Interview by Robbie Reelout
Toronto-based independent filmmaker and video artist Mark Pariselli continues to diversify his repertoire of outstanding work. Mark was already a creative force in the Toronto scene but seemed to burst into the international spotlight with his dark and sexy short film AFTER and his equally dark but distinctive short FROZEN ROADS (both distributed by the CFMDC ). While he’s not being a regular guest at Reelout, he was selected to attend the prestigious Berlinale Talent Campus in Germany and was selected as a member of the International jury of the Sicilia Queer Film Festival last May. Mark sat down with one of our newest bloggers Robbie Reelout to discuss his latest offering KISS screening before the feature film ROUTE OF ACCEPTANCE on Saturday 2 February at 4pm in The Screening Room (120 Princess St) in Kingston.
Robbie Reelout: What was it about Andy Warhol’s 1963 silent film Kiss that inspired you to explore that same experimentation in present time?
The impetus for ‘Kiss’ arose from reading a number of articles about queer people imprisoned or put to death in various countries for being queer. I was deeply disturbed by this and wanted to react or respond through my work in some way, creating a protest piece that would be artful and peaceful but also confrontational. Warhol’s simple yet strong film ‘Kiss’ instantly came to mind. A fuck-you to the Hays Code’s absurd time restriction of onscreen kissing, Warhol’s ‘Kiss’ celebrates the pure and beautiful act.
Punishing people for loving one another or punishing the act of expressing love with a kiss is absurd. I similarly wanted to create a passionate fuck-you to the current laws that exist in certain countries that punish and prohibit queers and celebrate the beauty of queer love. Reinterpreting Warhol’s message for this purpose seemed like a perfect fit.
Robbie Reelout: Right away, I noticed that the output format of this film is not widescreen, but a standard definition film. Why did you choose this output format?
The original sizing was retained from Warhol’s ‘Kiss’ to clearly point to his film and reference it. The second portion of my ‘Kiss’ opens up to wide screen and adds colour to bring the work up to the present. The juxtaposition of silent, stark black and white film vs colour HD video with sound is also jarring and hopefully striking, inspiring an audience to view the kissing in the film with more critical attention.
Robbie Reelout: Do you think that someone’s sexual orientation would affect what their reaction to this film would be?
Mark Pariselli: I think the film may come off as more confrontational in a mixed or more straight audience than when screened for a predominantly queer audience.
Robbie Reelout: I read that the performers in this film are from countries where laws repress this kind of activity. Was it a struggle to convince them to perform in a film like this?
Mark Pariselli: I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was not very difficult to track down performers for this project. People seemed interested in lending a voice to members of the community in other countries that are oppressed or repressed and to stand up in some sort of protest.
Mark will also be participating in the Reelout4Teens FREE panel/workshop Directing Actors & Acting on Film available to ALL youth (ages 13-26) at the central branch of the Kingston Frontenac Public Library at 1pm Sunday, Feb 3rd. This workshop aimed at youth ages 13 to 26 is designed so that young, aspiring actors and directors will first have the chance to listen to first-hand advice and the personal experiences of actors and directors currently working in the Canadian film industry. The 2nd half of the workshop will allow participants to ask questions and meet with these industry professionals one on one. Participants at time of guide print date will include film director Heather Tobin, actress Keli-Marie Murtha, director Adam Garnet-Jones, actress/producer Sarah Kolaski, actress Nicola Correia-Damude and actor/director Mark Pariselli.