Fantasia fest: Montreal film collective RKSS takes festival by storm
Upcoming first feature Turbo Kid fueled by star power and financing
With popular sci-fi film veteran Michael Ironside on board, funding from Canada and New Zealand, and the blessing of Montreal’s Fantasia Film Festival, things are looking up for three young Quebec filmmakers as they ready their first feature sci-fi film Turbo Kid for release.
The RKSS Collective (RKSS stands for Roadkill Superstars) was the first collective to win funding and find partners at the Fantasia International Film Festival’s first Frontières International Co-Production Market in 2012.
Turbo Kid is now in post-production with the goal of making the festival circuit in 2015.
RKSS is a close-knit team made up of brother Yoann-Karl Whissell, his sister Anouk Whissell, and her boyfriend, François Simard.
They’ve written and directed over twenty short films, many made during their summer holidays, which have won awards at various festivals abroad.
Turbo Kid is set in a post-apocalyptic 1997 world called the Wasteland. It’s inspired by T IS FOR TURBO, which was originally made as a submission to THE ABCs OF DEATH contest.
RKSS didn’t win the contest but caught the attention of New Zealand producer, Ant Timpson, who encouraged RKSS to take a pitch to the Fantasia film market.
They did, and landed both funding and a Montreal producer.
BMX Comic Book Genre
RKSS calls Turbo Kid a gore comedy mashup.
“It’s bmx comic book, over-the-top post-apocalyptic gore fest comedy and a love story. We love when we can relate to people and be really touched by a story so it’s important to have a heart for the movie and that’s the love story between turbo kid and the girl he will meet.”
Casting Michael Ironside
Michael Ironside, whose sci-fi credits include Scanners, Starship Troopers and Total Recall, plays Zeus, the self-proclaimed leader of the Wasteland.
According to the movie blurb “He’s a sadistically droll maniac who murders the kid’s parents and controls the Wasteland’s most precious commodity: fresh water.”
Yoann told CBC's Jeanette Kelly that RKSS had Michael Ironside in mind when writing the script.
“The crazy thing is when we were writing the script we wrote it thinking of him all the time. ‘No this character is not Michael enough, rewrite this dialogue to really capture what is Michael Ironside.’ Then we see him enter [TIFF] and all look at each other and whisper “oh my God, that’s Michael Ironside.”
Their producer Anne-Marie Gélinas told them “OK, you want Michael Ironside in your film, go pitch him right now.”
RKSS made their pitch, Ironside read the script — and signed on.
Degrassi - the Next Generation’s Munro Chambers plays the kid, who’s an orphan trying to survive in the Wasteland.
The love interest is a mysterious girl named Apple with a rather large secret. She’s played by Montreal actress Laurence Leboeuf.
RKSS Collective is presenting a “making-of” at Fantasia on Aug. 1 as part of the festival’s weekend celebration of Quebec genre cinema.
They’ll be at the Weekend Quebec Fantastique Friday Aug. 1 at 3 p.m. at Concordia University’s Salle J.A. de Sève Cinema at 1400 Maisonneuve Boul. West.
The Fantasia International Film Festival continues through Aug. 5 at Concordia’s Hall Theatre.