2 New Brunswick film teams prepare to make movies, thanks to Telefilm Canada money
Micro-Budget Production Program is aimed at emerging Canadian filmmakers
The timeline for their movies may be anxiety-inducing, but two teams of filmmakers can soon start production of their feature-length movies, thanks to $127,500 each received from Telefilm Canada and the Talent Fund.
Pour mieux t'aimer, by francophone actress and writer Denise Bouchard and director Gilles Doiron, and Entropic, by University of New Brunswick professors Robert Gray and Matt Rogers and filmmaker Jon Dewar, are two of 18 Canadian projects selected for the funding under the Micro-Budget Production Program.
The program is meant to support emerging filmmakers, who will have 18 months to complete their movies. Originally, the the Entropic team planned to work on the 90-minute movie for four years, said Robert Gray.
"We got the news and we were cheering and yelling and then my business partner, Matt Rogers, I think he said, 'I think barfing is imminent,'" Gray said. "It's all hands on deck now."
Entropic tells the story of the most beautiful man in the world, who one day gets fed up with being objectified by others and devises a plan with his friend to free himself of people's attention.
Much of the story is told from the friend's perspective as he witnesses the story play out over a weekend, said Gray.
The story was adapted from a novel and short story of the same name, which he wrote.
The topic is relevant today, "with social media and our tendency to objectify others," he added.
"It becomes a sort of darker tale about how do we actually learn to not objectify, how do we learn to have compassion for others, how do we learn to be vulnerable with others."
It becomes a sort of darker tale about how do we actually learn to not objectify, how do we learn to have compassion for others, how do we learn to be vulnerable with others.- Robert Gray, Entropic director, writer, producer
Gray said the story was inspired by an actress he met while living in Vancouver.
She was beautiful — and constantly swarmed by people attracted to her looks.
"I was always a bit overwhelmed with how people would objectify her, and what they got from her," Gray said. "I wondered how does one know oneself when there're so many people wanting things from you that way?"
The team, which already produced several short films with their company Frictive Pictures, plans to hire about 30 actors, not including extras, said Gray. He hopes many of them will be from New Brunswick.
But casting is unlikely to start until 2018, he said. For the next three months, Gray will hunker down and rewrite his script.
The team also plans to start a crowdfunding campaign for more money to spend on the production. Gray said the filmmakers received $127,500 from Telefilm but are allowed to use up to $250,000.
"Crowdfunding is really great because it's a way to also build an audience, so people will become invested in how we create the film," he said. "It's going to be amazing, and we'll have to call in every favour we got."
Pour mieux t'aimer
Pour mieux t'aimer is the first feature-length movie francophone producer Gilles Doiron and director Denise Bouchard will collaborate on.
The film tells the story of a father and two sons, who were abandoned 30 years earlier by their mother and are visited by a Romanian woman carrying an urn with her ashes.
The story takes place in a remote community on the Acadian Peninsula, and Doiron said filming will start this coming winter, using the cold weather as a symbol of the abandonment theme.
"The abandonment caused the family to be almost frozen," he said. "It's not a beautiful thing, they don't talk much, they are very to themselves.
"There's a lot of secrets being kept and when [the Romanian woman] arrives … there's a lot of secrets going to be revealed."
A New Brunswick story
Doiron said he and Bouchard, an Acadian actress, met a few years ago while working together on the set of a TV series, and they hit it off professionally.
Bouchard had already started working on a script for the movie then, he said, so when they learned about the Telefilm Canada Fund, they decided to apply.
The fact they are francophone helped, Doiron said, because so few feature-length, Acadian movies made in the province.
We are going to try and make it as New Brunswick as possible. Just to show that we are capable of doing it here.- Gilles Doiron, director and producer
They hope that Pour mieux t'aimer will not only shine a light on the francophone film community but also help them secure future movie deals.
"This should get our feet wet with Telefilm," he said. "It's not the ideas that we're missing ... but we are looking at a bigger budget."
Doiron added they'll need about $238,000 to produce the movie and are waiting to hear about additional funding from the province and federal government.
They also plan to hire their cast and crew in New Brunswick, as well as use local places to film.
Both filmmaking teams said they received help from the NB Film Co-op in getting their movies to the competition. New Brunswick is also the only Maritime province represented by two teams of filmmakers.
"We are going to try and make [Pour mieux t'aimer] as New Brunswick as possible," Doiron said. "Just to show that we are capable of doing it here."