PEI

Boxcar Dan moves a little closer to the big screen

A pair of P.E.I. filmmakers just took the next step toward their goal of creating a feature-length film.

P.E.I. band Boxcar Dan and the Vagabond Strangers inspiration for film

Boxcar Dan and the Vagabond Strangers is a bluegrass country comedy band from P.E.I. (Boxcar Dan and the Vagabond Strangers/Facebook)

A pair of P.E.I. filmmakers just took the next step toward their goal of creating a feature-length film.

Writer Jason Rogerson and producer Jason Arsenault were awarded $15,000 from Innovation P.E.I. last week to create a proof of concept for a film about local band Boxcar Dan and the Vagabond Strangers.

"A proof of concept could be a scene from a movie, it could be possibly a shortened version of a movie, and it gives people a taste of the movie in terms of the world you're trying to convey," said Arsenault.

In May, Rogerson and Arsenault participated in a P.E.I. Screenwriters' Bootcamp workshop called The Road to Production. Five filmmaking teams pitched their ideas to industry professionals, including a panel of three judges.

The funding is important, Arsenault said, because there isn't much out there for proof of concepts.

"That money's going to allow us to make something of a high calibre, I think," Rogerson added.

'They're not a band, they're a movie'

Rogerson first saw Boxcar Dan and the Vagabond Strangers during their earliest years, around 2011.

"I saw these guys and I thought, 'They're not a band, they're a movie.' I just started to think about some ideas, about writing a script based upon this band," Rogerson said.

'I saw these guys and I thought, "They're a band, not a movie,"' says writer Jason Rogerson, right. At left is producer Jason Arsenault. (Matt Rainnie/CBC)

He worked on other projects for a while, but revisited the idea not long ago.

Arsenault and Rogerson both liked the idea of a road movie about a band, Arsenault said.

"And then on top of that, we saw this bluegrass country band that was also a comedy band, and that just struck a chord with both of us."

'Make it sing'

The personalities of the band members are reflected in the script, and they also hope to include some of the band's music, Rogerson said.

Seen here performing on stage, Boxcar Dan and the Vagabond Strangers are the subject of a film project in the works. (Devin Stevenson/Facebook)

"We're going to have to decide exactly what scene we're going to shoot," he said.

"As a writer, I'm going to refine that scene and try to make it sing as strongly as it can."

The goal is to shoot the proof of concept by the end of the summer to be ready for Telefilm Canada's 2019 round of funding.

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