“There was a moment on set in Los Angeles when we were standing in a studio in Glendale, with these two five-foot-long photo-realistic penis sculptures made by Academy Award-winning artist Christien Tinsley (West World, American Horror Story, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs), and we’ve got the dicks and the 35mm film camera mounted on this robotic motion control rig that they use on films like The Lord of the Rings and Rogue One, and Production Designer Todd Cherniawsky was there (Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Star Trek: Discovery), and I just thought, “Whoa! What the eff are we doing here?!” -Trevor Anderson on the making of Docking.
Trevor Anderson is a queer filmmaker with an extraordinary sense of purpose. His latest film, Docking had its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival and it’s as provocative and epic as they come. It took Trevor 4 years to complete what he describes as the “most special effects-heavy film I’ve ever made” and which should have no trouble dominating the festival circuit this year. I caught up with Trevor to ask about the films creation and his plans to turn into a feature film.
Helkio: Are there any queer filmmakers that have been an influence you, and why?
Anderson: When I was first coming out I went to the queer film festival in Vancouver and saw two short films that, taken together, blew my mind. One was a Canadian short film called The Making of Monsters by John Greyson, and the other was an Australian short film called Poetry for an Englishman by Martin Daley. The first was very intellectual and Brechtian and formally clever, and the second was very sentimental and emo and full of feeling, and the combination of these two films made me feel like this was something I wanted to do, and also something I could do. I feel like all my work since then has been bouncing between those two poles, the brainy alienation of the Greyson film and the longing heart of the Daley film.
In your recent CBC interview, you talked about how you involved Todd Cherniawsky in realizing your vision for the film. If you were to make a sequel to this film, what might you do differently?
I actually plan to make a full-length feature film version of Docking. The four-minute short film doubles as the opening sequence to the feature… from there we descend to earth and see a whole fictional story play out in Edmonton in winter. It’s a sexy-scary-thriller-horror-comedy.
As a filmmaker what do you know now that you wish someone had told you when you started out?
I actually got an amazing piece of advice when I met the great filmmaker Jane Campion. She said to me, “Look after your health. Do yoga, even if it’s only fifteen minutes a day, or swim. A relaxed mind can make good decisions.”
Of all of the films, you’ve made which is your favourite and why?
My personal favourite of all my films will always be Rock Pockets (2007). That’s the one where I really found my own artistic voice. People still talk about it to me on the festival circuit, and program it. I feel like I’ll always identify most with that one, and I hope I carry its lessons with me through everything I go on to make.
Super-gay-bonus-question: If you had the power to change one thing about the gay community, what would that be?
Decriminalize sex work.
For more Trevor:
Originally published in SpringrPlay Magazine, 2019