Never Miss by Melissa Koslin | Review

Interview With A.W Hopkins

Mercy: Can you share a little bit about yourself and your background in film? 
"I’m a proud member of the N’quatqua First Nation, located in Lil’wat traditional territory.  After graduating with a BA in Communications from Simon Fraser University, I worked as a journalist & producer on the long-running CTV Bell Media half-hour current events series, “First Story.” After the series was cut, I decided it was time to pursue my boyhood dream of becoming a writer / director of feature films.  So it has really only been a few years that I’ve been doing what I’m doing now.  Also, for the last two years I’ve been in the Master of Fine Arts Creative Writing Program at UBC where I’m focusing on screenwriting.  I'll be graduating in 2020"

Mercy: What started your interest in directing?  
"When I was about thirteen, I saw the film, La Dolce Vita, on late night TV and was so blown away by it that I started to learn about Frederick Fellini. Up until then, I was largely unaware of the role of the director. I thought all jobs were boring and hard and you came home and complained about your boss and got wasted on the weekends.  I’m from a working class background and nobody I knew even aspired to a white collar job, so wanting to be a movie director was something I kept to myself." 

 Mercy: You co-wrote and directed Shin-Chi's Canoe.  Was it difficult to balance more than one role on the project?  
"I have never directed anything that I have not written so it was not a challenge to hold two major roles on the film. I would not have it any other way.  Somebody else directing my screenplay seems bizarre to me. Maybe I’m just a control freak."

 Mercy: What is the most rewarding part of being a director? 
"The most rewarding part of being a director is understanding that you are creating something that is going to take on life of its own.  I think all artists are plugged into this “creation monomania” Some people would describe it as a little bit like playing god, but I think of it more as a very sophisticated form of communication — a language that uses complex signs to articulate abstract ideas.  Once you begin to understand this there is nothing else that you would rather do."

Mercy: What was your favorite part of filming Shin-Chi's Canoe? Do you have any behind the scenes stories you can share? 
"I liked that everyone got behind this film and really believed in it. That had a lot to do with the book that the story is based on. Most people knew about the book and what it was trying to achieve and how important it was and is for future generations.  Both my grandparents on my mother's side went to St Mary's Residential School, the very now ex-Residential School where we filmed.  I felt a tremendous responsibly to get it right."

Mercy: How can we find out more about Shin-Chi's Canoe? What are your plans for the film after the Whistler Film Festival?
"Shin-Chi's Canoe may have had its festival run. I’m not saying we won’t enter it into more festivals but I see it as a teaching tool in classrooms and I would love to have a broadcaster pick it up and present it to a different audience."

Mercy: What is one thing most people don't know about you?
"There are many things that people don’t know about me, I’m a very private person. I will say this, in the last few months I’ve listening obsessively to pre-2010 hip-hop."

Mercy: Any other upcoming projects you can share information about?
"Funny you should ask! In the past few weeks I’ve been attending to the final details of post-production on my first feature film.  It’s a comedy road movie and goes something like this: “Two restless young Indigenous men are forced to drive a cranky elder across the reserve so she can make peace with her dying sister. It quickly becomes clear that a supernatural force is trying to halt the journey. And on the slowest road trip in movie history, the young men learn that life on the Rez is more thrilling and dangerous they ever imagined.”

The film has broadcast licence with APTN and you will be able to see it on the festival circuit in the very near future."