Director Kyle Thomas created a Canadian Film Range Roads to show grief, forgiveness, and the beautiful complexities of what it means to be a family. Range Roads will make its World Premiere at Cinequest Film Festival in San Jose, California. Range Roads will be available to US audiences from March 20th-30th, 2021 to highlight creativity and technological innovations. The Knockturnal spoke with Kyle about the film.
The Knockturnal: In the film, we see Frankie struggle in the relationship with her family. Why was it important for Frankie to learn about forgiveness and the true meaning of family? I believe that forgiveness is freeing, what steps should people take to forgive someone?
Kyle Thomas: Initially, it can seem easier to bury things and not deal with them. In Frankie’s case, she ran away and dissociated from her past, however, the existential anxiety that she’s experiencing at the beginning of the film, brought on by the death of her parents, is forcing her to come to terms with her identity. Anything we repress or put off will usually come back to us at some point down the line. In order for Frankie to grow she needed to allow forgiveness into her life, which is not something that can be forced. You have to want to forgive and be ready to put the work in.
Family dynamics are often unique and delicate. Much like friendships, they can fall in and out of alignment over the years. Frankie comes to realize that regardless of whether or not she relates to her family, she is tethered to them for better or worse.
The Knockturnal: While we are still in this pandemic, we have to wear masks. I think before we were in the pandemic many people were wearing a mask to hide their true identity. Would you say that Frankie was hiding her authentic self, while at work and in the face of her family?
Kyle Thomas: Absolutely. Frankie chose a line of work where she could easily become other people and, in the case of the kid’s show, quite literally hide behind a mask. I think that Frankie wanted another life so bad that she lost a sense of the girl that she was growing up. When the “mask comes off” and she is forced to reckon with her own identity, she’s at a loss as to who she really is.
The Knockturnal: Did Frankie struggle to be vulnerable with the people around her? In the moments by herself she would cry or start reflecting on the tragedy but very rarely did I feel her open up to anyone, Was that because she was used to following a script for work and did not know how to express herself?
Kyle Thomas: I think Frankie was so used to putting on a front or a personna and it became increasingly hard for her to relate to other people, or even herself. The death of her parents shook her to the core and exposed a lot of imperfections and emotions that have been suppressed for so long.
There’s also the factor in where she felt completely and utterly out of place going back to her small town. There were not a lot of places to hide, unlike the life and career she had built for herself back in the big city.
The Knockturnal: What was the purpose of this film?
Kyle Thomas: First and foremost it’s a character study of a woman at an existential crossroads. I wanted to create a film that was honest and relatable, where the viewer could find their own personal point of entry, hopefully allowing them to reflect on aspects of their own lives or relationships with family.
The Knockturnal: What was the turning point for Frankie and her brother Grayson’s relationship? How do you believe people should navigate through complex relationships?
Kyle Thomas: I wanted Grayson and Frankie’s relationship to feel real and evolve organically. I didn’t want a big “ah-ha” moment where they both realize their flaws and decide to reconcile in a dramatic climax. That’s not how life works. Frankie’s journey of self-discovery and self-love helped her to become more open to the possibility of a relationship with her brother moving forward.
I think the turning point for Frankie in the film, and ultimately her relationship with Grayson, was when she realizes that everyone has their own pain and secrets and that she’s not alone. Everybody struggles. Nobody’s perfect.
The Knockturnal: How important is it for Range roads to have its World Premiere in the New Visions Feature Film Competition at Cinequest Film Festival?
Kyle Thomas: We’re thrilled to be having our World Premiere at Cinequest. Although the film deals with universal themes, it is fairly regionally specific, and inherently Canadian. I am proud to be able to bring my voice as a Western Canadian filmmaker to a larger, global audience.