There are multiple scenes in the film where dialogs fades out, and audience cannot hear but fully understand what characters are saying. When you were preparing, did you know for sure when to fade out voices in such scenes? For instance, the parking lot scene.

 GGIFF journalist
The words of every single scene were completely improvised. There was not any dialog
scripted at all. The only thing that I scripted was the scenario itself. For so long, I was
trying to figure out how to make dialog sound real. For years and years it bothered me,
like how do I make dialog like a real conversation? I tried writing it, that didn’t work
because it was too contrived, I tried many things. The basis that I made short film on,
was mainly experimentation of dialog. I scripted the scenario, and I point for point
wrote the motivation of what was going through every character’s head. I gave every
actor a different script, every actor had a slightly different script. Nobody knew each
other’s motivations. And when we shot, we did it (the scene) in one shot.

Jason Hammond
Wither with her is an experimental short film, revolving around a couple, Ivan and Kayla, who are heroin addicts who have overdosed and died. The film follows them through their final days, blurring the lines between documentary and classic narrative, to create something uniquely surreal.

«Wither With Her» features a lot of elements of mocumentary genre. Is it challenging to create dramaturgy with such approach? Would you call it mocumentary?

 GGIFF journalist
No, I would not call a mocumentary. A mocumentary to me is still referencing other
films. Have you ever seen a film called FUBAR? Its a Canadian mocumentary,
its..uhhh... its quality. It’s an acronym for «Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition». Its the
most Canadian shit you will ever watch, it’s so good. Mocumentaries, for the most part,
are trying to, again, reference other films. I am not trying to reference any other film. I
am strictly against referencing films when I am making a film. If you would read the
script, you would see that it is nothing like any other film at all. «Wither With Her» is
about documenting what is happening in the purest sense. To me, I am trying to
capture something real. In no way I am interested in sitting at my desk and write and
script everything, I am not interested in that. Visions or ideas of scenes come to me
naturally and I want to create a boundary for things to happen within, and then I wanna
capture it. So, in that sense, I am inspired by documentary film making, but it’s not a
mocumentary in the sense that it’s trying to come across as a documentary,

Jason Hammond
FUBAR is a 2002 Canadian film directed by Michael Dowse and written by Dave Lawrence, Michael Dowse and Paul Spence, following the lives of two lifelong friends and head-bangers, Terry Cahill and Dean Murdoch. FUBAR debuted at the Sundance Film Festival. Since its release, it has gained a cult status in North America, particularly in Western Canada.

FUBAR was filmed and set in and around Calgary, Alberta, and was filmed entirely with digital cinematography on a Canon XL1 and a shoestring budget that required Dave Lawrence to max out his credit card and caused his dad to refinance their family home in order to complete the movie.

FUBAR features characters created by Dave Lawrence and Paul Spence that they developed based on the head-banger subculture. Terry Cahill, one of the main characters of the film played by Lawrence was based on a character Lawrence created at Loose Moose Theatre in the mid-90s. Many people featured in the movie (including the fist-fighters) were bystanders, who thought that the filmmakers were shooting a documentary on the common man. FUBAR did not have a set script, only a rough outline from which the actors improvised.

Directed by Michael Dowse and written by Dave Lawrence
All of the cast does an amazing job, but I was mostly impressed with the pusher. His face features are exceptional. Was it hard for you to find the perfect cast for each role?
 GGIFF journalist

No, he is a drug addict, dude, he’s the real deal. He is an opioid addict. In between

every single shot, he was nodding off, completely out. He is a real addict, he was

telling me stories, everything he said, when I sat down to interview him, was real. There

is nothing fake in that interview, that’s him. Everything he says, when he talks about

addiction and almost started crying, and when he said maybe he would rather

overdose - that’s him. I didn’t write that. He told me 2 weeks before it (the film shoot)

he was shooting up with somebody and they died in front of him.

He is also an actor as well. When I was writing the script, I found him, and I started

reading on his stuff, so I wrote him into the script. First, I had an idea of a cold,

sociopathic kind of guy, I wondered - who could play him? And I started looking for

actors, saw him and immediately knew - that’s him. This is the guy right here. On the

first day of shooting, we lost him and we spent 3 hours finding him in the city.

Obviously, he was picking up drugs in order to make it through the shoot. He’s actually

a great dude and was awesome to work with.

Jason Hammond
All drug consuming scenes feel dirty and terrifying at the same time, yet extremely naturalistic. How did you achieve such imagery?
 GGIFF journalist
I knew that the idea of them shooting up in a motel room would not be very pleasant,
so to speak. Like, it would not be something like inspiring or motivating. I knew it was
gonna be something disturbing. It naturally is. It’s just goes to the greater motivation - I
am trying to reference reality rather than reference other movies. So, most people
would rely on a set decorator or something. Most things, when it comes to film
industry, are referencing other films. So, it’s a lot of theatrics, a lot of pretending. So,
filmmakers are trying to contrive as hard as possible, and they feel that if they act it
really hard, and then it will become real. Whereas I want to see something real, I wanna
taste it, I want something to be gross, I just want it to be what it should actually be. So,
I chose the cheapest possible motel. It’s just natural, the realism of it. The other factor
that’s probably good to mention is that I am diabetic. So, I inject myself with insulin.
So, all of the syringes were ones that I had. I didn’t use them, obviously, but I had them
and some of them I rigged as a prop. I would take the needle off, and then I would fill it
with fake fluid. That added some realism in a subtle way that makes it grimy.

Jason Hammond
A shot from "Wither With Her" by Jason Hammond
When you were choosing locations for the film, was it intentional to make it look like a middle of nowhere?
 GGIFF journalist
Well, we shot it in a piece of crap city that I live in right now. It is literally the middle
of nowhere. The spot where they start arguing with each other, the building in front of it,
I rent a spot there and make music there, so I go there all the time. Half of these
locations are just places I drive by or I go by a lot. I am always interested in kind of run
down locations, because I see so many of them, and yet nobody is ever interested in
showing them, like a real place. That location, where they start arguing at the end - you
can see homeless tents in the back. When we rolled up and shot that scene, there was
a fire in the middle of that road a couple feet high.

Jason Hammond

Soundtrack is outstanding: it’s dark, captivating and flows perfectly with the story. Was it a natural click with the composer, or it took some time for God-Like-Storm to understand the atmosphere you desire? Is God-Like-Storm actually you as well?

 GGIFF journalist
Yeah, “God-Like-Storm” is my music project, it’s me. So, we got along terribly
(laughing). I make music all the time, I constantly do it. I don’t even show it to anyone, I
don’t send it to anyone, I make albums worth of music in like a month and then I forget
about it. I make it just because I am so compulsive I’ve got to make this, and
sometimes I will never look back on it. A lot of the music was the stuff I made before
that I kinda forgot about, but a lot of it was also while I was writing the script. Part of
the writing process for me is making music. It’s the most fun because it's immediate.
Sitting down and writing scripts to me is very tedious and not that exciting, like
preplanning for your future savings or something. I want it now, that’s why filming is so
exciting to me, when I am actually filming on the location. The music itself is the type of
music I make all the time. And most of it on tape. I literally have crates of cassette
tapes, also 1/4 inch reels, of music projects of mine. I love the analog shit.

Jason Hammond
Jason Hammond won the "Best Short of the Month (Special Jury Award)" at famous "INDIEX Film Festival" in January 2023 program.
Drug abuse has been a theme for a lot of characters and film for a long time. Despite many films showing negative outcome of a drug abuse, some people believe it should not be shown since audience can get mixed signals. Do you think films like «Whither With Her» can have such an impact?
 GGIFF journalist

They probably can. I cant consider the opinions or feelings of every single person

who would potentially watch it, there are millions of different kinds of people out there. I

am not responsible for how they would respond to or interpret it either negatively or

positively. They can respond any way they want, that’s the beauty of it. I make

something, and then they can chose to hate it or love it or not even bother paying

attention at all. Same thing when it comes to morality. I honestly think people who are

affected by these things (drugs) would find more truth in this than in anything else

released nowadays. The idea of contriving films is exponentially more harmful than

trying to get to the truth of something, which is what I am trying to do. You can always

just turn it off and forget about it, and if you can’t forget it, maybe I did something right.

Jason Hammond
All GGIFF team is standing fully against any type of drugs, but we agree with Jason's position. Cinema is the place where you can show all the sides of the truth.
I noticed how characters hold money in the film. It is always like they are trying to hide it, to squash it, etc. Is it just a detail or there is some imagery behind it?
 GGIFF journalist
I had no idea they were gonna do it, it just happened, and then later on I went back
and noticed it. There are things about this short film that I realized upon rewatching it,
that I’ve never even realized when I was writing or conceptualizing it. Sometimes I
rewatch it see how things are connected to each other. So, as much as any other
person would watch it, I can speculate about it (film), and questions would be raised,
that’s the most interesting thing. Something like that (hiding the money) is something a
film student would love to sit there and contrive. But it’s just a natural consequence of
what was happening. And when you think about it - it is actually a kind of an object of
shame, but that’s not something I thought before making it.

Jason Hammond

Could you share any information on future projects you are working on?

 GGIFF journalist
All of the short films I’ve done in the past are in the shadow of the feature film that
I’ve been thinking and dreaming about since I was 16. And I have to make this film. I
used to dream about making this feature film and then dying. Like, this feature film
would be a full representation of my ideas to the fullest, and then I would die and it
would be something that I left to the world, whoever pays attention to it or not. When I
do these short films, I am experimenting in order to see what I am good at, so the full
feature film will be the ultimate film in my eye. Ultimately, it is a horror film about a
vampire. The basic idea behind it is, if vampires were real, if they lived in this reality,
what would happen and how would that play out? That idea has been swimming
around my head for almost 13 years. I have written different scripts for it so many
times, I came up with soundtracks, I feel it in my blood. It’s dying to get out of me. And
when it gets out of me, it might kill me. In a spiritual sense, not in a physical one. In a
spiritual sense, I am willing to die to make this film.

Jason Hammond

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