Idolum: A Dramatic Canadian Short Film About the Pandemic

A lonely man in quarantine must live with his conflicts. Thommy Morais is a talented emerging Canadian filmmaker who has shot a great cinematic short film which takes the audience through an artistic and a painful journey of love, lonliness, isolation, alienation, and fear amid the pandemic. The short film has premiered in various film festivals in the past few months and it has been recognized as a great dramatic short film about the pandemic. It was our pleasure to interview Thommy regarding his work as a filmmaker.

How did you start making films and what was the first film project you worked on?

Since I was very young I had the passion to make movies. In school, instead of doing oral presentations, I would film them and turn them into some kind of movie or commercial. My first professional job on set was in 2011 on a bigger budget short film that I found on Kijiji. Since then I started gripping and then became a Dolly grip to learn more about camera and work closer to directors. That also permitted me to have a creative input on the shots. I slowly started producing and directing my own stuff and now I sure feel closer to my dream. The ultimate goal is the Academy Award!


What genre of filmmaking are you looking to work on and why?

I like drama, thriller and action. I like something with a big twist at the end. Having the emotions bring you up and down to get you on a journey of happiness or madness or sadness or anything the movie is suppose to make you feel. I want people to watch and just be speechless of what they see.

What is the most challenging aspect of being an independent filmmaker in Canada?

It’s very hard to be seen as a legitimate director. So many people want to be one while only a few are actually good. Its hard to get someone to trust you for the job when the light isn’t actually shining on you. The exposure is very important but sometimes without the money to make your own movies you don’t get it. Low budget movies can be great but to make something beautiful you need a good cast and crew which doesn’t come free.


How challenging is it to fund indie films?

It is extremely challenging. A lot of grants are in place to help but they are very competitive and hard to get. It’s also a scary place for private investors to trust a new or up and coming director/producer to make the movie successful and profitable.


Please name three of your most favorite directors. How have they been influential in your work?

My favourite director is Michael Bay. Just like him, I love my “toys”, doing big movements, playing with cranes, drones, dollies, car mount, etc... I love being creative and come up with new ways to film and make every shot as epic as possible.

Following him, I have David Fincher. Complete different style. But I love how steady he’s been. Every shot has a meaning. As much as I like my camera movements, I want them to make sense and not just do it because I can. Fincher is really good at that. I also ,like him, hate the handheld feeling.

Third, I would have to go with Tarantino for his way of creating characters and their arcs trough-out the movie. He knows every details about them. What were their first job , first kiss, who their parents were. His backgrounds on his characters are just out of this world and that’s why it always works so well. Even if we don’t see it on screen, he knows it, and it affects the way the actors acts and feel. In an amazing way.


What is your next film project and what are you currently working on?

I’d love to make a bigger jump for bigger movies, finding an agent or producer who could get me those interviews and opportunities would be ideal. But meanwhile, I am trying to find a distributor for my documentary Historias con Pulgas that I filmed in Chile. I was also recently hired to direct a movie (Only child) for actress Nicole Kang(Batwoman, Ten Minutes to Midnight, Jack and Jane, You...). In the near future, I’d love to get enough money to film one of my own scripts so I can join the likes of my idols.


What inspired you to work on Idolum?

When covid-19 happened and everything got shut down. Vancouver came out with a small film festival that could only include 5 people in the making of the movie. So 5 of us sat down, wrote a script in a few hours and shot it in 2 days with the equipment we each had at home.


How did you finalize the cast and the crew of the film and what is it like to act and direct the film at the same time?

Since we were limited on the amount of people, we just shot and wrote around what and who was available. I was basically coming up with crazy cool ideas and we used the available equipment to make it work. All thanks to my friend and Director of Photography Matt Young.


What is the distribution plan of the film and did the film receive any screenings or was it featured in festivals?

We didn’t really expect anything from Idolum, we filmed it for fun and because it was relevant to the time we live in now. But after our first festival, I kept getting asked by others festivals if they could put our movie in their festival which eventually led to Best Canadian Short. Seeing the attention the movie is getting, maybe it could turn into a feature where we could have a real budget and better equipment.


Why do you make films and what kind of impact would your work have on the world?

I am very passionated about making movies. I care and love making a project that will make you feel a certain way. If it’s making you laugh, cry or even gives you crazy anxiety, that’s what I’m all about. I want to share emotions trough characters you will love or hate, stories you believe in and epic shots that makes you go WOW!