Cronenberg brings 'Antiviral' home
Director Brandon Cronenberg speaks at the Telefilm Canada's Talent To Watch: Canadian Directors Industry Panel during the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival on September 7, 2012 in Toronto, Canada. (Alberto E. Rodriguez/AFP)
Brandon Cronenberg debuted his first feature film, the science fiction horror drama Antiviral, at the Cannes Film Festival in May. Then he got down to re-editing his opus before bringing it home to the Toronto International Film Festival.
"We hadn't really had time to step away from the film and see it again with fresh eyes," Cronenberg said at TIFF, just as he showed Toronto a new revised version with nearly six minutes of footage taken out. Antiviral is now streamlined, tighter, more fluid.
"It was a little nerve-wracking," Cronenberg admitted about his first experience at Cannes, although his filmmaker father, David Cronenberg, has had a long and rich relationship with Cannes. "It was very weird," Cronenberg the Younger said. "The thing about Cannes is that it is so far removed from my day-to-day life, obviously. So it's hard to reconcile."
The TIFF experience, with Antiviral as a special presentation, is entirely different. "Even more so than the category, just being at TIFF in any capacity is great. Partly because it is my home town and also because I do have a prior history with the festival." Cronenberg showed shorts there in the past, including his student film Broken Tulips, which was inspired by the Antiviral feature film script.
The editing of Antiviral was difficult. Cronenberg had to excise one of his favourite sequence of scenes. But it was necessary to keep up the pace of the film.
"It kept me up for weeks, even after I made the decision," he confessed. "I had horrible insomnia because it was agony to take that stuff out. But it's just that, at the end of the day, the new version is a better film.
"All that stuff, it's stuff that I really liked. But it's stuff that structurally was a problem because it was right at a point when the film was really picking up speed."