Your new movie Shoot
to Marry - in a few words, what is it about? And what were your
inspirations for making it?
to Marry is a documentary about my search to find love again after
a bad break-up. It was actually a failed marriage proposal, which
left me broken and full of questions. After crying on the couch for a
few months I decided to put my pain into a doc. I grabbed my
camera and started interviewing people about relationships. I
interviewed my parents, my therapist, my rabbi. Eventually I
started focusing my interviews on women. The idea was to learn about
women and relationships from women, and also I was hoping along the
way I might click with one of the woman and find love again.
to Marry, what did you personally learn about dating,
relationships, and love?
I was reminded how important it is to be yourself. Which seems
obvious. But itís not always easy. On a first date we want to put
on the most charming, most impressive version of ourselves. The problem
is, eventually the real you is going to surface - and you donít
want your partner to be disappointed when they meet the real you. So if
youíre on a first date - be yourself. Be vulnerable, be stupid, be
crazy - be whoever you are. If the person youíre with doesnít
like you for who you are - screw Ďem.
Since you are front and center
in Shoot to Marry,
did that at all make you feel exposed or the like?
Being vulnerable and authentic is something Iíve worked on over the
years. At a certain point in life you realize that putting on an act for
people - pretending to be something youíre not - is actually
exhausting. So when I decided to document my search for love I knew
that for the film to work I had to be real and expose my insecurities,
and I was comfortable with that.
for a documentary, Shoot
to Marry is actually pretty funny - so do talk about your movie's
brand of humour for a bit!
My brand of humor is very Jewish and self-deprecating. Iíd rather make
fun of myself than other people. I put humor into everything I do.
Especially if Iím feeling uncomfortable with someone. I think
humor is a great way to diffuse an awkward situation. Humor is sort of a
defense mechanism - itís a more palatable way to deal with the painful
realities of love, life and death.
Are there any stories that
didn't make it into Shoot
to Marry that you'd like to share?
There were women I filmed with who didnít end up in the doc -
I filmed with a female rabbi, a female butcher, a psychic - they were
all interesting but you have to cut people because Iím
compressing a year of my life into a ninety-minute film. And Iím
trying to hit certain emotional beats. And pace the film. A huge part of
editing a documentary is taking stuff out. You take out a lot more
than you leave in.
What can you
tell us about your overall directorial approach to your story at hand?
I shot everything from my point of view. In the filmed conversations the
women are looking directly into the camera which creates a very intimate
feel. Iím pretty much inviting audiences into my head for ninety
minutes. Iím not sure they want to be there - but itís where I put
how did you get all these people to appear in your documentary, and were
there any who turned down being in the movie?
I reached out to a lot of interesting women, mostly direct messaging on
Facebook or emailing. At some point I would mention my first
documentary so they could look that up and see that I'm a legitimate
filmmaker. Finding women to say yes meant reaching out to dozens of
women who said no. Most women didnít respond at all. It was a lot of
work and at a certain point I brought on a few researchers to help
me find the women. I would give the researchers a long list of
ideas. What if I filmed with a female firefighter? A dominatrix? Then
the researchers would go off and try to find these people.
you tell us about the shoot(s) as such?
For the most part I worked alone. I was a virtual one-person crew, which
was challenging. I was looking for love and setting audio levels at the
same time. There were practical reasons for working alone. It meant
I didnít have a crew to pay, and I didnít have to work around anyone
elseís schedule. But more importantly, filming without a crew created
intimacy. I wanted to record authentic one-on-one conversations. I
wanted to capture the awkwardness of two people meeting for the
first time. That would have been impossible with a crew in the room.
The $64 question
of course, where can Shoot
to Marry be seen?
The doc had its world premiere at Slamdance, and now Iím getting
offers to screen at other major festivals. And Iíve been approached by
a few distribution companies. Iím not sure yet whoís going to
acquire the doc but Iím confident it will land somewhere. The best way
for people to get updates is to follow me on social media. Iím on
Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and thereís a Facebook page for the
doc. Thereís also a website,
Anything you can tell us about
audience and critical reception of Shoot
to Marry yet?
I was thrilled to win the Audience Award at Slamdance. Filmgoers loved
the doc. Critics too. The general consensus is that people find the film
both hilarious and moving. I think people relate to the themes of
heartache and loneliness, and the search to find love. Itís been very
rewarding to see people connecting with the film, and being entertained
by my story.
Any future projects you'd like to
Next up, Iíd like to make a documentary or a docu-series that
continues where Shoot
leaves off. Iím still full of questions
As far as I know, you've started out as (and
still are to my knowledge) a comic - so what can you tell us about
that aspect of your career, and your style of comedy?
No, I didnít start out as a comic, and itís not something Iím doing
now. I did stand-up briefly for about a year. Worked at clubs like the
Hollywood Improv in LA and Yuk Yuks in Toronto where I live. I enjoyed
stand-up comedy, but decided to focus on filmmaking. I didnít love the
comedy club scene - staying up till two in the morning to get five
minutes of stage time. I like to go to bed early. With filmmaking I can
get up early, spend the day filming and be in bed by ten.
made you branch out into filmmaking eventually?
Iíve been making films since I was ten. I used to make animated films
with my dadís Super 8. My older brother was into filmmaking and he
showed me how to bring plasticine figures to life by exposing the film
one frame at a time. I had the patience for it. Then in high school I
saved up money from a part-time job in the food court at Thornhill
Square and bought a camcorder. I spent my high school years making short
videos with my friends. We called them Markle Movies - as if I was
running my own movie studio from the suburbs of Toronto.
you tell us about your filmwork prior to Shoot
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
My first documentary was Camp Hollywood. I shot that while I was living
at a seedy apartment complex in Hollywood and giving stand-up comedy a
try. The doc is about the community of struggling artists who were also
living at this fleabag - actors, musicians, comics as well as strippers
and porn stars. That doc was very successful. It won the Gemini Award
for best documentary, which is basically the Canadian Emmy. It premiered
on the Sundance Channel and was also broadcast on IFC and
Bravo and the
CBC in Canada. Currently Camp Hollywood is streaming on Amazon
Filmmakers, actors, comedians, whoever
else who inspire you?
Recent films Iíve loved are Jojo Rabbit and Noah Baumbachís
Marriage Story. Adam Driver singing Sondheim brought me to tears. I love
stand-up comedy. Chris Rock, Ellen DeGeneres, Dave Chapelle, I love
reading books by comics, Steve Martinís Born Standing Up, Sarah
Silvermanís Bedwetter, Howard Sternís recent book. And some of
my favorite docs are about comedians. A Piece of Work is a great doc
about Joan Rivers, Comedian is a great doc about Jerry Seinfeld,
both docs are very inspiring.
Your favourite movies?
Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Rushmore, Boogie
Nights, Election, Rain Man, Tootsie, Ordinary
People, Die Hard, ET, Elf, Rocky, Inside
Out, Bridesmaids, Get Out.
and of course, films you really deplore?
Jaws 3D was disappointing.
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
Facebook & Instagram: @stevemarkle
for the interview!