Queen of the Crows, an 11-minute short film produced entirely in P.E.I., is set to be shown as part of a Canadian showcase at next month's Cannes International Film Festival.
Queen of the Crows is set in Charlottetown, against the backdrop of the nightly influx of thousands of crows. It's about a young girl who pretends to be a crow.
The film won't be part of the competition at Cannes — in which hundreds of films vie for the coveted Palme d'Or — but audiences can see it as part of a Telefilm-sponsored event that showcases Canadian shorts.
Writer and director Harmony Wagner and producer Jason Rogerson said Queen of the Crows has been well-received at a couple of film festivals, but turned down for screening at others. Being asked to show it at Cannes came as a shock:
"All the cells in my body just quivered," said Wagner.
"I just had to stare at the email for a while, because at first I was like, 'Did this get sent to me by accident?'"
Rogerson said his reaction was to head out immediately to buy a bottle of champagne.
The film's budget was just $14,000. It won a CBC contest for some funding, and the City of Charlottetown and P.E.I. Council of the Arts helped too. It is a point of pride for the pair that all 19 people who worked on the film got paid.
The couple is now scrambling to get money to go to France with their film. They plan to approach the province for help.
They say their success could move film making forward on P.E.I.
"It's definitely helping us along our way, moving forward, to the point where we can start to build an industry here," said Wagner.
While the Telefilm event isn't as glitzy as the Hollywood component of Cannes, Wagner said it's still a huge marketplace with an opportunity to make important connections.
International audiences can see Queen of the Crows in Cannes this May.