Andrew Moir is a young filmmaker who’s going places. The 2012 grad of the Ryerson University film programme had his short documentary, Just As I Remember , chosen to screen at this year’s Hot Docs Film Festival.
The film contrasts the experience of two men battling ALS–Brad is in the early stages of the disease, and Don, who also happens to be Moir’s own Father, is almost completely paralyzed–and how their fight with the disease affects their relationship with their children. It’s a truly unique take on ALS as well as any parent will be able to relate to – all in encomppased in an economical 17-minute running time.
TFS spoke to Moir about the film and his inaugural stint at Hot Docs.
What inspired you to make the film?
I was drawn to make this film to learn more about my father’s decision to use a ventilator after his diagnosis with ALS. I do not remember my dad before he was sick so it was an opportunity to learn more about him and what he would have been experiencing when he was in the midst of making that decision.
What’s the one thing you’d like people to know about the film?
This film sheds light on a very important decision that all people living with ALS must make: the decision to use, or not use, a ventilator. Most people with ALS choose the latter and let the illness run its course. Just As I Remember compares and contrasts the perspectives of two families living with the consequences of each decision.
What was the most rewarding thing about production?
The most rewarding aspect during production was the opportunity to meet Brad, the subject in the documentary, and his family. Their three kids reminded me so much of my siblings and I when we were their age and it felt like I spending time with a past version of my own family. Making the film also made me much more comfortable talking about my dad’s illness with people.
The most frustrating?
The most difficult part of the filmmaking process was writing the narration for the documentary. I narrate the film in the first person and finding my voice was challenging at times. I’m usually a very private person so making such a personal film involved having to really step outside my comfort zone. Thankfully the editor was very supportive and patient and she helped me with the writing. She was honest with me about what was working and what wasn’t.
Your film is screening at Hot Docs – what are you most excited about doing or seeing at the Festival?
I’m looking forward to the documentary 12 O’Clock Boys. It looks like an example of impressive filmmaking technically and the subject matter looks really captivating. I love Hot Docs. The environment at the festival is so friendly and I’m excited to meet fellow filmmakers and talk about their films.
What are you working on next?
I just started shooting a documentary about an Ontario tobacco farmer that I plan to be working on throughout the summer. I also have an idea for a feature-length documentary that I will try to get funded in the coming months.
Just As I Remember is screening with Softening on Monday, April 29, 2013 at 4:00pm at TIFF Bell Lightbox.
MORE FROM TORONTO FILM SCENE