Mark Slutsky’s latest, Never Happened, is a sci-fi comedy about two coworkers who resort to an unusual method to rectify their business trip transgression. Slutsky uses technology to initiate a moral debate. In a recent conversation, Slutsky elaborates on the making of Never Happened and tells Toronto Film Scene about other projects he’s working on. Never Happened screens at TIFF 2015 as part of Short Cuts Programme 7.
Describe your film in ten words or less.
Two colleagues have an affair and forget about it.
What inspired you to make this film?
I was travelling in China a couple of years ago and I woke up from a dream super-early one morning, totally jet-lagged, with the script almost fully formed in my head. Then I basically forgot about it until producer/DP Brendan Steacy called me in January and said he had the resources — equipment and favours to call in — to make a short with no money, and did I have a script laying around I wanted to shoot?
What was the best thing about production? Most frustrating?
The best: working with my actors: Mia Kirshner, Anna Hopkins and Aaron Abrams. They were so effortlessly great; they actually made my job really easy. Most frustrating? Not really having access to a lot of locations because of the financial limitations. In the end, I think it strengthened the film by having to find creative workarounds.
What’s the one thing you want people to know about your film?
I would actually love it if people went in cold. There are a few surprises in there. (Maybe that’s what I want them to know.)
What will you be working on next?
Two features: one, an adaptation of my short film, The Decelerators, and a romantic drama based on my friend Sarah Fobes’ life, You Can Live Forever, set among a Jehovah’s Witness community in an Alberta mountain town. As well as a crazy documentary about “uncreativity” called Noriginals.
Your film is screening as part of TIFF. What are you most excited about seeing or doing at this year’s festival?
I’m most excited about showing my film to the always wonderful TIFF audiences, and also seeing a bunch of great movies.
With TIFF celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, what has been your best experience with TIFF in the past, personal or professional?
Growing up as a film geek in Toronto, going to TIFF as a teenager was always a really important experience for me. I vividly remember getting to meet my then-hero, Hal Hartley, after the premier of one of his films. Being able to come back decades later with my movies has meant a great deal.