Canada's New Auteur: Jeremy PodeswaDateline: 07/19/00
Director Jeremy Podeswa's The Five Senses is the most talked about film out of Canada this year. The film won Best Canadian Feature at last year's Toronto Film Festival and Best Direction at the 2000 Genies (Canada's equivalent to the Oscars). Podeswa also received a rare five-minute-long standing ovation at Cannes, setting the international critics abuzz with praise. First, there was Atom Egoyan, then there was Don McKellar, and now, it's Jeremy Podeswa.
The 37 year old director is a Toronto native who studied at the American Film Institute's Center for Advanced Film Studies in Los Angeles. Podeswa previously wrote, directed and co-produced the critically acclaimed dramatic feature Eclipse (1994). The film was a favorite on the festival circuit and was sold to 16 countries worldwide, but not the United States.
Podeswa can't help but enjoy the attention he is receiving. The Five Senses is being hailed as the next big movie out of Canada, following in the tradition of The Sweet Hereafter and The Red Violin. Nor does he mind the comparisons to Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan. After all, the two have known each other for 20 years; he comparison is sort of inevitable. Podeswa told IndieWIRE: "We do tend to be interested in a lot of the same things, but the differences in our films are really interesting to both of us. Atom's films, if you go beyond the surface level, they're quite different from my films."
Podeswa describes The Five Senses as an old-fashioned art film. Like American filmmakers Jim Jarmusch and Hal Hartley, Podeswa hopes that after you see his films, you'll be able to recognize it clearly as a Podeswa product. Independent films, according to Podeswa, should be an articulation of the director's own concerns and interests. "That's what makes them interesting," says Podeswa. "Because they're personal and idiosyncratic and they're not like anybody else's movies. That, I think, is the definition of art cinema, where people use filmmaking the way they would write a song, or a poem or a novel."