PEI

Irish moss farmer and bag of money at heart of feature film dream

A P.E.I. filmmaker's short about an Irish moss farmer who finds a duffel bag full of cash is just the first step in plans towards making a feature film.

Adam Perry hopes short film will lead to feature-length movie

The images of Irish Moss harvesting will kickstart the film, says Adam Perry. (Gavin Simms/CBC)

A P.E.I. filmmaker's short about an Irish moss farmer who finds a duffel bag full of cash is just the first step in plans towards making a feature film.

With things always washing up on the shores of islands, a bag of money on a beach seemed to Adam Perry like a logical start for a film set on P.E.I.

Adam Perry plans to have the short film ready to screen at film festivals next year. (Submitted)

"That was the seed, was that a bag of money washes up on shore," Perry told CBC's Island Morning.

"Then it was really just following my heritage and my Acadian roots, knowing I've got family that used to practise raking moss up west towards Skinners Pond and North Cape, and I thought that's an image that just  hasn't been captured before on film. It's an image that will kickstart this movie."

Irish moss is a seaweed containing carrageenan, a thickening agent used in many foods. The wild plant naturally settles on P.E.I. beaches. Harvesting it, often with horses and rakes, was a common practice in western P.E.I. in the past.

'Usually a curse'

It is not necessarily a lucrative living, so when Perry's protagonist finds $50,000 in a duffel bag it's enough to turn his life around.

"I've always loved movies about people that stumble across money, because they always start off as a blessing but it's usually a curse," said Perry.

Perry is making A Small Fortune with help from the Harold Greenberg Shorts-to-Features fund. It provided $32,000, about half the cost of the short film. The idea is Perry will be able to use the short film as a calling card to make the feature, which he estimates will cost about $1 million.

Perry plans to have the short ready to for film festivals in 2017, and have the money raised to start on the feature film the following year.

With files from Island Morning

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