HFF 2015 Interview: Elder Director/Writer/Producer Genéa Gaudet

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2015 Heartland Film Festival Official Selection, Documentary Short Elder is about a Mormon missionary who finds his world turned upside down when he falls in love with a handsome Italian Communist in 1974. With original 8mm film and fierce storytelling, Tom Clark recounts a love story set against the backdrop of coastal Italy wrought with faith, identity, cigarettes, and Thorazine.


We spoke with Director/Writer/Producer Genéa Gaudet about her film:

HF: What is your film about, and how did the project come to be?

GG: Elder is a true-life love affair between a Mormon missionary and an Italian Communist man in the 1970s. It came to be a film when one of the producers heard Tom Clark – the subject – telling the story to a captivated audience at a dinner party.

HF: What was your role in the production?

GG: I am the director, but am also a producer and writer/editor.

HF: Why did you submit to the Heartland Film Festival? Have you been to the Festival before?

GG: I had a film in Heartland last year that I produced and edited called JesusTown, USA about the longest running Easter pageant in the U.S. that takes place in the Wichita foothills every year.

HF: This year’s tagline is “Movies That Stay with You” – what lasting effect will your film have on moviegoers?

GG: The love story in Elder is beautiful and is a reminder of how powerful first love can be. For that reason, it seems to linger in people’s memories.

HF: What has inspired you to become a filmmaker?

GG: Watching the early work of David Lynch inspired me to become a filmmaker.

HF: What is something that you know about filmmaking now, but you weren’t told when you started your career?

GG: That it’s extremely hard. That you often wonder if you should keep at it.

HF: What are some of your favorite movies? What’s your favorite worst movie (you know it’s bad, but still love it)?

GG: Eraserhead. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Man With a Movie Camera. This year: Tangerine. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. The Babadook.

HF: How many film festivals has your film been a part of? What do you like the most about the festival experience?

GG: This is Elder‘s 12th film festival. I haven’t been able to go to many but I absolutely love hearing LGBT people say the film moved them and really resonated with their experience.

HF: Heartland Film Festival moviegoers love filmmaker Q&As. Let’s say a Festival attendee wants to earn some brownie points—what is a question that you’d love to answer, but haven’t yet been asked?

GG: I’m unfortunately not attending. :( So I’d love a festival goer ask why more festivals don’t bring in the shorts filmmakers!!


See Elder in Shorts Program 4: All You Need is Love

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