tremendous help.

10. What is your favorite meal?

It’s hard to beat a well made cheese sandwich, grilled or otherwise.

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

It feels like the real work on Anything Can Happen is just starting- getting it in front of as many people as possible. We are hoping to bring the film to medical and cannabis conferences throughout the summer, as these are the audiences that have the capacity to bring the most change, and eventually do a wide public release. Stay tuned!

By matthewtoffolo

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

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