Oshawa filmmakers start new collective

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Story by Sarah Crookall, photos courtesy of Johanna Wotton

Behind the scenes of Home Movies music video shoot.

Beauty exists in downtown Oshawa, and the new film collective The Goldfish Pool aims to flaunt it with a video screening this Thursday. A short film from the group will be shown at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery on June 28.
The two-minute video is a time-lapse piece called OshawaCentric, which shows a different view of downtown Oshawa. “I want to show people Oshawa isn’t just a car town and skuzzy—there’s more going on,” said Johanna Wotton, producer and creator of The Goldfish Pool.
Movie poster of the collective’s time-laspe film, OshawaCentric.

Johanna and her husband, Mark Wotton, initiated The Goldfish Pool to connect, share, and revitalize the local film industry, which they feel is behind other cities like Toronto or Hamilton. Because Oshawa and surrounding cities haven’t caught on to film, many filmmakers in the Durham Region have to move or commute for work.
“I was hoping someone else would do it, but it didn’t happen so I just did it myself—even though I’m shy,” said Johanna. “It takes a lot of people to come together to make a movie and people don’t realize it.”
Although the not-for-profit project began only Feb. 1, the collective currently consists of about 30 people and involves an array of directors, writers, actors, musicians and more— including the couple’s 11 and 13 year old daughters who regularly participate in projects.
Home Movies and Mark Wotton work behind the lights on set.

“We’re a pool of talent and we want to tell stories that will last forever,” said Mark of the aptly named Goldfish Pool. The name is taken from a short story by Neil Gaimon that underscores nurturing something so it lasts forever.
The couple live downtown Oshawa and like to work close to home. “Knob Hill Farms is a great location,” said Mark, because of the structure and large parking lot. Along with Mark’s experience on sets such as X-Men and Jason X, the duo brings a fresh and quirky perspective on filmmaking. “I don’t like doing the same thing twice,” he said.
Because time-lapse projects have a speed discrepancy, a lot of time and hard work went into their short video, taking the couple three months to complete. And fittingly enough, the video features music by talent named Home Movies. OshawaCentric can be expected on The Goldfish Pool website following the weekend.
Thursday’s screening is part of an event called Creative Social, which aims to gather local entrepreneurs and talent in one space to boost arts and economic initiatives. Doors open at 7 p.m. and tickets can be bought online in advance.
Mark Wotton in the directors chair on the set of Home Movies music video.

In the future, The Goldfish Pool would like to see a film festival in Oshawa. For location, they already have their eyes on the Regent Theatre in downtown Oshawa. The group also encourages others to get involved in the collective’s fun, non-threatening environment. “We always have a good time. We never not have a good time, or else I don’t think I’d do it,” said Johanna.
“Don’t be shy, send me an email,” she said. “We’re all about mentoring.”

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