Tanner, a passionate and single-minded mandolin player in a multi-instrumental folk band, struggles to drag his bandmates towards productivity and relevance at the risk of his own personal estrangement.
But, after a disconcerting conversation with a famed singer-songwriter, Tanner takes a moment to pause and appreciate what he already has.
Writer/director/producer: Brendan Prost
My mom recently mentioned to me that she wished I’d never got involved in the whole movie business. To her, the palpable and seemingly perpetual unhappiness of her son could best be ascribed to a dogged and myopic pursuit of a successful filmmaking practise.
Although at the time I dismissed the notion quickly, now that I have completed my undergraduate degree and screened my third feature film across Canada – and remain mostly the same unhappy person that I was four years ago – I have been re-evaluating the validity of her thesis a great deal.
I’ve been thinking that I do a lot of living for the future because I’m largely unsatisfied by the present. I work hard, but I don’t enjoy my hard work.
I’m someone who invests everything they have in the future and the potential of what is still to come. I’m a person who does most of their living in anticipation of another day. This idea is increasingly terrifying to me.
In reaction to that growing fear, Getting There is a film about interrogating one of the fundamental assumptions I’ve made in deciding to live my life the way I have, and of my various conceptions of happiness, success and satisfaction.
Basically I’m concerned that I’ve invested so much in something under the unproven assumption that my efforts at self-expression will one day make me happy. What if they don’t? What if I get there one day and still feel as lonely as I do now? What will have been the point of all this struggle, stress and anxiety if the desired ends ultimately turn out to mean nothing to me?
What will I have left in my life if filmmaking reveals itself to be without reward? Should I continue to invest my life in this pursuit without knowing that it will one day pay off?
This emotional experience of having the seed of doubt planted in the most concrete of all my conceptions about life is what I’m interested in expressing with this movie.
The main character in Getting There, Tanner, is forced to confront a different potential vision for his future than what he always imagined it to be. During an interview with someone he idolizes – a potential future self – he looks up expecting to see a man enlivened by the love he receives from an adoring audience but instead sees a sad and cynical man with seemingly nothing to live for.
For this idol, Mark Talon, success has meant nothing. He reaps no emotional reward for years of hard work touring, recording and putting himself out there. Mark, having achieved what Tanner hopes to achieve, has found it empty.
The implications of this revelation for Tanner are probably obvious. How does he continue forward with this newfound doubt? Does he continue at all? And not only does he have to re-evaluate the way forward, he has to reconsider the way he lives now.
In his pursuit of ‘getting there’ he’s pushed so many other things aside. The warmth of an intimate relationship and the joys of collaborating with friends to create music have been lost on Tanner in his tenacious pursuit of success. Are these things that need to be reclaimed?
I share with Tanner this humbling life moment of doubt and re-evaluation. For both of us, no longer is the way forward clear and no longer are our priorities so obvious.
Getting There is a movie about having the carpet pulled out from under you just when you’d convinced yourself it was firmly affixed to the floor. It’s about reminding yourself that the things you believe to be important, the things you believe matter in life, really are just that – beliefs. You may think you’ve discovered the way forward, but you never really know for sure.
About Brendan Prost
Brendan Prost is a DIY filmmaker and a recent graduate of Simon Fraser University.
He is best known as the ambitious and unabashedly personal young auteur behind three feature films, Choch (“one of the intriguing and involving low-budget indies to cross my desk in 2011” – The Independent Critic), Generation Why (Rising Star Award Winner at the Canada International Film Festival – 2010), and Spaces and Reservations which screened across Canada in spring 2014.
Brendan’s directing credits also include a diverse set of short films in a variety of formats, including most recently an improvised act of self-interrogation entitled Best Friends For Life (Montreal World Film Festival) and his SFU grad film Getting There (Calgary International Film Festival).
Originally from Calgary, Brendan relocated to Vancouver where he has continued to pursue his interest in performance-intensive, personal-narrative filmmaking while working odd jobs and collaborating with peers in myriad ways.
Brendan is currently in post-production on his new feature film Sensitive Parts.