Viveka and I talked about her new film After Circus and about memory and recollection, about what defines us as we approach the dubious notion of retirement and how she loves performing and the circus.
AFTER CIRCUS is an utterly charming look at circus folk and their world. I’d qualify that by saying it’s actually about retired & semi-retired circus performers, but it quickly becomes clear, watching the film that circus people never really retire. The circus is in their blood.
The film details the sense of community circus folk have with each other and their world. Many in this community have been circus people for many generations, passed down from parent to child. The film is about those family histories. It also touches on the fact that most circus people aren’t getting rich doing what they do – they do it for the love of performing and the love of community. And the film deals with the inexorable march of time, when performer’s bodies fail even as the passion for performing still lives on.
It’s a film about passing eras – of the individual people, of the institution, of collective memory….and the passion that endures.
Viveka Melki was herself a performer – a former professional swing dancer and instructor who performed with Michael Bublé, Colin James and others. She understands the psyche of performing artists.
She was born in The Gambia, West Africa and is of Brazilian/Lebanese descent, and educated in the UK before immigrating to Canada. Here, she furthered her education, getting a BA at Simon Fraser University in BC in Communications, specializing in Women’s Studies, but ended up co-founding Tortuga Films with Adam Pajot Gendron in Rimouski, Quebec in 2006. She later sold her interest in the company to Adam in order to devote herself full-time to being a director and screenwriter. Multilingual and multicultural, she calls herself « consciously Canadian » and knows that it is these elements that allowed her to understand the immigrant world of Circus.
Viveka’s filmography as a Producer ranges from the documentary, Campesinos… we will inherit the earth (2008, Radio Canada and TFO) to Hippocrate (2012, Radio Canada, Explora). In 2014, she directed the two-part series War Correspondence (WWI and D-Day). She is currently developing We Interrupt This Program, a feature documentary on radio and social change around the world, for CBC’s Documentary channel, as well as working on her new documentary Carricks: la mer n’a pas volu de nous (2017, Radio Canada & RDI), about Irish Immigration in 1847 and the link to Francophone culture. She is the Curator of the upcoming traveling multi-media exhibition War Flowers (2017, Canadian War Museum, Chateau Ramezay, the new Visitor Centre in Vimy, France).
To learn more about her work visit her site here.