Q&A W/ INTERSECTIONS ARTISTS ALLISON BEDA & MICHAEL PARK

Posted on Oct 5, 2014

Briefly tell me about your work.  What’s your artistic passion? Career highlights?

Allison Beda Allison Beda (AB): I absolutely LOVE making films….dark comedy in particular…and if features a woman who is making a lot of trouble, even better.

I also adore collaborating with really talented artists and producers—I like being on a team!…so making films is perfect for that…and I seem to end up getting to do a lot of really cool stuff with dancers, composers and musicians, besides working with super smart and funny writers.

Highlights.  Huhmmm.

My first ever film toured Europe with the films of Stan Brakhage.  That was pretty cool. And that film “Know Your Alphabet” is still getting invited to play around the world….more than a decade later!

Another highlight was having my first feature film and first ever documentary “How To Be A Model”  be so well received….and getting broadcast on CBC —that was definitely exciting for me.  Especially as I couldn’t get any financing/development support to make the film as it seemed to people that it was too big of a project for me to pull off.  But my peers and family and friends not only thought I could do it but also volunteered insane amounts of time and services and emotional support to make it happen.

Oh and the short film collaboration I did called “Just A Minute”  with choreographer Claire French and composer James Maxwell, played as part of the 2010 Winter Olympics!

Recently we won an award, “Best Spoof” for a newly finished film “Sleeping With The Dead” at the Action On Film Festival in California, and it looks like some good things and some future highlights will be happening for my feature comedy script “Unpredictable”, that I co-wrote with novelist Eileen Cook.

Michael Park BWMichael Park (MP): In my work, I love exploring the relationship between composer, performer, and audience. My passion is giving audiences a new way of experiencing music using the things I discover in this exploration!

I suppose a career highlight would have been my TED talk “Experiencing Disease Through Music.” I was both a composer, a performer, and a speaker all at the same time. Having the chance to explain the idea behind one of my compositions to one of the world’s most receptive audiences was a tremendous thrill.

What did you think when you were first asked to participate in INTERSECTIONS?

AB: When I got invited to participate in INTERSECTIONS I just immediately thought “YES!” and was really excited—and super curious as to who I would get to pair up with….I mean what a great adventure!

MP: Honestly, I wasn’t sure I could or should take on another project with such short notice. The idea of composing a piece for a film while working on other projects seemed a bit daunting. A little dialogue made it clear that I wouldn’t be a ‘composer’ in this project. My partner and I would be co-creating a film.

I’ve experienced many kinds of collaboration, but the excitement of being taken out of a traditional role in order to discover something new was really exhilarating!

What are you hoping to get out of the INTERSECTIONS process?

AB: I am hoping the process is going to push my boundaries as an artist and also advance my collaborative skills.  We are committing to taking risks, not being afraid of failing, and we’ve chosen a “subject” that is important to us….

MP: Before Brief Encounters, I knew nothing about the film industry or how movies are made, so I was hoping for some insight there. Now that I’ve gotten a hint at that insight, I want to learn more of the collaborative approach that exists in film making and see if I can integrate it in how I work with music.

What are you most excited about re: Brief Encounters Revue?

AB: Seeing all the other works!!!!  (Well, and getting to watch our film with an audience, of course)

MP: The idea of introducing two artists and immediately giving them a tight deadline… it’s brilliant! I’m excited to see how the different pairings turn out.

Tell me about your Brief Encounters collaborator. Without giving too much away, what can Brief Encounters Revue audiences expect from this collaboration this go around?

AB: My collaborator is Michael Parks.  He is a fantastic composer —-I had not met him/nor heard his work prior to getting paired up with him, but I was able to see some of his stuff online and WOW!  Definitely look him up!  He has a TED talk which includes an “alzheimers” composition for piano he wrote and performs that is fascinating.

MP: I have been working with director Allison Beda. The moment we started talking, I felt she was a friend I’d been waiting to meet. When I saw her trailers, I immediately wanted to see more! I’ve been amazed at her ability to pull things together seamlessly!

Our approach was to have a conversation about our lives, works, experience, and see what came up. We stumbled on the topic of Gratitude and realized there was something there. This project has been a way for us each to explore if, how, and why we are grateful people.

We are exploring “gratitude”, which has been super interesting for me so far, as I am a pretty ungrateful person, unfortunately. Secretly, I think I am hoping that doing this project is going to make me BE more grateful. Instantly. Hahahaha!

So maybe the audience can expect to become more grateful and happier simply by watching our film!

What is your biggest take away from your experiences with INTERSECTIONS?

AB: Diplomacy and conflict resolution are critical skills, but trust and respect are paramount.

MP: There was a moment, when Allison and I had reached a near-complete script. While I was focused on getting it just right, Allison insisted we’d tweak and fix things with directing. This was a foreign idea to me – that there was another level of interpretation before it reached the performer. While I can’t put into words the distinction I see, this is something I’m really looking forward to exploring further in my future work.