[Program notes for a Pleasure Dome screening.]
Earlier this year I was upgraded to first class on a flight from Toronto to Los Angeles, courtesy of a boyfriend with mysterious connections at Air Canada. I was seated in the second row, directly behind Atom Egoyan. We had met a couple of times before but I didn't feel I knew him well enough to approach him directly, so I wrote him a note. A few days earlier, flying from Rotterdam to Toronto, one of the in-flight movies had been Egoyan's Felicia's Journey. The note explained I had just seen the film the previous month, so I didn't watch it again on the flight, except a scene near the end in which the serial killer protagonist, who is undergoing a crisis during a break from slaughtering a young woman, is offered paradise in the form of an (off-camera) illustration in a book, and this scene, inexplicably and for the second time, made me cry. And I said a few other things, listing some reasons for my admiration of his work. So we talked for a short while about Los Angeles and Jeremy Podeswa's The Five Senses (which was the in-flight movie). And he gave some advice that, annoyingly, presumed it was my goal to make narrative feature films — or, as they say, direct.
A flight attendant saw us talking and asked me if I was in the same business as Egoyan. Here I was trapped. Do I say I am a video maker? Video artist? Digital filmmaker? University professor? Of course, she really just wanted to know if I was Egoyan's colleague, employee, or in an unrelated profession. She said it made her proud to be a Canadian when he accepted his Academy Award. I said I didn't think he had won an Oscar, though he had been nominated. Perhaps she was thinking of James Cameron? But no, she said Cameron wasn't really Canadian any more, but Egoyan was, and would presumably always be.
Am I Egoyan's colleague, or am I in an unrelated profession? I don't know. But clearly, Kuchar is everyone's colleague. He's collegial, endlessly collegial.