Lior is a short film project about an elderly man who lives alone and is recovering from a stroke. It requires a great amount of energy for him to walk, and he finds it extreme difficulty in completing everyday tasks. He has lost his sense of autonomy. One day, he approaches his at-home-care doctor with the possibility of an assisted death. He is frustrated when he finds out how long the process takes and decides to take matters into his own hands. Lior was recently an official selection of MIFF and competed in the short film category.
Scott Glassman is the director of Lior. He was born on June 10, 1997, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He is a writer, director, and producer, and has worked on films such as There's Nothing You Can Do (2021), The Maids Will Come on Monday (2019), and The Final Act of Joey Jumbler (2018). It is our pleasure to interview him about the making of his film and his work as a filmmaker.
What makes you fascinated with the cinematic language and what was the first film project you worked on?
What fascinates me about the cinematic language is that it is a vehicle by which I access stories, emotions, perspectives, and thoughts that I otherwise would never have access to. Communication from one peoples to another, from one time to another, from one space to another. I'm motivated every day by how I can turn perspective into something tangible, palpable for an audience. The first film project I worked on was a high-school project where my friend and I made a horror film about a boy getting a haircut.
Please tell us how Lior came to life and let us know about the process from pre-production to completion.
I was inspired to write the screenplay for Lior when I found out that my grandfather had requested an assisted death. At the time, I was waiting for a production company to produce another short filmI that I had written, and after a year or so of not gaining any traction with the company, I got frustrated and decided I would produce my own film. I had written a first draft of the script, and felt like something was missing, a clinical understanding. So, I called hospitals around Montreal until I finally got in touch with a doctor who administers at-home assisted deaths. The doctor, on which Genvieve is based, was nice enough to have coffee with me and allow me to interview her for about an hour and a half, informing me about the process of assisted death and of her personal experience with patients. Thereafter I finished the screenplay, I frantically messaged everyone I knew in the Montreal cinema scene, and within two days I had already hired my crew, cast both actors, and found my location.
What was the most challenging aspect of working on Lior?
I think the most challenging aspect of working on Lior was the pre-production. I was a first-time producer and naively gave myself only a month and a half for pre-production and had not determined my budget. This left me scrambling, not having enough time to coordinate logistics and approach tasks such as shot lists with as much clarity as I would've liked. Thankfully, I was able to hire Meera Nehme as a producer and she did a wonderful job calming the pre-production waters. In the end, we didn't have any logistical, permit, or technical issues, but that month and a half of pre-production was the most stress I have ever felt in my life.
What is your next film project and what are you currently working on?
My next film project is A Night With Lucas and Silvia, a short film that explores consent by following the two titular characters on their third date.
What is the most creative part of directing a project for you?
The most creative parts of directing a project for me are the writing stage and the collaboration process. I think writing is a very sacred process that is pure in its isolation. It's only you and the work (and whoever you beg to help you go through re-drafting), but I find there is something very creative about having an unfiltered experience with a work, a screenplay, that you are solely creating. Conversely, I have found collaborating with my colleagues, specifically my cinematographer, Antoine Doan, and my actors, Burney Lieberman, and Andree Lortie, to be very creative. Not to take away from what I said about the process of writing, but the screenplay is only a blueprint once the shoot starts. My conversations with Antoine lead to us finding beautiful shots that were not present in the script, and my conversations during rehearsals with Burney and Andree lead to fleshing out the characters and establishing dynamics and nuances that the script only touched the surface of.
Does the language of cinema stand out more than other arts to you? And why?
The language of cinema certainly stands out to me more than other arts, as it is all of them presented in one. It is poetry. It is sound. It is image. It is performance. I think, for me, cinema is the closest I can get to experiencing another life. That's not to trivialize people's lived experiences, as you can never fully replicate them, but through cinema, I believe I have, in some ways, experienced emotions, thoughts, and perspectives, of people and characters I otherwise would have never had access to in real life. Or for that matter, through other arts.
Why do you make films?
If I'm being honest, I make films as a form of self-exploration and self-acceptance. I usually write films that have a 'social' angle to them, as seen in Lior, and I genuinely hope to give a voice to stories that I believe can help either raise awareness or questions about important issues. But at the end of the day, all of my subject matter comes from self-reflection, wanting to better myself, admitting my faults, forgiving myself, and appreciating those in my life.