Queen’s filmmaker to debut at Kingston festival

A Q&A with short film creator on social media and technology 

Josh Granovsky in wyd?
Screenshot from wyd?

Disclaimer: Josh Granovsky is a member of The Journal’s editorial board. This interview has been edited for style and clarity.  

This weekend, Josh Granovsky’s short film wyd? will be presented at the Kingston Canadian Film Festival. Filmed on his laptop, Granvosky, ArtSci ’20, is shown editing a seemingly casual photo of himself to send to a romantic interest, only for his efforts to be rejected. He’s one of two Queen’s student’s whose work has been selected to screen at the festival. 

Can you tell us a bit about the piece? 

A:  Firstly, I’m really excited and grateful to KCFF for giving me a platform to share this piece. I’d never made a short film before, but I stumbled upon the KCFF submissions page and saw there was one week until the Local Shorts deadline closed. 

The concept for wyd? came out of looking for something I could film on my laptop, in my bedroom and entirely by myself within a day.

To me, the piece aims to show how exhausting it can feel to achieve the bare minimum of social interaction, which in this case amounts to answering a text and making myself look slightly more tanned.

Why do you think that editing photos of ourselves has become so synonymous with social media use? 

A:  I think social media affords us with so many easy opportunities to edit ourselves that if you don’t take advantage of them, it feels like you’re missing out. There’s a mindset that if Instagram makes it a 20 second process to slap a few flattering filters on a picture and come up with a rap lyric caption, why wouldn’t you want to capitalize on that? Since it’s so accessible and popular, filtering yourself can seem like the norm and leaving yourself unedited can make you the odd one out.

What does this film say about how technology impacts human connections?

A: I believe it’s very possible to create genuine relationships through technology, but I’ve definitely felt pressure in the past to only put my best self forward in my online interactions. I think the short reflects that by showing this guy who wants to send a casual photo of him doing nothing to a girl he likes—as we all do at one point or another—but only feels the confidence to do so once he gives himself Jon Hamm’s eyes and Tom Holland’s arms.

What does the rejection at the end of the film mean for you? 

A:  With the ending, I wanted to give a quick reminder that even though we spend so much time working on our posts and photos, it can ultimately mean nothing. The nature of social media means I can blindly scroll past 20 posts that took someone hours to write, or I can spend a day agonizing over a robot who tweets facts about space. It can be depressing, because our work can fall flat on its face, but also comforting to know a single post doesn’t have to define you.

How did you choose the song for the film?  

A:  I was thrilled when Grace [Guest], who’s also a student here and a wonderfully talented friend of mine, blessed me with permission to use her song in this short. The lyrics do a great job of mirroring the theme of how exhausting these digital personas are. I asked her to use this song in particular because her voice just sounds so lovely with the guitar it steers the piece away from total darkness and highlights the light-hearted element of how ridiculous the whole situation is.

A lot of wyd? is tied to how I felt about body image growing up, namely the belief that my life would be immeasurably better once I had a six-pack and broad shoulders. I feel lucky enough now to be in a place where I can see how misguided that was and make something that highlights the absurdity of thinking you can only get the girl if you look like The Rock. Very, very few of us look like The Rock.

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