New Brunswick

Fredericton filmmaker's version of Stephen King horror story makes N.B. debut

Fredericton filmmaker Jon Mann bought exclusive rights to adapt a Stephen King short story for $1 about two years ago. Now, his finished film will be making its New Brunswick debut at the Silver Wave Film Festival in the capital in November.

Jon Mann bought the rights to adapt short story "Popsy" to screen for $1 about two years ago

Jon Mann's adaptation of Stephen King's short story "Popsy" will be showing at the Silver Wave Film Festival on Nov. 8.

Fredericton filmmaker Jon Mann bought exclusive rights to adapt a Stephen King short story for $1 about two years ago. Now, his finished film will be making its New Brunswick debut at the Silver Wave Film Festival in the capital in November.

A couple years ago, Mann heard an urban legend about King's Dollar Baby film club, an online website where King gives emerging filmmakers the rights to his stories for $1. Mann decided he'd give it a shot, so he adapted King's Popsy into a 13-page screenplay and contacted one of King's representatives in Bangor, Maine. 

"It was kind of on a whim and kind of a pipe dream," Mann said. 

Two weeks later, Mann was informed he had the rights to film Popsy. 

Popsy is a horror story about a gambling addict who abducts children to pay off debts to a mobster. Mann's mom introduced him to Popsy when he was in Grade 7. 

"For years, she just always talked about how much she loved the ending of the story, in particular — it has a great twist," Mann said. 

Mann began filming last October. His Popsy adaptation has already screened at the Atlantic International Film Festival in Halifax in September.  

Mann said Popsy was challenging because it was a bigger scale production than he's used to. Mann has filmed two short films before: a comedy called Cahoots and Missy, a film purchased for distribution by CBC earlier this year.

There's an abduction scene in Mann's Popsy that takes place at the Brookside Mall on Fredericton's north side. He said it was "a little bit tough" to get businesses on board with him filming that scene.

"Honestly, everybody in Fredericton was super great about allowing us to come in and wreak havoc on their businesses for a couple of days," he laughed.

Stephen King offers emerging filmmakers the opportunity to buy the rights to his short stories for $1. (Tina Fineberg/Associated Press)

Mann has been corresponding with King and says there's a DVD copy of his film resting on King's desk in Bangor. Mann is waiting to hear from the bestselling author about his thoughts on the film.

Popsy will make its New Brunswick premiere at the Silver Wave Film Festival on Nov. 8 at 9 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Fredericton-Lord Beaverbrook. Tickets are $9 for adults and $8 for students and seniors and must be bought at the door.

"This has been a year and a half of working on this particular project and now I just can't wait to share it and actually show people what I've come up with," said Mann.

With files from Information Morning Fredericton

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