My Dead Dad’s Porno Tapes: Interview with Director Charlie Tyrell

28th May 2019 by Will Stewart

Was my father’s leftover stuff the key to who he really was?

We were lucky enough to be able to track down director Charlie Tyrell and ask him a few questions about My Dead Dad’s Porno Tapes. If you’d like to see your film on MadeGood.tv, then please feel free to make a submission.

MadeGood – Please introduce yourself as a film maker, and tell me how you got into film making. Is My Dead Dad’s Porno Tapes a typical example of your work?

Charlie – Hi! I’m a filmmaker based out of Toronto, Canada and My Dead Dad’s Porno Tapes is somewhat a typical example of my work. Typical that it blends live action and archival footage with animation, but atypical because I’m not one to make a personal film about myself until now. I didn’t really get into filmmaking until I moved to Toronto for film school. It was there that I first had the chance to work with collaborators that had a shared interest in film (I still work with some of them to this day) and had the chance to use proper equipment.

My Dead Dad’s Porno Tapes_BTS Still 003 | MadeGood.films

MadeGood – Obviously this was a very personal film for you to make. Was it something you felt you wanted to make ever since your father died, or did the idea come about some other way?

Charlie – It kind of evolved naturally since his passing. I had a whole mix of unresolved feelings towards him and over the years it felt natural to use film language to articulate those feelings. The initial idea was probably cooked in by my mom because when my dad passed away she told me to “use it”. And by that I think she meant to use the experience and put that perspective into my work. Looking back now, it was a pretty steady direction for a new widow to give her son.

My Dead Dad’s Porno Tapes_BTS Still 001 | MadeGood.films

MadeGood – There are a lot of executive producers involved in this film- please tell me a bit about the process of getting it made. Were there a lot of funds to raise?

Charlie – We received a grant from (the now defunct) BravoFACTUAL program with Bell Media. I think we were actually one of the last documentaries to make it through the program. But the EPs had a wide range of varied involvement. And most of them are people that I’ve worked with previously. This project attracted a really good team of people and everyone had something great, whether it was a skill or personal insight, to bring to the film and it shows in the final product.

MadeGood – Obviously a bit part of this film is the stop motion animation, and it’s really fantastic. What was your working process with the animators like? Did you entrust them with your vision, or was it more collaborative than that?

Charlie – I basically only set up some simple parameters like limiting the animation to objects that belonged to my dad or knowing that I wanted to feature certain items for certain moments. But animation all comes down to the movement and rhythm and it was Martha Grant who steered that part of the animation. Martha had just moved to Toronto from working at Laika in Portland and we spent a very cold two weeks in my studio on all of the stop motion. Some setups were pretty simple but quite a few were very difficult – including the giant image of my dad’s face which was actually about ten feet by twenty feet.

My Dead Dad’s Porno Tapes_BTS Still 002 | MadeGood.films

MadeGood – What are you working on next?

Charlie – I’m just finishing up a new documentary short! Apart from that, I’m in early development on adapting a book by Michael DeForge into a a feature film script.

MadeGood – Nice one Charlie! Can’t wait to see that next short when it’s done, remember to send it over. And good luck on adapting your script.

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Director - Charlie Tyrell
DOP - Chet Tilokani

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