Hot Docs 2022: Qs à la mode with… Jackie Torrens (Bernie Langille Wants to Know What Happened to Bernie Langille)

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Director Jackie Torrens’ quirky doc, Bernie Langille Wants to Know What Happened to Bernie Langille, revolves around the titular subject, who uses miniatures to recreate the circumstances around (and probe) the mysterious death of his grandfather. We posed our Qs à la mode to Jackie, and here’s what she shared!

If I had to describe my film using only five adjectives, they would be: “Unconventional, surreal, offbeat, mysterious, curious.”

The thing that surprised me most about my film’s subject(s)/topic was: “The extent to which we can become so attached to our own version of a story that we may resist accepting new information, because it would mean altering the story as we have known it.”

My favorite moment/scene/sequence in my film is: “There is a scene where Bernie learns more about the life of his Uncle Larry, who was obsessed with finding justice for his father’s unusual and unresolved death. Through photographs and home movies, our miniaturist artists were able to create a tiny set so similar to the apartment Larry lived in decades ago, that when Bernie saw it for the first time his jaw dropped. He said it looked just like the place he remembered visiting as a child.”

The toughest part of the whole shoot was: “The pandemic! This singular, global crisis affected everything — how we filmed, what we filmed, when we filmed. And it affected the headspaces of our documentary participants, the crew and also me. Somehow, thanks to generous and game spirits, we were able to continue the work.”

My most invaluable piece of doc-making gear was/is: “The probe lens — a long and skinny macro-style lens that we used to film the miniature sets. When you are working in a tiny world, and doing close-ups and moving shots of even tinier objects within that microscopic universe, you need a lens that can get in there and capture all the infinitesimal details.”

My go-to, get-me-through snack of choice for long shoots or epic editing sessions is: “Cheese popcorn!”

Another Hot Docs 2022 film I’m excited to see is: “I’m looking forward to is Margarita and Yaniv Linton’s The Artist’s Daughter, a film about an artist trying to understand herself through her estranged father’s paintings. Also looking forward to I Didn’t See You There by Reid Davenport, examining the legacy of freak shows.”

Do you want to know more about what Bernie Langille wants to know?

Get the scoop, and your tickets, here!


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