“An Audience of Chairs” is a new movie by Canadian filmmaker Deanne Foley. Although she was raised as a Roman Catholic, Deanne says movies were her religion. The Newfoundland-native explains how a heart-warming family film from Steven Spielberg inspired her career, and a resume that now boasts such incredibly emotion
Meagan Meehan (MM): Do you enjoy this part of the process, Deanne? The promotional phase?
Deanne Foley (DF): That’s a fun question! Yes and no. I’m much more comfortable behind the camera but this is an important and necessary part of the process. So, I’m in.
MM: Where do you hail from, Deanne?
DF: East coast of Canada. I’m from St. John’s, Newfoundland.
MM: Has filmmaking always been in the blood?
DF: Yes, I’ve always wanted to be a filmmaker since I was a young girl. I was raised Roman Catholic, but movies were my religion. I was most comfortable sitting in a dark theatre and still am today.
MM: Would you say there’s a particular film or filmmaker that helped spur that interest?
DF: E.T. – that film had a huge impact on me as a kid. My mom tells the story of me crying my eyes out in the theatre bathroom and unable to console me. She had never seen me that emotional before.
MM: And what was the first thing you ever shot?
DF: I made a short 10-minutefilm, shot on 16mm, 19 years ago. It was called Trombone Trouble about a little girl who hates her trombone and tries to lose it but it keeps coming back to her. It got a lot of interest and also my first job working as a field producer for a TV show called Street Cents.
MM: Can you look back at some of the earlier work now and see where you’ve improved as a filmmaker since?
DF: Absolutely!! I never went to film school so I’ve learned by making short, and features. I’m very critical of my work and could write thesis on the flaws I see in each of my features.
MM: Are happy you with “An Audience of Chairs”?
DF: I’m extremely proud of An Audience of Chairs. I believe it’s my best work. I was surrounded by an incredible team.I was fortunate to work with lead actress, Carolina Bartczak, and cast members Gord Rand, Peter MacNeill to name a few. I had a fantastic cinematographer
MM: When did you discover the book?
DF: The book was discovered by screenwriter, Rosemary House, who optioned it not long after it was published.
MM: How many years have you been on the project?
DF: Rosemary worked for years developing the script and I came on board once the project was ready for financing. I spent about two and half years working on the film.
MM: Was it difficult translating the book to the screen? I guess some things need to be trimmed or modified for the different medium?
DF: Rosemary House adapted the novel and she did a brilliant job. The novel is much larger in scope.
MM: Tell us where you discovered Carolina Bartczak?
DF: Through our cast agent, Stephanie Gorin. We had done a few rounds of casting and then we found Carolina. She’s an incredibly gifted actor. I was looking for a subtle, nuanced performance and that’s what she gave me.
MM: What’s next for you?
DF: I’m currently developing a few feature scripts and a TV show. I’m looking for a novel to adapt but haven’t found one yet.