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Numbers & Friends is pretty close to director Alexander Carson. Not only does he star in and direct the Short Cuts Canada selection, but the film seems like a family project. Carson stars alongside his family and friends in a film that comments on sports culture in a critical approach, while also illustrating the ties we have to the people we love most. Numbers & Friends is screening as part of Short Cuts Canada Programme 5. We had the opportunity to catch up with Alexander before the Festival madness began.

Describe your film in 10 words or less.

A film about sports, Fantasy Sports, North America, and happiness.

What inspired you to make this film?

I make films about topics that are personally meaningful. I care a lot about sports culture, so I decided to make an intellectual film about a topic that merits more critical and creative thought than it often receives in popular media.

What was the best thing about production? Most frustrating?

Best thing: Making a film with my friends and family. Approaching the act of artistic creation as an act of fraternity and camaraderie. This is the stuff of life!
Worst thing: Compositing. I asked my colourist and long-time friend Zachary Cox to do all the layer compositing in Resolve. This was frustrating and challenging for both of us since we’re not accustomed to working with complex effects. Fortunately Zach did a fantastic job and the film looks beautiful and really unique. I’m incredibly happy with the results.

What’s the one thing you want people to know about your film?

The film was made as an act of love. Many thanks to the Toronto Arts Council for their support of this very strange project.

An important phrase in your film is, “All is fair in love and war.” Has anyone ever said something to you that effected your greatly? If so, what is it?

Numbers & Friends was designed to explore the ways that people make decisions about their lives. For me, using sports fandom as a metaphor for talking about larger issues was a really fun and meaningful way to share ideas. Atli’s voice-over includes the phrase: “All is fair in love, and war, and Fantasy Sports”. With this film I’m definitely hoping to challenge audiences to measure the validity of this maxim against their own morale codes.

Your film is screening as part of TIFF  — what are you most excited about seeing or doing at this year’s festival?

I’m excited for everything. Being part of TIFF is fantastic. I’d be thrilled to shake Steve McQueen’s hand! I’m ecstatic to be in the company of so many great world-class filmmakers and artists.

Numbers & Friends will be screening as a part of Short Cuts Canada Programme 5. Check the Festival website for details and showtimes.