VO Chats with Writer, Director, and Star of VIFF Film, Son of the Sunshine
The younger cast were actually harder to find. We went through one Ariel (Sonny's love interest in the film) and had to re-cast before we found Rebecca (McMahon). We held another set of auditions and she was the last person to walk in on the last day. She was perfect. She came in and punched the wall and made her hand bleed and we were like, perfect! (laughs).
VO: Well it obviously paid off to wait and get the right people.
RW: We were lucky. It was serendipity you know. I think when you have something you need to do and you're going to do it, everything conspires to help you. I was lucky to find the people I found. I was lucky to find the producer (Paul Fler) that I work with.
I was looking for a producer and I found him, and he made it possible for us to shoot on film and to get all those great locations, on a really small budget.
VO: How is your film being received?
RW: Well pretty, for a small, Indy, made by guys who don't know anybody in high places. I would say phenomenally good. We finished shooting May 2008, were cutting and sent a rough cut off to Slamdance (Utah) in September, and got in. We were kind of blown away.
Eight months after we finished shooting we premiered . Raindance (UK), in Germany before that, and Oldenburg, Montreal and Amsterdam...
I think it's a movie that garners a strong reaction one way or the other. I don't think there's any in between reaction that it would get because it's very raw and harsh, and in your face, and it doesn't really back off until the end of the movie. That's kind of what we wanted to do. We just wanted to make something that... people will love it and hate it, but we told the truth and were honest, this is what we felt. This is what we wanted to do.
VO: Can you tell us about the idea behind the light that we see in your hands throughout the film; where that came from?
RW: I always say that I darkened the corners of the film to make the light at the centre brighter. That's kind of the idea. Throughout the movie I really wanted to accentuate the idea of light in the dark. Things may seem like shit, things may be dark and horrible all around, but in the middle of it there's light and there's hope. For me that's what it represents.
There is magic in the world if you can see past everything else and I think that the way the main character does that is that he learns to love. He learns to love himself and others, and to accept people despite their flaws, and that's when he sees the light fully. That's what you pull away from him. I made the film with this in mind.
You have value to the world and you need to know that.
I think that's what Sonny comes to realize, that he has value in the world, and that even the people around him who have been horrible to him have value in the world, and aren't always horrible, and weren't always horrible.
You belong, you're important. When you see that, is when everyone will see that.
When he finally realizes that, he suddenly can consciously use his power to bring his child back to life. In a way, symbolically, he's healing himself. When you learn to love, you heal yourself, primarily. I think it was a good way to end the film.
It's a weird movie, in the way that it goes up all the time. It's just a peak upwards until he heals the baby and then it stops. I find it an interesting way to make a movie.
What I like about the movie is that the structure is not traditional. It's a three act structure but it doesn't have all the peaks and valleys that are normal. The conflict is not with another person, it's with himself.
VO: What's in the future? Are you moving ahead with another film?
RW: I'm writing a new film. I've got a couple things going and I'm trying to get permission to do another one, but it's very difficult. The new one I'm writing is called The Love. It's about all the relationships in a man's life, from when he's a little boy until he's an old man. When he's an old man he reflects on what all those people meant to him.
I've never seen a movie like it before because it only takes place inside of his relationships, and it's not just one relationship. It's every relationship.
I think that what I'm trying to explore is how the relationships we go through in our lives form who we are, who we fall in love with, our ideas, and the way we see love.
VO: And it's from a man's perspective, something we don't often see in cinema.
RW: Yes, I think it'll be interesting to see. The question of the movie is, is there one person out there for everyone, or is it all these people who make you who you are.