Three Docs

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Guillaume Carlier is a local director who worked with CJSW to produce three videos showcasing the talents of Calgary bands. The result is an honest portrayal of the talent that is in our city. We spoke with Guillaume and asked about his inspirations for the project. Here’s what he had to say about the series and the bands involved.


Since moving back to Calgary, I saw an open hole in Calgary’s filmmaking scene. Developed though it is, it seemed to me that there was a need for a rawer kind of filmmaking. Something that spoke to the talent that I thought was underrepresented in this town. Creating art in Calgary isn’t necessarily an easy task, and it isn’t always rewarding. But once I made my first film MOSES, I found that people were excited and willing to create something larger. Something that represented Calgarians, and not just “westerners”. A haven for this kind of task is CJSW. They have been relentlessly pursuing a higher standard, and reaching it. Partnering with CJSW to make these documentaries has been incredibly thrilling, and it can be said that both myself and CJSW will be continuing to make more.

Currently, I am working on a feature film, which chronicles various unique Calgarians as they discuss their love/hate relationship with the city, and with themselves. It will mostly be told through documentary style filmmaking, with some narrative interludes to blur the line between fact and fiction — which is a much more interesting place to be.

Empty Heads

Working with Empty Heads is like having a shot of adrenaline to the system. Tyler Wilson’s intense musical focus is a force to be reckoned with. The aggressive sound of the band is so enveloping, that on first listen, it’s hard to hear past the layers of guitar and bass and fuzz. But when you do listen past that layer, you can hear something very refined and even elegant way back in the distance of their songs. And to tie it all off are Tyler’s lyrics. They are sneaky tearjerkers, perfectly captured moments that can go by unnoticed.

Trying to capture their energy, their chemistry, is what I tried to do with Empty Heads. It’s why I included their close friend Mackenzie Boyle. He acts as a kind of narrator to their chaotic life and brings it all together. And that’s something that this band has more than most. Intense chemistry! They are like a group of brothers, and following them around with a tiny little camera was a real honour.

I’d also like to mention the loss of our dear friend Jordy Stein, who’s portrait is featured towards the end of the video. Jord passed away just before filming, and he would have loved to have seen this, and his friends.

Aleem Khan

Aleem approached me after the screening of my film MOSES and we quickly became friends. Something I noticed about Aleem right away was his thorough, almost manic, reverence for music. Despite being so young, Aleem has dived deeper than most into spiritual jazz. His depth of knowledge is only surpassed by his intense talent. Beyond that, Aleem and I have very similar values, and you can see in the video that we are truly comfortable in each others presence. Aleem graciously allowed me into his world. By extension, I think that people can get a glimpse into his mind, how he composes, and how he thinks about music in general. I tried my best to show Aleem’s world as it is in his terms, which is a great place to be.

Feel Alright

Craig Fahner and Brady Kirchner have been mainstays in my life since I was 14 years old. Although I wouldn’t tell them myself for fear of embarrassment. Back then, Calgary’s all-ages scene was blossoming with bands like SIDS and The Pants Situation. But what came from those days has been truly remarkable. Feel Alright is a testament to sticking to it. Craig Fahner has amassed an incredible crew of talent, and I think it shows. When we were shooting, Craig’s intensive amount of equipment and musical knowledge was overwhelming. He truly lives and breathes music. Seeing him in his element, whipping off a beautiful whirl of melodies on his Wurlitzer was almost nothing to him. And when Craig and Brady come together to sing, I think you can really see their long lasting musical influences inform one another.

And the songwriting! It became clear to me that Craig is a master songwriter. His influences are very well integrated, and his execution is flawless.