Meet Lindsay MacKay, writer/director of WET BUM

Tonight is the night! WET BUM is playing at the LSPU Hall in just under and hour!!! If you don't have tickets yet, you are going to want to rush down there and get them, especially after you learn a bit more about this up-and-coming director. Lindsay MacKay took the time to answer some of our questions about the film. She'll be joining us after the screening this evening to answer more of your filmmaking questions. See you there! SJIWFF: Tell us a bit about why you made the film. What was it like to write a story that weaves together multiple generations? Why was this important to you?

LM: Sam’s journey throughout the film is loosely based on my own experiences at her age. I grew up in a small town, where my parents ran and owned a nursing home. One summer, when I was a teenager, my parents suggested I take a job at the nursing home as a cleaning woman. I reluctantly agreed. Working there meant I had to slowly get to know many of the residents on a personal level.

As the summer passed, I began to understand that this moment in these people’s lives wasn’t as peaceful as I had always imagined. As I struggled through the summer managing feelings of guilt, anger, and confusion, I discovered that many of the residents were struggling, too. They were angry that they were expected to gracefully step aside for a younger generation that didn’t understand or appreciate them. They felt the guilt of having lived a long life and not having accomplished all they set out to, and they shared in my confusion and fear of the uncertain.

As I was entering an exciting period in my life -- holding a boy’s hand and having my first kiss -- a man lost his wife. As I fought with my parents about responsibility and freedom, a woman was admitted to the nursing home because her family could no longer take care of her. As I was growing up, they were growing old.

I have come to discover that most of themes in my work stem from my childhood and my experiences in the nursing home. Dealing with the idea of mortality and aging in my youth caused me to become hyper-aware of how we as a society force this very individual experience into a very archetypal idea. We see old people as grandpas and grandmas, fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, but, most frequently, as people who have lived their lives and have come to terms with the fact that world keeps going after they are gone. Through Wet Bum, I hope to breakdown some of those stagnant models and shed light on the confusion and uncertainty we all face no matter our age.

We’re all attempting to give our life worth, and we place that worth in the things we collect, the people we love, and the people that love us. But what happens when the things we collect vanish, the people we love die or move on, and people who love us forget?

I was compelled to write this story because I wanted to create a conversation around these ideas and explore how different generations can find common ground through recognizing each other as individuals. Sam is a young girl, who, like me, felt like she was in a state of in-between, being young and wanting to be reckless but not fitting in with her peers because she was a late bloomer and a bit of an old soul.

Through that summer, I learned a lot about myself and what I value in other human beings. The residents at the nursing home reminded me of the value of connecting with people, as well as recognizing that we all have flaws and face a lot of uncertainty, but by being there for one another, we somehow manage to get through it all.

SJIWFF: Were there any films that influenced you? If so, how?

LM: There are many films and filmmakers and artists that influence my work. For Wet Bum kept coming up were:

FISH TANK - DIRECTED BY ANDREA ARNOLD Thematically the film aligns itself with an outsider - a young and confused girl who’s trying to find a place to belong, which is very similar to our main character Sam. I also admire the way the film deals with themes of sexuality, it gracefully toes the line between what’s right and wrong

RATCATCHER - DIRECTED BY LYNNE RAMSAY (One of my all time favourite films) What I love about Ramsay’s work is how her narrative is lingering and poetic; a story that beings with the accidental death of a neighborhood boy expands to tell the complicated story of how one boy is struggling with this family, his friends and his place in life. Her shot choice and patient pacing help add to the meditative feel of the film. The small details transcend the familiar; they capture the dream-like innocence of childhood like no other film and juxtapose that with the pending pressure to grow up.

Also when I watch Wet Bum now I can see traces of how Tomas Alfredson's Let The Right One In has influenced my work. That films also focus on the two outsiders and an unlikely friendship.

SJIWFF: Did you face any challenges making this film?

LM: We faced many challenges making this film... Almost to many to list... but the one that was the most difficult for me was time. I always wanted more hours in the day, and days in the schedule. Moving at the fast pace that film sets do (particularly indie films), I was always fearful that I was missing something, or that I didn’t have time to think of the best option for the scene.

SJIWFF: What projects do you have in the works now?

LM: I'm currently developing a short I made CLEAR BLUE into a feature. I've actually being thinking about setting it in an ocean side town in Newfoundland!

Here's the synopsis: Clear Blue tells the haunting story of Simon, a young lifeguard on his first days on the job at a community pool. The mundane quickly becomes mysterious, when Simon notices Flova, an alluring older woman with an exceptional capacity to stay submerged under water. As Simon follows Flova into the pool he makes a startling discovery. What follows is a story of temptation and pursuit, a fable of impossible love and ultimately, its harrowing consequences.

Tickets available at the LSPU Hall Box Office