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The 46th Toronto International Film Festival runs September 9–18, 2021. in Canada's most vibrant and exciting metropolis, it has become one of the most important film events on the festival calendar.

Showcasing more than 300 films and hosting industryites from around the world, Toronto can "make or break" films looking for international distribution and a chance at Oscar gold. From glitzy red carpet premieres to challenging art films to cutting edge new media, the Festival offers something for every taste.

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Interview with Director: Justine Bateman for Violet at TIFF

“VIOLET”

TIFF 2021

With Director: Justine Bateman

Interview by Emmanuel Itier

Q: Where did the idea come from and the genesis for this unique picture?

 

Justine: I wrote this script in 2011 and during these years I had made a lot of “fear based” decisions, just enough to feel I wasn’t being myself. When I work through that I realized a few things. If I thoughts about the fears as if somebody else was saying them to me instead of being my own, if I could look at them objectively. It’s like if I go to a party and I wear that shirt that everybody is looking at and I feel bad about it; versus you say it to me and then I can question that. So it changes the perspective. It’s also finding out if it’s true that if you think about a bad thing it will happen. I really wanted to pass these findings on. So, VIOLET is the film I wish I had watched when I was 19. I would have become myself faster than I did. I wouldn’t have to figure it out myself. Having the different audio elements and the different visual elements, I have this because I want this to be more of an immersive experience. I didn’t want the audience to seat back and look at the character go through this story. I wanted people to wear like a coat these experience and truly feel them for themselves.

 

Q: What does “Violet” stands for and are you found of the color?

 

Justine: I love that color! You look at the visual spectrum and you realize that violet is at one end of it and the color red is on the other end of it. So her friend “Red” (played by Luke Bracey) lives a very free life. He is not consumed with fears. He makes instinct based decisions. So, “Violet” has to go from the color violet to the color red.

 

Q: Why the choice of Olivia Munn to be “Violet”?

 

Justine: Anytime I’m casting I look at all kinds of video about such and such actors. I look at their work, their interviews, the videos they put on their social medias, etc. I look at things about them that can be obvious or small and make me better understand them, who they are. This is how I can find someone to fit the character I have created. And the characteristic I saw about Olivia were perfect to incarnate “Violet”. And she was very opened to the role and it worked out.

 

Q: Tell me about the various challenges you faced making it, especially because you came up with this concept of writing all these various thoughts “Violet” has on the screen?

 

Justine: The funny thing is that I didn’t plan to do the writing on the screen at first. It came later. I came to a point in the editing room where we didn’t feel we “had it” with the first cut. I didn’t have the expression of that passionate despair of “Violet” to get out of such or such situation. And then I realized I could just write it on the screen, what she felt truly within. I have done lots of collages growing up where I would write on the art to better express my thoughts about what I was creating. So, this was a natural and easy choice to make for this film. It created a great pressure cooker on her performance with the writing trying to erupt on her voice.

 

Q: Do you still have that voice within giving you good and/or bad advices?

 

Justine: Yes, that voice definitely tries to come around at times. And I have to identify it. It tries to hook into something. It will try to find some irrational fear to use it as an anchor. So, whenever I find it reaches something I have to try to figure out what is it in me that is hooked on to. And then I need to get rid of that. It doesn’t happen as often these days. I find out that when I’m in situations with higher stakes I have to re-evaluate my decisions, my perceptions of things can change.

 

Q: Is this a timely movie for this “fear based” environment and times?

 

Justine: If it is, it’s just a coincidence because the movie was supposed to premiere just before the pandemic at South by Southwest film festival. So it seems like it’s an even better setting right now for this picture to come out and to be at the Toronto film festival. I hope it can help people to make “not fear based” decisions. I hope it helps them to be more themselves. I hope it helps people think objectively about any critical thoughts they might have or they might face. Consider that lots of these thoughts can be lies. Recognizing they are lies it will help them reject these thoughts. You have to experience everything in life, good an bad things, good and bad decisions, and see what happens. Don’t let the inner fear stop you from living your life. At the end you always learn from you experiences, good and bad ones.

 

Q: What comes next…a sequel to Violet?

 

Justine: No. I have written 4 new script during 2020 because I didn’t want to be in 2020! I couldn’t believe what was happening around us with that level of fear. I think it exceeded what was reasonable to understand. So, I wanted to be in a parallel universe and I ended up into these various 4 scripts! So now I’m trying to set up a couple of them. And I’m looking forward for “Violet” to being at TIFF! I’m excited about that.

 

VIOLET 92 min Drama

Violet realizes that her entire life is built on fear-based decisions, and must do everything differently to become her true self.
Director 

 

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The Dailies from Toronto

Contributing editors: Bruno Chatelin 

Laurie Gordon Animaze International Film Festival Le Miaff!
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