Tyler Morgan: Loving Cinema Through the Festival Circuit
Tyler Morgan is chasing a dream many people may steer well clear of: creating a film festival. The Great Canadian Sketch Comedy Film Festival is heading into its second year, and within that short amount of time, it has already spread like wildfire amongst the filmmaking community. With a five hundred dollar prize for the best submitted film, there is a great incentive to take part as a filmmaker. As an audience member? Well, you have the luxury of voting for your favourite pick, plus you get to enjoy the works of independent filmmakers from all across the globe. Morgan is a determined producer for this festival, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to have him on Films Fatale. You can purchase tickets here, and visit the official facebook page for the festival here.
Films Fatale: What is "The Great Canadian Sketch Comedy Film Festival?:
Tyler Morgan: The Great Canadian Sketch Comedy Film Festival is an international comedy film festival that I produce. We're currently in our 2nd year and we received 83 films his year. I'm very proud to say we broke into the international market this year with films from Germany, South Africa and even Japan. We also got a healthy amount of films from Ryerson, U of T and the Toronto Film School. We give a $500 prize to the best film which is decided by an audience vote. So if you come to the festival you can decide who gets the money. All you have to do is come to the Carlton Cinema on Nov.9th at 8:30 PM. If you get your tickets online you save $5.
FF: What made you interested in film? Is it something you studied?
TM: inherited my love of films from my parents. Every Saturday we would go out to the movies. It's on good account that my first film I ever saw in the theatre was Aladdin. I was such a rambunctious child that my parents had to take up an entire row and sit on either end so that I could roam freely during the film. However when the genie came on the screen I stopped mid run and quietly watched until he was off the screen.
I studied film when I went to the University of Winnipeg. The teacher showed us a very old NFB documentary about a Russian immigrant who was a salter in Winnipeg. He would pour salt on the trolley tracks during the winter so it wouldn't get stuck. I still see the images of that poor Russian man walking the tracks at two in the morning in snowy Winnipeg. It was pretty powerful.
FF: What inspired you to do so? Did you find something was lacking in the festival circuit?
TM: I'm in a sketch troupe called Live Dudes that produces video content. We're weren't the only ones. There were so many people creating online comedic shorts that I wanted to create a festival that showcases their films. I also wanted to promote the creation of more comedic content. It's the reason the festival offers a cash prize.
FF: As a tiff employee, do you get inspired by that festival with how you run your own?
TM: I think the biggest thing I learned from TIFF was how important volunteers are. Our festival features a VIP party before the festival and we needed a lot of help. I hosted the party and welcomed guests while my Dad worked the box office. I relied on the volunteers to serve food and drinks, give out the programs and collect votes. Truly volunteers are the heroes of any film festival from mine to TIFF.
FF: What are your thoughts on the comedy film industry? Is it currently in a good place?
TM: I think comedy is a genre of film that is always in demand. There are other genres that rise and fall with popularity but comedy is always strong and in demand. Today Comedians have plenty of opportunities to create their own content and opportunities. My troupe recently finished a short film we funded on Kickstarter called "The Date Team" which I'm proud to say will be shown at the festival. I think Canada is creating a lot of great comedic content.
FF: We like to send interviews off with the most basic question, based on why we are all cinephiles. What are your top five films of all time, and why?
1. The Wizard of Oz
TM: The Wizard has everything a person could want in a film. It has musical numbers, great costume design, great performances, great special effects and make up, mind blowing trivia, urban legends, scary scenes, comedic scenes, a cute dog, even it's mistakes seem to make it more charming. If you ever want to talk about Wizard of Oz with me, I'm more then happy to.
2. A Goofy Movie
TM: Disney rarely does films about the relationship between a father and son. I can just imagine some poor writer walking into a pitch meeting saying "I want to do a movie about a father learning how to accept his son is growing up and his son learning to embrace his father despite his flaws... Oh and it stars Goofy and his son Max. I'm sure the writer's room must of laughed or rolled their eyes but I'm glad this movie was made. It's funny, relatable and is one of the few movies that as I get older I get new meanings from it. I can't wait to show it to my son when he's old enough, hyuck!
3. Tommy Boy
TM: If you are ever feeling sad or want a movie to watch when you're sick this is the one for you. I don't know if it's the fall colours or the music in the film but it puts you at ease. We lost a huge talent when Chris Farley died and I don't think comedy ever recovered. It's a good thing we have this film to remember him by.
4. The Big Red One
TM: This film has my favourite scene of all time. Let me set it up for you. A group of Allied soldiers are assaulting a mental asylum in France under the control of Nazis. They sneak into the asylum by pretending to be insane but the actual inmates of the asylum know they are just pretending and are amused by it. The Nazis are picked off one by one until they reach the mess hall in the asylum. The Nazis are eating on one side of the hall and the inmates are on the other totally segregated. The Allies enter the room and a shot out begins. The inmates just watch and study the two groups fighting, some clap and laugh but one picks up a gun from one of the dead soldiers. He loads the gun from watching the fight and begins firing the gun at everyone while screaming "LOOK AT ME.. I'M YOU, I'M SANE".
TM: As far as I'm concerned there are two types of people. People that like Amadeus and people that haven't seen it.
Andreas Babiolakis has a Masters degree in Film and Photography Preservation and Collections management from Ryerson University, as well as a Bachelors degree in Cinema Studies from York University. His favourite times of year are the Criterion Collection flash sales and the annual Toronto International Film Festival.