In this exclusive interview, writer/director/producer Philip Spink talks about sci fi TV and films, coming home and filming The Godchild.
Philip Spink is recognized in the North American film industry as a skilled commercial director, as well as for his work on action miniseries and TV fantasy movies such as Voyage of a Unicorn. He is the screenwriter, film director and film producer of The Godchild.
This indie sci fi fantasy film hit theatres on October 9, 2010, his latest work. It explores the space time continuum through one unique boy's journey in search for a lost loved one and universal truths. Independent film director Philip Spink chatted with me when I worked with Suite 101 prior to film’s premiere.
Philip Spink, Leading Canadian Commercial Director
Philip Spink grew up in Edmonton, Alberta. He began his professional career as a classically-trained artist and illustrator. In the 1990’s, Spink relocated to Vancouver, BC and began working in the film industry, working on commercials. Gradually, he gravitated towards film making.
Spink directed various TV series and movies, including KidZone and Ronnie & Julie (1997). The latter work garnered actress Alexandra Purvis a Young Artist Award nomination for Best Performance in the young actress category.
Spink’s Journey From Commercials to Award-Winning Sci Fi TV
“The genre draws me in,” said Spink of science fiction fantasy. “It takes you to another place.”
Not surprisingly, Spink debuted as a screenwriter/film director with a fantasy film. Once in a Blue Moon (1995). The production earned a Genie nomination for costume design and won a Leo Award for Best Musical Score.
In 2009, Spink directed Knights of Bloodsteel, a fantasy TV miniseries for RHI Entertainment that featured Christopher Lloyd. Some of his other TV series and miniseries have appeared on Showtime TV, Spike TV and the Sy Fy Channel.
Spink earned international recognition with the Hallmark Channel TV miniseries Voyage of the Unicorn (2001), which starred Beau Bridges (Stargate SG-1, The District), Chantal Conlin (Tru Calling, Life as We Know It) and Heather McEwen (Young Blades, The Baby Dance). Voyage garnered numerous awards and nominations, including a Gemini for Best Special Effects and a Leo Award for Feature Length Drama: Best Cinematography, Feature Length Drama. It also earned a Primetime Emmy nomination.
Spink Returns to Alberta
After living on the west coast for over 10 years, Philip Spink returned to Alberta, settling down in Calgary. “I have kids and wanted them to be close to relatives,” he explained.
The move didn’t hamper his work, fortunately. “As a director, it doesn’t matter where you live,” he said.
However, Spink wanted to produce something in Alberta. “I really wanted to work where I lived. I really wanted to get a project of my own off the ground; so I tried to design a project that I could do here with local actors.” This project was The Godchild.
Local Talent and Low Budget can Equal High Quality Film
Philip Spink’s goals in making The Godchild. were three-fold: to develop a high quality movie with a low to mid-range budget, to use local talent and to make it an independent film. Pitching films to networks can be challenging at times, which prompted the decision to work outside the system.
“It’s very difficult to do something unique and original because you have to go through so many hoops,” he explained. Teen comedies and westerns are much easier to sell to networks. As an independent film production, Spink was unencumbered by pressures and politics of network or film production companies.
(In Part 2 of this exclusive interview with film director and producer Philip Spink, he talks about the cast, music and production model of his latest work, The Godchild. This sci fi fantasy film premiered in Calgary on October 9, 2010 and was by me on my Stumbling Still Blog.
Originally published October 16, 2010 on Suite 101. Updated March 22, 2013. All rights reserved by Rhona-Mae Arca.