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On becoming a Filmmaker in Residence 

Eva Madden-Hagen moves house and starts a new chapter in her directorial career

It was the end of June and I had my head in the oven when Chris Spencer-Lowe from the Atlantic Filmmaker’s Co-op called.

No, I wasn’t trying to off myself---and even if I was, my electric oven wasn’t going to do the trick. My husband and I were moving out of our apartment and it was down to the wire. Add to that we were still looking for another tenant to take over our lease and it was the last day of the month. Time was ticking and the threat of double rents was looming large when---Abracadabra!---we found a new tenant. Hooray! The twist---and a good story always needs a twist right?---they needed to move in within the hour “Sure. Okay. We can do that” I said, mentally calculating the possibilities.

The plan to spend the rest of the day clearing out was kaput. I only had only a little over an hour to get ‘er done, finish packing the car, gather up the last of the stuff and get the hell out before a moving truck showed up to unload. It’s never good to meet the new tenants on the way out. It’s like meeting the new girlfriend before you’ve even finished breaking up with the old boyfriend. Keep it discrete. So the plan to carefully scrub smudges off the walls went out the window, the main priority was my dark and stormy oven. I dove in. And then the phone rang. It was Chris, pleased to tell me that my next film was a go. I would be the next Filmmaker in Residence.

Good news like this can really take away the sting of being up to your elbows in Easy Off---goddamn that stuff is indecent. But I still had work to do so I cradled the phone under my chin and listened to Chris talk about the program while I continued to wipe grease off oven racks. It wasn’t until later that night as we sat on the floor in our new place among towers of boxes, eating out of take-out cartons, that it began to sink in.

What I’ve found is that good news---just like bad---often comes in the midst of chaos. It’s less about celebrating and popping champagne corks than it is about a quick dance around the kitchen, a self induced pat and the back and then the ol’ battle cry---well, I guess I better get to work. You know it’s real when your head’s in the oven.

So now I begin my 10-month journey as the Filmmaker in Residence at AFCOOP. What does that mean exactly? Well, that’s what I’ll explore here. I’ll talk about the film I’m going to make, the people involved, the process, the pain and the pleasure. Along the way I’ll stop to chat to other filmmakers abut their work and their process and if anyone asks a question, I’ll do my best to answer. As well, I will write about some of the other projects I’m working on.

Finally, if I’m lucky, I’ll establish some level of engagement with you. A conversation is always more interesting when it’s not just one person talking while everyone else listens.

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