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CanFilm Five: Producer and Writer Greg Klymkiw

“CanFilm Five” is the Canuxploitation blog’s ongoing guest column, which brings together prominent filmmakers, bloggers, critics and programmers to discuss their most loved offbeat Canadian films.

Greg Klymkiw is an Ontario-based writer, producer and journalist. He programmed a Winnipeg rep cinema specializing in cult movies and served as a film buyer for small-town movie theatres (including tons of drive-ins). As the Director of Marketing for the Winnipeg Film Group, he developed the brand of the Winnipeg style and masterminded the marketing that turned Guy Maddin’s TALES FROM THE GIMLI HOSPITAL into an international cult sensation. He produced John Paizs’s early shorts, Maddin’s first three features (GIMLI, ARCHANGEL and CAREFUL), the Berlinale Best Feature Film Award Winner THE LAST SUPPER and, among others, the notorious BUBBLES GALORE. For 13 years he was the Producer-in-Residence and Senior Creative Consultant at Norman Jewison’s Canadian Film Centre. He is currently producing, screenwriting, consulting and script editing. As a film journalist, his writing appears at: Klymkiw Film Corner, Electric Sheep, Canadian Film Corner, Daily Film Dose and the legendary Joe Kane’s “Phantom of the Movies Videoscope”. Greg sez:

I’ve always loved genre pictures and in one way or another they have all inspired my life and career in terms of trying to make movies that defied expectations (while also fulfilling them). What’s kind of cool, is that I could probably name about thirty of so Canadian films that delivered the goods in this respect, but for the sake of brevity, here are my Top Five Most Inspirational Canadian Genre Films (in ALPHABETICAL order):

CRIME WAVE
Yeah, yeah, I know, full disclosure and all that; John Paizs is one of my best friends and colleagues. However, I’m also a worshipper and student of the Paizs Method. I have seen CRIME WAVE so many times that I stopped counting after 50 viewings (not including just watching and re-watching my favourite scenes). The movie never fails to delight and inspire me. The combination of sun-dappled and lurid colour, the clear joy and love for B-movies, the brilliant use of narration, humour that is always absurd, perverse and just plain laugh-out-loud funny are just a few things that place this movie in the top five of this list, but frankly, also in the Top Five of all Canuckian movies. Importantly, Paizs’s humour is reverential and NEVER tongue-in-cheek. I learned more about the art of actual filmmaking from Paizs and CRIME WAVE is a huge part of that.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CoGk_QL2xnw

FATHER’S DAY
The Astron-6 team makes genre movies the way I like movies to be made — no money, buckets of insanity, laughs aplenty, depravity of the most sordid kind, jaw-dropping effects, makeup and costume design, superb sleaze-o-rama photography and no-holds-barred imagination. Some refer to the tone as tongue-in-cheek. They’re completely wrong. The nuttiness is played totally straight within the genre of Grade-Z gore-fests and that’s what makes it hilarious, grotesque, delightfully sick and infinitely more entertaining than 95% of all the movies made in Canada.

FELICIA’S JOURNEY
Many people hate this movie. I love it. The picture’s a tremendously odd serial killer thriller with a brilliant Bob Hoskins performance that rivals some of the best screen psychos. This was the first time I REALLY connected with Atom Egoyan’s style and was finally able to put my finger on WHY I liked his earlier work. The film’s rich atmosphere, measured slow-drip pacing and dollops of deliciously subtle black humour rendered a bone-chilling, creepy experience, but is also imbued with a spirit of humanity. I learned more than a few tricks from this sly and quite possibly clinically insane genius of the Armenian persuasion. In a nutshell, FELICIA’S JOURNEY is kind of like Hitchcock’s FRENZY on lithium. What could be more inspirational than that?

THE GREY FOX
I could never figure out why, of all genres, Canadians could never make westerns. (GUNLESS doesn’t count. Then again, Paul Gross doesn’t count — period, for anything.) Producer Peter O’Brian and director Phillip Borsos did, however, make one of the great westerns of all time — Canadian or otherwise. With the tremendous Richard Farnsworth in the title role of the gentleman train robber and a genuinely radiant Jackie Burroughs as his love interest, this is a film that evokes the moving and elegiac qualities inherent in the westerns of John Ford, Howard Hawks and the non-blood-spurting moments of Sam Peckinpah. It’s not only a masterpiece, but proof positive that Canadians can hold their own in any genre when those who are making the pictures are the real thing and unfettered by the usual nonsense plaguing so many in the Canuck industry.

SHIVERS
I first saw David Cronenberg’s still magnificent first (real) feature at a foul Winnipeg grindhouse. In order to get in (as I was underage), I crafted a fake I.D. It worked. This led to using my prowess in the manufacture of false Driving Licences and Birth Certificates all through high school at a considerable profit. The North End Winnipeg teen hosers who sought out my services used my masterly fake I.D.s to get into the ‘Peg’s finer watering holes. They didn’t really care about using them for movies. Who was I to judge? If SHIVERS was only inspirational for my criminal juvenile activity/entrepreneurship, it’s worth being on this list, but it’s also worth being here for the moment when a corpulent, old lady afflicted with venereal blood parasites lasciviously ogles a young man and moans: “I’m hungry. I’m hungry. I’m hungry for . . . LOVE!”

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