April Mullen in “Filler Magazine”

There is nothing “yesterday” about April Mullen’s creative vision as a director. An industry innovator, Mullen arrives at this year’s festival with a feature helmed by an all-female crew entitled, Below Her Mouth (2016). A daring and provocative drama, Below Her Mouth is the story of an electrifying romance, unexpectedly sparked between two women.


Being a maverick, Mullen has a habit of forging new paths—a predisposition that can be trace back to her 2012 film, Dead Before Dawn 3D. History remembers this one as being the first film to see a woman direct a live-action stereoscopic 3D, Mullen—who also starred in and produced the film—of course being that woman.

Having begun her career in acting, it’s not unusual to see Mullen featured in her own films—a pattern that begun with her directorial debut Rock, Paper, Scissors: The Way of the Tosser (2007), a comedy for which Mullen shared directing credits with fellow actor, Tim Doiron. For Badsville, Mullen’s next film, the director stays behind the camera to capture a greaser gang love story with Prison Break’s Robert Knepper fueling the action.

Why is the Toronto International Film Festival important to the Canadian film industry in particular?

The Toronto Film Festival has provided a spotlight for Canadian film and talent, which is crucial to our growth and to celebrate our achievements. The festival also introduces our filmmakers and local audiences to world cinema and new talent, which constantly keeps us current and inspired.

Out of all the years you have attended TIFF, which moment stands out as a favourite?

I’ve watched TIFF grow from the ground up, as I’ve grown in my career. While at Ryerson and new to Toronto, I used to watch films across the street from the theatre school, where I studied. I also experienced the anticipation for the TIFF Lightbox grand opening, while it was under construction. Once it did open, Dead Before Dawn 3D premiered there as part of the TIFF Next Wave Film Festival, which introduced me to so many young, talented filmmakers. I have to admit though, the best moments are yet to come! When I got word Below Her Mouth was officially accepted to TIFF this year, it was surreal, and I’m beyond thrilled to be a part of it and all the excitement that goes along with it.

What inspired your career path, and when were you positive that the world of film was for you?

Life inspired my career path. I am obsessed with visual images, human behavior, unique characteristics and connections between people—those heightened circumstances and experiences that keep us all connected. I am fascinated by every part of life and love so much to recreate it in stunning moving pictures that will hopefully inspire, entertain and enlighten audiences. The constant challenge of capturing moving moments of time, people and memories keeps me motivated. I love a challenge, and the challenge of filmmaking is a life long endeavor. I was certain the world of film was for me because of the sheer size and [unwieldy] nature of this moving beast. The creative process with film is uncontrollable in a lot of ways, and the collaboration of trying to bring it all together is always intriguing. I love diving into a strong story and creating compelling visual pictures that deliver a “feeling” to audiences. Creating is my addiction.

In your personal experience, would you say that female professionals working in film and television receive equal treatment in comparison to the industry’s male professionals? 

This questions is a difficult one for me to answer, as I can only do so from my perspective and experiences. I entered the industry over two decades ago and have always been a major minority. To be honest. I always just had my head down, working my ass off, while I was trying to keep afloat in this crazy industry, so I was never really noticing or defining myself by my gender. I can say, it’s been a long, uphill battle, and major sacrifice has always been involved. Of course, there is an obvious lack of women in the industry, but I strongly believe there is a surge and a movement now to get more women involved. I choose to celebrate and support the women that are taking action and creating new work.

What film is at the top of your must-see list at this year’s TIFF?

I’m going to see as many films as possible! Looking forward to Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival, I’m a huge fan of his work. Also looking forward to Catfight, seeing [as] I just finished working with Anne Heche on Aftermath and adore her.

Source : Filler Magazine (07.09.2016)


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