With the spectre of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) looming over the horizon, young Canadian filmmaker Robert Gulassarian has secured the support of another high profile member of the industry – award-winning producer/director/cinematographer Henry Less.
“We met just a short time ago and I love his work and his sensibility,” said Less. “I saw his first feature Rearview and at present I’m reading two of his scripts. One of them, American Dream, deals with a lot of subject matter like the Russian mob, a Columbia cartel and a young American who feels his dream is dying.
“With Rearview, he was clearly a one-man show, being the writer, director, editor and cinematographer. I’m working on two films right now – one a comedy and the other a comedy-horror – and I want to get him involved, while getting to know him better. I have a number of considerations about which areas, even possibly the social media aspect of my work, but I need to get a better sense of what would be a good fit for him.”
Less is primarily known for his TV work like Boundless, The Wilkinsons, and the multi-award winning From Spain with Love: With Annie Sibonney, which won Less best director laurels for a Lifestyle/Practical Information Program and Three Chords From The Truth. He has picked up numerous accolades along the way, including a 2013 Canadian Screen Award, the Donald Brittain Award for Best Social/Political Documentary program About Her (2009) and a Gemini for best photography in an information program or series Made to Order (for the episode Dim Sum).
“It’s very exciting to have Henry interested in me and willing to get involved in my work,” said Gulassarian. “He’s a very well respected member of the film industry, so his input, advice and assistance would be valuable assets.”
At present he is putting in long hours with his enthusiastic mentor, actor/director Nick Mancuso (Ticket to Heaven, Real Gangsters) working on the completion of his second feature Born Dead, a stark part reality/part illusionary look at street life in Toronto starring Mancuso, Lazar Rockwood (Bag The Wolf), numerous street people, along with cameo appearances from notable Canadian actors like Sean McCann, Tony Rosato, and Geza Kovacs
“I am trying to focus on getting the most exposure possible for Born Dead because I feel it truly tackles issues that never get addressed by Canadian cinema,” he said. “This is about real street people; the derelicts, alcoholics and addicts mixed into our society who get shunned and ignored as millions of tax dollars vanish into the pockets of an elitist few.”
In addition to several other of his scripts that are being looked at by studios and interested filmmakers, Gulassarian spoke to Jasmine Glass, the editor-in-chief of Glassbook magazine and, as a result of their talks, is shooting a couple of fashion videos for Fashion Week this month.
“This young man has talent and the real potential to enjoy a long career in the business,” said Less. “We will definitely be working together.”
As for his chances of making it to TIFF 2014, Gulassarian said, “I’ll do the best I can, keep working hard and see what happens. I like the challenge.”