A Vancouver Queer Film Festival veteran, June is the fifth short from Aaron Chan. A silent drama, June tells the story of a ghost that tries to communicate with his still-alive lover by playing piano in the middle of the night.
A silent drama, June tells the story of a ghost that tries to communicate with his still-alive lover by playing piano in the middle of the night.
Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Aaron Chan, and I am a musician/writer/filmmaker/creative writing student at UBC. Oh, and I’m a Sagittarius, if anyone was wondering.
Who were your early filmmaking mentors or inspirations?
I started out in film making documentary shorts as part of the Playing It Safe project, co-funded by the National Film Board. Terri Wynnyk, who was one of the organizers of the project and a filmmaker herself, first got me thinking deeply about being selective about images and how they support a story on screen.
I also love older, classic films. Billy Wilder is one of my favourite filmmakers of all time; his natural gift for dialogue and humour and telling a story is amazing. Fritz Lang, Buster Keaton, and Charlie Chaplin are also great at how they convey story and emotion with little to no words; I learned a lot of how to show, rather than tell, from silent films.
In terms of more modern filmmakers, I adore Wes Anderson’s sense of humour and the indie-feel of his films, Ang Lee’s grand visual style, and Hiyao Miyazaki because he’s just awesome and tells wonderful stories.
What inspired you to make June?
I woke up in the middle of the night one night and saw that the light on top of my piano was on. It could’ve been my cat, but I began thinking it was a ghost. When I couldn’t fall asleep again, because I was thinking about the ghost, I began constructing a story about why this ghost wanted to turn the light on and why it might want to play the piano. After that, the story came naturally to me and I when I grew attached to the script, I knew I had to try and get it made.
What challenges did you face while making June?
Oh god, what challenges didn’t we face while making this film? I think our biggest challenge was synching up everyone’s schedules to find a day that worked for everyone to film. Case in point: we had originally planned to shoot in December of 2011, but after many, many delays and difficulties, including finding someone with a piano that would let a crew mess around for a couple days we finally got to filming in July of 2012. More than half a year later, we finally filmed. Scheduling is definitely not my favourite thing to do.
What’s been the coolest experience so far with the film?
I actually finished the film only about a week [or two] ago, so it hasn’t really been anywhere. I’d say that the coolest experience with the film is having it screened at Out on Screen, for sure. Other than that, I think it’s really cool when the cast and the crew were able to relate so much to the emotion behind the film even though it’s a silent film, and it makes me, as a filmmaker and a storyteller, feel like I’m doing something right.
Are you a film festival newbie or have you had another film(s) at the Festival?
This is my fifth short film at the festival! I’m always surprised and excited every year to be a part of it.
What are you most excited to do and/or see at this year’s Queer Film Fest?
Honestly, I’m just really excited to see a lot of diverse queer films. The Lot in Sodom + Vintage Porn program is really interesting, especially since I do love older films (and vintage porn? I’m there!). I’ll also be attending the workshop with Michelle Tea (Book Your Own F**king Career) since as an artist, I need all the help I can get to ever live as one. I’m also planning to catch In the Name of and G.B.F. which looks like a lot of fun.