Beaconsfield's Marc Wiltshire will earn his place in the spotlight, debuting his 12.5-minute film ‘My Avatar' at the Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal on Aug 7. Wiltshire has long held a passion for filmmaking and is currently studying at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts in Singapore. While creating his mixed media film, he was selected to receive mentoring from prestigious Hollywood director Oliver Stone, the artistic director of the school.
‘My Avatar' is a film that studies the line between virtual adultery and real life adultery. Wiltshire got the idea from a newspaper article he read about a similar situation.
"I read a newspaper article about two years about a married couple who had met in Second Life - the virtual world," he told The Chronicle. "They got married in the game and then they met and got married in real life. Over the course of their marriage at one point, the man started an affair with another avatar in Second Life. It was sort of this mixed bag of what is considered adultery. I found it such a fascinating subject - where is the line drawn? I was inspired by that and I had to write about it."
My Avatar is not to be confused with the James Cameron film of 2010 Avatar but it does share some similarities. Both movies offer viewers a glimpse into the real world as well as the world of Machinima - 3D computer graphics. Wiltshire connected with Cisko Vandeverre - one of the moderators for the Machinima Artist Guild - to create the avatars of the lead characters in Second Life. He also sat down with Oliver Stone to receive some help.
"When this film was in its very infantile state - the rough cut - I got to work with (Stone) on how to form the final outcome," said Wiltshire. "It was very intimidating. This is somebody who has made 20 movies and he is not going to be soft on anybody.
"I admire him," he continued. "It was definitely a great learning curve to work with him. He was very blunt about what was not working. He's got a real keen eye for acting and actors and was able to help me with that."
Wiltshire completed his film and while applying for several festivals, he added Fantasia to the mix. He was happy to hear his film had been accepted.
"I love the festival and I've been going to it for a number of years," he said. "I applied and it was meaningful for me to have the premiere in Montreal. This is my home and it's wonderful to be able to share my movie with my friends and my fellow residents; this is where it belongs."
While Wiltshire admits making movies is not exactly lucrative unless you make it big, he has a passion he doesn't want to give up. His next step? He will be filming his thesis film to complete his studies in northern Vietnam. He plans to one day return to Montreal.
"Making movies is what I love to do. If I can afford to do that, that would be great," he said. "Otherwise, I'd love to work in commercials and music videos. Short form content is interesting because I can do a lot of it."
His film debuts on Aug. 7 at Concordia University's Hall Theatre at 3:15 p.m. For more information on tickets and other films playing, visit the Fantasia website.