Screening as part of the Short Cuts Canada Programme 3, Portrait as a Random Act of Violence is a dialogue free work of art in short film form. This beautiful piece of work looks at destruction and resurrection, through the creation of a stunning piece of art. Toronto Film Scene had a chance to speak with Portrait as a Random Act of Violence director,Randall Okita, about his short, and the joy of creating something visual with your own hands.
Describe your film in 10 words or less.
It’s a piece about destructive and restorative actions.
What inspired you to make this film?
I get hooked on an idea so hard that I have to make it, just to get it out of my head.
What was the best thing about production? Most frustrating?
The most frustrating thing about production was trying to create this working sculpture that had to balance and function and really work. The best thing was going through the excruciating and complex task with a bunch of people who were lovely and crazy enough to participate, and seeing the final structure come alive and move, become real.
What’s the one thing you want people to know about your film?
There are no visual or digital effects in the film. It’s all real. We built that.
The final moments of the short involve a stunning sculpture. What kind of time, and energy, went into creating such a beautiful piece of art?
I spent an enormous amount of time planning and researching for the build. Of course, many of those plans went out the window once it started to get real. There are so many little details that you can’t account for, the total weight of the shards of glass and how much friction they will cause on the pulleys, how tangled the wires will get… in the end, it was one of the most intense, complex, and therefore rewarding experiences I’ve had. So many people helped out, because it was just such a physical enterprise. I think this idea came from wanting to make something physical, to create a relationship with something that was not digital, that had weight and structure and real tension to it. There is a kind of satisfaction that you can only get from making something with your hands, you know?
Your film is screening as part of TIFF — what are you most excited about seeing or doing at this year’s festival?
I enjoy seeing new work from people I respect, seeing how voices evolve, and I love meeting other filmmakers, people that will blow your mind with their work, and being reminded that they are just humans with doubts and insecurities and mustard on their shirt too.