Q & A with Christopher Rohde, Dir. of The Mirror Mountain Film Festival
Mirror Mountain is a filmmaker’s film festival. Christopher Rohde, filmmaker, founder and director of Mirror Mountain discovered a need for film festivals that catered to the filmmakers needs and the festival was born. In fact, every filmmaker that applies, regardless if they get in, gets a free pass to the entire festival. Rohde came up with the name for Mirror Mountain, from Queen’s song Ogre Battle and AudNews has spoken with him to find out more about his festival in Canada’s capital City.
What is the story behind Mirror Mountain?
Rohde: I’ve been a filmmaker for a long time and I have had a lot of experience applying to film festivals over the years. As I’m sure a lot of filmmakers know, it can be a frustrating experience – submission fees are sometimes very high, you often aren’t contacted to let you know if you’ve been selected or not, and even if you are selected, you don’t typically get your submission fee back. You’re also never sure what the quality of the projection will be, or if they’ll play your film in the right aspect ratio or in a good resolution. So I started Mirror Mountain based on a philosophy of doing it from a filmmaker’s perspective, including everything I would like to see myself.
What jumpstarted the creation of the festival?
Rohde: For a film festival, Mirror Mountain is still in its infancy, but the idea had been percolating in the back of my mind for a long time. What finally made it click was finding the right name. I was watching Live at the Rainbow, a concert film by my favorite band, Queen, and the song “Ogre Battle” came on, which goes: “The ogre men are still inside / the two-way mirror mountain.” I was really struck by the idea of a “mirror mountain” – it brings to mind an epic, monumental destination, but one that also reflects the viewer back at themselves, and reflects its own surroundings.
What is unique and exciting about Mirror Mountain?
Rohde: We have a lot of features and perks for filmmakers that aren’t typical for a film festival. For one, every filmmaker that applies, regardless of whether or not their film is accepted, gets a free pass to attend the entire festival. We’re also very inclusive, and we welcome not only all types of films but also films from all types of people, including but not limited to LGBTQ, two-spirited, pansexual, and intersex filmmakers, indigenous, aboriginal and First Nations filmmakers, disabled and differently abled filmmakers, and diasporic, immigrant and transcultural filmmakers.
Why does Mirror Mountain support Indigenous filmmaking in Canada and around the globe?
Rohde: There is a strong need for more diverse voices in the cultural landscape of cinema, and for more marginalized and under-represented communities to be involved. Mirror Mountain is dedicated to creating a space where those stories can be shared.
What films or festivals inspired you to get involved with film festivals?
Rohde: I am continually inspired by many different film festivals that show great community spirit and respect the hard work it takes to create an independent film all on your own. Some of the best I’ve noticed are WNDX in Winnipeg, Media City in Windsor, and Asinabka here in Ottawa.
What is the most fulfilling part of working with Mirror Mountain?
Rohde: Seeing so many unique visions from filmmakers from around the world with distinct voices and stories to tell. It’s humbling to witness so many dedicated people out there sharing their art, and I’m grateful that I get to see even a small fraction of them.
Is there anything else you would like our audience to know about your festival?
Rohde: We want to see your work! Our earlybird submission deadline is in effect until January 31st 2015 and it’s easy to apply using one of our official submission platforms. Check out our website for more details.
If you’re a filmmaker and would like to submit to Mirror Mountain, check out their submissions page. For more information on the festival, occurring early this December, visit MirrorMountainFilmFestival.com.