Interview with Filmmaker Kyle Parish (THE LAST GUARDIAN (Star Wars Fan Fiction))

THE LAST GUARDIAN (Star Wars Fan Fiction), 78min., Canada
Directed by Kyle Parish
A Star Wars Fan Film. On the far corners of the galaxy, a lone Jedi Guardian, Cal, suffers in exile while protecting a powerful relic from a new Sith cult. Haunted by visions of his past family and the voices of the dead Sith within the relic, Cal is slowly drifting into madness, not sure what is real and what isnt. Endlessly tormented by his wife, the Sith cultist Aaylia, and hunted by her army of cloned assassins, Cal believes he is making the ultimate sacrifice to protect the galaxy. But when a Republic pilot, Ilia, crashes on his world, Cal is forced to confront his past and present, while determining the fate of not just the galaxy, but his family.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

My motivation for making this film came for a love of the source (Star Wars) and a connection to the characters. I had the idea back in 2019 that was the outline of the story. I didn’t really know if I would try to film it or not, but I really liked the characters and this different Star Wars setting. Then the pandemic hit and I had so much time to keep building on the ideas and deepen the characters. I became emotionally attached to the story. I really wanted to tell it and thankfully I found a cast and crew (some of who have worked with me for over 8yrs) that shared a strong passion for it as well.

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

Well in total it was about 3 and a half years from when I started writing the script on a plane ride home from Disneyland til I finally finished the editing.

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

Broken Family. Cause that is at the core what this story deals with and the effects and emotions associated with that.

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

There were many obstacles, from just the logistics of it, to fight training, maybe being overly ambitious with effects and ideas, but if I had to pick one where I was stuck and didn’t know what I was going to do, it was a severe hail storm. The climax of the film did not have the massive storm in the original script. However, while filming those scenes, we did get caught in a severe hail storm. We were given 2 miracles that day. One, that no one was hurt and that the equipment caught in the storm all survived, and two, we had some amazing footage of this storm entering the fight. The issue was keep it or film everything again. We choose to keep it and recreate the storm in other shots. The storm was part of the story now and while at the time I was very concerned about it, in the end, that storm gave us something we could never have imagined. Though I highly recommend not putting yourself in that position of filming in a storm.

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

I was very touched. I can’t describe the work load and stress level that you go through completing a project of this scale. Thousands of hours spent and you are hoping and praying that it will be received the way you hoped. Everyone put in an amazing effort on this project and to know that people see that effort, that’s really important.

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

I always loved movies. It was a thrill to go to the theater when I was a kid and I gravitated to the wonder of it all. I watched all the behind the scenes features and just loved everything about it. But it was never something I looked at as a future. When I was in my teens and early 20s, I was very focused on athletics and part of the University of Toronto varsity team. I wreaked my knees and needed two surgeries with long recovery periods. It was during this down time that I really changed my focus towards film and what I could possibly do. While my athletic career ended, my film one was just beginning.

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

The film I think I have seen most in my life I’d Raiders of the Lost Ark. That film to me is the greatest example of what a fun adventure movie should be.

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

I think that having the opportunity to connect with other film makers as well as the viewers are some of the things film festivals do best and can continue to do. Festivals give you a chance to have your work recognized and shared with others that might otherwise not see your work. I have certainly made many good connections with people I’ve met at festivals and that is something you can’t overstate the importance of.

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

Filmfreeway has made it very easy to browse through festivals and keep your whole press package nicely organized for submissions. It is the go to submission site for a reason.

10. What is your favorite meal?

My favorite meal is also a rare meal for me to get, but Prime Rib with roasted carrots.

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

First for me will be finishing up festival showings for The Last Guardian. After that I have 3 scripts wrote and ready to go, Adventure and grounded Sci fi genres, that I’m currently pitching. And there is plans for a another story taking place within the same universe as The Last Guardian, but it will be different.


By matthewtoffolo

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

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