Pissed Off About the U.S.? Go Vent to Canada

Director David Gray's Short Films Offer a Funny, Unexpected Take on American Discontent

Published On
Jul 20, 2016

Editor's Pick

The 2016 election has U.S. citizens reconsidering their residency come November, and a series of hilarious short films from Skunk director David Gray riffs on this idea -- and more -- by introducing us to an array of folks whose discontent with our country has them knocking on the door of our neighbor to the north.

"Canadian Customs Interviews" tell the stories of disenchanted Americans seeking refuge in Canada, whether it's due to "gun violence, dissatisfaction with the government, race relations, Donald Trump running for president, the economy or Donald Trump running for president," each film announces.

The films are set up as interviews with a Canadians customs and emigration officer, to whom the subjects have to prove themselves. There's the couple trying to flee from a nation supporting gay marriage, a would-be lumberjack, an aspiring actress who's just a "7" in Miami but could score higher up north, a wannabe Cirque du Soleil performer, fans of local dish poutine and more. Each film ends with the cheeky tag, "Canada -- Thanks, but we're good up here."

Gray came up with the idea last year, just after the Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage legal in the U.S. He and his producer, who's a Canadian, were on the way to a shoot, listening to a piece on NPR about Americans who disapproved of the decision so declared they were going to move to Canada. "My producer found it ironic because same-sex marriage had already been legal for years in Canada," he said.

That fact, of course, was ripe for comedic riffing, leading to these films. To create them, Gray reached out to comedians and improv actors from New York City he's collaborated with in the past. "We created this set and just kind of had fun doing these interviews all day. For me, it was really just about creating this stage and then having fun with it."

The full series, available on YouTube, are just the beginning. "The interesting thing about this format is that it lends itself to be a platform for anyone to come and vent about anything they want," Gray said. "It could be humor or it could be serious in nature. I just really like the idea of this being a venue to let people vent and go off."