Evan Goldberg has big ideas for emerging filmmakers… and a series of wild Canadian R-rated cartoons too

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Writer, producer and director Evan Goldberg aims to give back to the Canadian film community through Future of Film Showcase.

Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images for SXSW

Vancouver’s Evan Goldberg is the greatest Hollywood hit you’ve never heard of. Unless you pay a lot of attention to the credits, in which case you would know that the 38-year-old writer / producer / director is, alongside his comedic partner Seth Rogen, responsible for a hit movie series (Super bad, Pineapple Express, Sausage festival), TV shows (Preacher, The boys, Invincible) and documentaries (Console wars).

After appearing in nearly every other great studio comedy of the past decade, Goldberg aims to give back to the Canadian film community through Future of Film Showcase. The annual Short Film Festival and Professional Development Conference, now in its eighth year, will be available to stream for free on CBC Gem from July 9-22, and are presented by Reel Start, the charity Goldberg co-founded with educator Adrienne Slover in 2016. Prior to the launch of FOFS, Goldberg spoke with The Globe and Mail about the film industry in the US and Canada.

How did Reel Start take shape?

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As someone who grew up in Vancouver and has seen every movie and TV series made here – X files I always seemed to revolve around my high school – this activity gave me the idea that maybe I could make a movie too. Then Seth and I met and the rest is history. But after a few hit movies, I realized that there were other kids like me who didn’t even realize the opportunities they might have because they weren’t presented to them. So let’s make short films with kids and introduce them to the range of careers – not just acting or directing – that exist in the film industry. You can’t do a job you don’t know exists.

How do you see the current landscape of emerging Canadian filmmakers?

Goldberg directed the film This is the End alongside Seth Rogan.

Sony Pictures

I have the impression that Canada is still pushing its filmmakers in an impressive way. Usually there is the industry pushing it, but the real political forces in Canada push it forward as well. But I feel like it’s going to break through in a bigger way soon. Canada has been known as a great place to produce comedians, but there is also a wave of directors and producers to come. And the opportunities are multiplying: we have giant companies and studios setting up shop here.

Do you think that this new generation of Canadian filmmakers must however join forces with these Hollywood entities to move forward? Is there a solid future for Canadians who want to make Canadian films?

I’m not quite sure about the structure of Schitt Creek or Kim’s convenience, let’s say, but it now seems that groundbreaking Canadian productions are becoming something of a constant. Canadian producers are realizing that you can create a show like Schitt’s or Kim’s or Anne with an E and you can sell them to the rest of the world.

Do you think Canadian filmmakers would be well served to stay here, or should they take a page of you and Seth and head south?

It depends on what you are trying to do. Seth and I knew that our sensitivity was to do huge comedies in the theater. But if you’re trying to make a dramatic independent film that isn’t specifically designed to be a big money blockbuster, then Canada has an amazing system to help you out. There is an opportunity to do more things for the love of art. It also depends on the job. Now, the jobs below the line – not the director or the star – in Canada, there are so many opportunities. This is where jobs are heading in Canada, which represents a dramatic change over the past decade.

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You co-wrote the hockey comedy keep on going, but have you and Seth ever thought about making a truly Canadian movie?

Oh yes. We have a very Canadian TV show idea that we’re working on right now that we haven’t cracked yet, but we’re still playing with different things that are purely Canadian. The one I’m trying to make is an R-rated animated comedy series. We haven’t launched it yet, but it’s ultra-Canadian. I want to do this because there are so many Canadian comedians, and you could ask the funniest people on Earth to do a low engagement animated series.

The Future of Film Showcase runs July 9-22 on CBC Gem (fofs.ca)

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