Eschewing the use of classic interviews and scientific explainer segments in Big Giant Wave, Dallaire instead opted for quotes and dialogue with a more atmospheric impact. “It’s more like lyrics in a song,” she says.
“I like to step back and let my characters forget about the crew. We don’t just shoot — we talk and make a connection with one another. They have their lives and I’m curious about them; this is what nourishes the film. Otherwise it’s cold,” she says.
Dallaire's controlled spontaneity doesn’t come without dedication. Just as Big Giant Wave took six years to complete, the director spent two years following Father Emmett “Pops” Johns, BA 74, LLD 97 — one year to research and another to film — for her 2006 film Notre Père (titled Father in English), winner of the Dworkin Foundation Award and nominated for a Prix Iris.
‘I’d go back if I could’
“It’s hard to know where it all comes from, but I know I learned a lot at Concordia,” Dallaire says. She’s grateful for the people she met who became friends, partners and colleagues, for her teachers, crews and access to equipment and expertise. “I’d go back if I could!”
Since graduating, Dallaire has worked as a writer and director in film, television and advertising. Her credits include directing the second unit on Denis Villeneuve’s 2016 Oscar-nominated sci-fi drama Arrival, as well as the Télé-Québec documentary series Un monde sans pitié, nominated for a Prix Gémaux (2010). As a young filmmaker, Dallaire was among the directors of the collective fiction feature Cosmos (1996), which received the Cannes Film Festival’s Director’s Fortnight Award.
Big Giant Wave premiered at Montreal’s International Festival of Films on Art and screened in English and French (Comme un vague) in cinemas across Quebec in spring 2021.