I had the opportunity to chat with Deragh Campbell about her upcoming films, Anne at 13,000 Ft. and Please Speak Continuously and Describe Your Experiences as They Come to You, screening at the Toronto International Film Festival. Campbell has been part of the world of showbusiness since a very young age and this shows in the tremendous amount of diverse work she has done. Check out what she had to say about her TIFF features as well as some other amazing moments from in front of and behind the camera.
Can you tell our readers a little about yourself?
For our purposes, I’m an actor living in Toronto. I’ve had a lucky experience with acting, often getting to engage with directors from an early stage in the project’s development and working on small sets. It’s made for diverse experiences and, I think, very interesting films!
You will be appearing in Anne at 13,000 Ft as the title character, could you discuss the film and your role in it?
The film is about a young woman who can’t handle the stresses of every day life in the ways that a lot of people can. She has a lust for life so she can’t help but seek out experiences but these destabilize her and lead her to unravel. The film is improvised and shot out of sequence over a long period of time so it involved reacting to the different scenarios I was placed in.
The feature is also being presented in the Platform Program at the Toronto International Film Festival this year, what does this mean for the project?
I am very happy to be at TIFF and especially to be in Platform – I think it shows how some smaller-scale Canadian films are engaging with international cinema.
This is not the only starring role you have at TIFF this year, could you discuss Please Speak Continuously and Describe Your Experiences as They Come to You and your role?
That project was a very different beast! It involved reciting these wild monologues that Brandon Cronenberg wrote where metaphors turn into existential traps and the character moves through these horrors as she describes them. I really loved engaging with the text.
You have appeared in a number of features, could you discuss some of those as well?
As I’ve said, I’ve been lucky – though I think some of that luck comes from being uncomfortable in a more traditional auditioning context and looking for alternatives, namely participating in a filmmaking community. I have worked a lot in hybrid documentary-fiction environments with a combination of other actors and people with real-life experience of the subjects we’re portraying. For instance, in Sofia Bohdanowicz’s first feature Never Eat Alone I interact with her grandmother in an exploration of her family history and in Antoine Bourge’s Fail to Appear I play a social worker and engage with real social workers and their clients in the mental health community. I’ve also developed characters with directors (similar to how we made Anne) such as in Nathan Silver’s Stinking Heaven where, along with actor Keith Poulson, we created this cult-leader couple as well as the rules of their cult. I’ve also worked with regular scripts, honest!
I saw you had also co-directed a feature with Sofia Bohdanowicz, what was that experience like?
It was the most positive experience – Sofia and I have a terrific working dynamic. We totally trust each other so we can make decisions from both in front of and behind the camera. There is no ego between us; in writing, on set and in editing we are totally willing (and excited) to defer to the other person’s idea. Getting to be in dialogue with her brilliant brain really stimulates me.
Do you have any additional projects you’d like to discuss?
Yes, I’ll be acting in the new feature by Winston DeGiobbi on a script that I worked on as script-editor as well. He is a really brilliant writer with a devastating understanding of the human heart! I’m really excited to play this character and inhabit the world he’s portraying.
Where can our readers keep up with you and your work online?
I am on Instagram (@deraghcampbell) and I always post about any upcoming screenings at festivals, in theatres or on streaming platforms –work I’m involved in as well as other people’s work that I’m excited about!