In preparation for the launch of his film, “How Many Times?” we had the chance to interview Ryan C. Khan – the film’s producer and director.  Ryan is an emerging filmmaker from Trinidad & Tobago, who has several productions under his belt.  “How Many Times?” was an official selection of the 2014 Cannes Film Festival Short Film Corner.  Check out our very candid interview with Ryan below.

About Ryan:
Ryan prides himself on being one of the many filmmakers who are a part of the New Caribbean Artist Movement. Accolades include an award for the Tribeca Film Institute/Worldview CBA Pitch Competition at the Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival 2012, getting the well received music video for KES THE BAND – STRESS AWAY into the BBC Music Video Festival in 2012, participating in the Berlinale Talent Campus in 2013 as a Director and screening his 3rd short film HOW MANY TIMES? at Cannes Short Film Corner 2014.

Kes the Band – Stress Away:

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Stress Away – Kes The Band (OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO)

CinéCaribes:
In your own words, tell us what this film is about and why you chose to tell this story.

RCK:
The idea of this short was about experimentation on many levels – from what the audience sees onscreen, to the reason I chose to tell this story in the first place, to what the character herself does in the end. There was a very simple thematic element immediately evident to me when I read the script for the first time. This script is actually an adaptation of a story from another screenwriter, Alex Whitmer – I bought his script online.  I chose this script because of what it was saying, and because it is not the type of story I usually choose to tell. The intention was to get out of my comfort zone.

CinéCaribes:
Did the film turn out the way you envisioned?  If yes, in what ways. If no, why not?

RCK:
That isn’t a simple yes or no answer for me. I think most films never come out the way the filmmaker envisioned in their heads…even if they say it did, mainly because a film gets handled by so many different people, from cast to crew. That collaborative influence is what I think is the main component in filmmaking. 

For a less abstract answer though, I’d say no it didn’t come out the way I envisioned, but in a good way.  Initially I had a very linear edit in mind, but after shooting it and seeing the end result, I felt it needed to evolve past the original intention….much like most of my work.

CinéCaribes:
What was the most challenging aspect of making the film and why was that so?

RCK:
When I shot this film, it was actually during a period in my life where I was having some stress related issues.  I’m okay now, but not so long ago I was having feelings of doubt and despair related to my film career and wondering if I should still be trying to make films.  Needless to say, I overcame those fears, mostly because of the great support we Trinbagonian filmmakers are starting to give each other.  It’s really tough for artists, especially now.  The budding years of any artist’s career can be quite trying and I can’t look down on anyone who decides to walk away.

I hear all the time from veteran filmmakers, film is more than a job or career, it’s a life choice. It requires an all or nothing approach and usually doesn’t reward you until you’re broken or have already given up…lol. I wouldn’t say I’ve made any sort of great achievements yet, but I can say I’m at peace with my choice and my drive to work has increased. Other than that, the film wouldn’t have been done if it wasn’t for the great cast and crew involved.  They all agreed to do the film one weekend making actually producing it, quite stress free. The actors and the crew all gave up a weekend and they did it with a smile. I paid for food and drink and found a location.

ryan blog pic 2

 

CinéCaribes:
If you were to pick an aspect of filmmaking – writing, directing, cinematography, editing – which would be your favorite?  why is that? – which do you dislike the most? and why is that?

RCK:
Editing comes naturally to me. I do it in my mind while watching other films, but directing is the only time I feel like I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. Not because I enjoy controlling things or manipulating people, I actually don’t enjoy those types of things. My take on directing is empowering people, because I’m not a puppeteer, I’m a director!…Which in essence means to give a general direction and let the person interpret it in his or her own way. Of course it’s not as straight forward as that…there’s usually a back and forth, ego flare ups and miscommunications, but overall none of that matters when it’s done right.  You know it’s done right when you and everyone else involved are receiving some accolades or at least continuing to get work and enjoy doing what you do.

CinéCaribes:
If you did not have to think about a budget, what film would you make and who would you cast as the lead actors?

RCK:
You know I would hate a limitless budget. I find restrictions really fuel my creativity. That being said, I also hate absolutely no budgets and have made a solid effort to produce work only when I have the proper budget.  I pass on projects, which are too demanding or are under budgeted.

CinéCaribes:
What do you want the audience to take away from this film?

RCK:
It is never too late to turn things around.

Check out the trailer below and visit StudioAnansi.TV to watch the film.

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Studio Anansi – Trailer: How Many Times?

Thank you for hanging with us and check back for our next Q+A.