Gimme Your Answers (Beyond the Stage): An Interview w/ Cam Carpenter

Cam Carpenter
Photo by Phil Brennan

Ever wonder what happens beyond the stage and screen? Well we do. These roadies, managers, guitar techs, programmers, lighting directors, publicists (and even positions you may not have known about) make the music and film you love come alive! In a recent interview, A Music Blog, Yea? spoke with NXNE film programmer Cameron Carpenter. Cam has been a part of the NXNE Film Festival team for the last four years and has attended every NXNE since its inception 20 years ago. This year, come celebrate 14 years of NXNE Film at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema from June 13th-15th and 22nd. And, if you want to know what tricks are reel-y pull behind the scenes of our favourite films, read our new interview with Cam below:

AMBY: Hey Cam, thanks for speaking with us today! How did you first get into your industry?

Cam Carpenter: I first got into the music industry in the late seventies working as a publicist for Quality Records. Since then I have worked for various major and independent labels. I have attended every NXNE since the beginning. My girlfriend worked as the Film Festival Manager for almost ten years and when she was unable to continue three years ago I stepped up to help.

AMBY: Please briefly explain to our readers what you do as Film Fest Manager of NXNE.

Cam Carpenter: The job involves screening all of the submissions, which start arriving in September, and then deciding which films best suit our program. After that I work closely with The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema and come up with our schedule. We also coordinate with guest producers who are coming to town to provide them with a enjoyable NXNE experience.

AMBY: Which artists and films do you look forward to seeing the most this year at NXNE?

Cam Carpenter: I love all of our films this year, it is the first time we have included non-music features and I am looking forward to the audience reaction to each and every one.  With close to 500 submissions it was very difficult to come up with the final schedule. With regards to the music side of things I am looking forward to seeing some band in a crowded bar that I have never heard of who completely blow me away. It seems to happen every year at NXNE.

AMBY: What is the craziest thing to happen to you while working a major event?

Cam Carpenter: So far so good at NXNE film and nothing catastrophic has happened. It has been cool to hang out with the likes of original Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham and British punk film maker and friend of The Clash Don Letts.

AMBY: What is the best and worst thing about programming such a large-scale festival?

Cam Carpenter: The best thing is the opportunity to watch so many great films and documentaries every year and the hardest thing is not being able to include them all. It is also great to watch a film that debuted at NXNE achieve success internationally on the film circuit.

AMBY: Which venues and theatres in Toronto are your favourite?

Cam Carpenter: I love The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema and, growing up in the east end of Toronto I was pretty well raised at The Fox Theatre. For live venues I love The Bovine Sex Club, The Horseshoe Tavern and the intimacy of The Rivoli.

AMBY: Which three albums changed your life?  Which three films changed your life?

Cam Carpenter: The debut album by The New York Dolls, David Bowie’s “The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars” and “Marquee Moon” from Television. On the film side I always loved “Citizen Kane”, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “Dr. Strangelove”.

AMBY: What do you do for fun outside of loving music and film?

Cam Carpenter: I write a weekly column about music at  and I can play a pretty mean game of euchre  or cribbage.

AMBY: And lastly, what’s something about you that nobody knows yet?

Cam Carpenter: I am fast becoming a good lawn bowler and have my sights on a championship season this summer once NXNE is over.


Thank you Cam Carpenter, for giving us your answers! Follow Cam on Twitter here.

Interview by Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout

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