By: Zac Schraeder
Last year, Kyle Reaume’s short film What about Shelley made its world premiere at the Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival. Kyle, a graduate of the Film Production Diploma program at Toronto Film School, will return to the festival this year to screen his new short film Vertical Lines. He met with Toronto Film School Student Advisor and writer, Zac Schraeder, to talk about the film. Advisory: this article contains themes of self-harm and suicide.
Zac Schraeder: Vertical Lines shines a light on issues of self-harm and suicide in the context of a budding queer relationship. Why was it important for you to make a film about this?
Kyle Reaume: It’s important to me for many reasons. It’s my own story, and it’s something I’ve rarely talked about. There are many people who know me and see my scars, but they don’t know the story behind them. Making this film has allowed me to talk about it and, in a way, lay it to rest. Framing it in a queer narrative was always part of the way I imagined the story because so many of us in the LGBTQ+ community struggle with these issues. This film is also my way of normalizing conversation around self-harm and suicide. It takes a lot of guts to say “I tried to kill myself” – and being able to talk about it openly can help you move on from it. If one person sees this film and feels like they can talk about their past like the characters do, I’ve done my job.
ZS: After winning the BravoFACT Pitch Competition grant, your film What about Shelley premiered at Inside Out’s Toronto LGBT Film Festival last year. Compared to 2017, how has this experience been different with a self-funded short?
KR: In a way, my mandate with this film is in response to making such a well-funded short last year. This time I am showing that filmmakers can make a short film on their own terms, whether it’s with their own money and resources, or even no money at all. We have made this short for next to nothing, and it’s the one I’m most proud of. Making it with virtually no money is not always easy. I had to make certain sacrifices – like a reduced crew and minimal equipment. But for this story, I knew we didn’t need much.
ZS: Did any other Toronto Film School graduates work on your cast or crew for Vertical Lines?
KR: Of course they did! My producer Rafaela Scully and I have been working together since we met at Toronto Film School! She’s produced all four of my shorts and is just one of the many connections I’ve held with fellow Toronto Film School Alumni. We also have Alex Laurenza on our camera team, and she’s also worked on every short I’ve made. I’ve kept my Toronto Film School buddies close!
ZS: When and where did Vertical Lines premiere?
KR: Vertical Lines had its world premiere at BFI Flare: The London LGBTQ+ Film Festival in March, which I got to attend with my co-producer Brendan Whelton. It was a truly spectacular experience to be able to travel to the United Kingdom for it.
ZS: What is Kyle Reaume up to now? What’s next?
KR: I’m slowly getting the wheels turning on my next short. I’m definitely looking into funding for this one. I won’t say what it’s about just yet, but it will feature around a renowned queer Toronto space! Maybe you’ll see it a film festival near you in 2019.
This will be Kyle Reaume’s fourth appearance at the Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival. Previous entries include What Makes me a Woman (2015), Ecstasy (2016), and What About Shelley(2017). Click the links to watch!
Vertical Lines makes its Canadian and hometown premiere at Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival as part of the Local Heroes program on Thursday, May 31st, 6:45 pm at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.