Interview: Hometown Advantage

Hometown Advantage
By Elizabeth Withey
Interview appears in The Edmonton Journal, 24 September, 2009.

Ex-city resident Heather Taylor brings two of her projects to Edmonton International Film Festival

When Heather Taylor won a travel company company competition to live in London, England for a year, she didn’t plan to become a Brit.

Then she fell in love. With the city, that is.

Everyone thinks it was a boy she fell for, “but it’s actually not,” says the Edmonton born filmmaker and writer, who attended Harry Ainlay High School and is now permanently based in the U. K. capital.

Since moving across the pond, Taylor, 32, has worked on more than 20 theatre and radio plays, numerous films as well as poetry collections and writing anthologies.

Two of her film projects are at the Edmonton International Film Festival, which begins today and runs until Oct. 3. Taylor co-wrote The Last Thakur (2008), a Bengali western showing Sunday at 12:15 p. m., and she produced and directed Wild West Dream (2009), a short film about the U. K.’s only cowboy, a firefighter by day who competes in rodeos in Europe because they’re illegal in England. The latter film shows Sunday at 3 p. m. as part of an In Our Own Backyard series of Albertamade shorts.

The thought of screening films in her hometown has Taylor on edge. “I’m a little bit scared–no, I’m excited. But nervous. This is what I do and people know what I do, but because I have my career in London, I don’t associate my work with Edmonton.

“When I come home it’s like, ‘Let’s go bowling,’ not me seeing myself at a film festival.”

The distinctly western flavour in Taylor’s two films is an intriguing shift from the “I’m not a cowboy” attitude she has as an Albertan living in London. “By moving away from it, I’ve embraced it more,” she says of her western roots. “It makes me look at it more in a different light. There are a lot of good things about this (cowboy) world.”