Wexner Center film staff with Guy Maddin after Keyhole’s premiere at the Toronto Film Festival in September 2011. (From left: Chris Stults, Mike Olenick, Jennifer Lange, Guy Maddin, and Dave Filipi)
I’m proud to say in the 25 years I’ve been making independent films I’ve never been forced against my wishes either to remove a shot that courts controversy, nor include a shot that might spoon-feed an audience. I’ve always enjoyed complete artistic freedom, something certainly not common in the cost-conscious world of movie-making.
This is a freedom I carefully protect, but it’s getting harder and harder to do so. That’s why the super-generous Wexner Residency Award, which galvanized work on my feature film Keyhole, is by far the greatest award I’m likely ever to receive.
First, this precious cash came from a private source, the supreme compliment and gesture of trust one could pay toward a Canadian filmmaker. Back home, we are ungratefully accustomed to state support, even demand it. Private support for such endeavors as mine is unheard of. There is no way a film this aggressively uncommercial, this personally fevered, this uncomfortably murky of plot, and this important to its maker, could have been made without the love sent my way by the Wex. I could never have gotten past dreaming of this movie without this hefty gift from the institution’s visionary film curators. The fact that Keyhole is now made, and that I feel it to be my best work and one that closes a long chapter in my career, makes the loving trust shown in me all the more intensely sweet!
I’m happy to parade the name of the Wexner around with me wherever I go in the world. I hope we can keep up our fantastic relationship forever. And I feel good about our little offspring. Even though many find Keyhole to register too high on the Abstract-O-Meter (I think I may have buried the needle in the red!), I hope it’s the kind of movie that seeps into its zeitgeist, subliminally, unnoticed, to lie dormant for years and years, forgotten, only to bleed back up to the surface of a more appreciative audience at some future happy date, and may the letters that spell out the Wexner Center for the Arts bleed up first and most gloriously!!! Thank you!
Note: Guy received the 2008-09 Residency Award in Film/Video. He returns to the Wex on December 6 to introduce Lois Weber’s Where Are My Children? (1916) and Frank Borzage’s Little Man, What Now?(1934) as part of our “Universal Pictures: Celebrating 100 Years” series.