Pogey Beach movie premiere 'dream come true' for P.E.I. filmmaker
'It was basically the reception that we would have dreamed of'
Hundreds of film festival attendees in Halifax had the chance to spend a couple of hours at a P.E.I. beach Friday night — Pogey Beach, that is.
The first-ever public screening of the feature-length comedy film happened at FIN Atlantic International Film Festival.
"I finally got to see it on the big screen — a filmmaker's dream come true," said Jeremy Larter, the movie's director and co-writer. "Quite an experience, especially when you're in it with your shirt off!"
Many cast, crew and relatives travelled from P.E.I. for the event.
"It was an amazing time to be there in Halifax with so many friends and family," said Larter.
'Want to throw up'
It was also the first time the creators had watched the movie with an audience.
"I usually want to throw up in those situations. I kind of love and dread the idea of seeing anything I've made with a crowd of people," Larter said. "Some things land more than other things. There's unexpected laughs.
"It was basically the reception that we would have dreamed of."
The film was years in the making. It's a spinoff from the comedy web series Just Passing Through, (JPT), which launched in 2013. The main characters in the web series were fans of a fictional soap opera called Pogey Beach.
Almost didn't get finished
Pogey Beach is the tongue-in-cheek story of an innocent teenage girl who moves to P.E.I. and falls under the spell of the "pogey bums" who frequent the beach near their home.
After season two of JPT in 2016, the team decided to make Pogey Beach real, and launched an online campaign that raised $56,000.
We kind of hope it's something that can build a cult following.— Jeremy Larter— Jeremy Larter
"Two days after the Kickstarter campaign was successful I drove straight back to P.E.I. We spent a month writing the movie," Larter said. "Geoff Read, my brother Jason Larter and Robbie Moses. And then we were in production seven days later!"
After shooting the 90-minute feature, the team ran out of money to do the final edit. Never one to give up, Larter submitted what they had to Telefilm Atlantic, which gave the producers $41,000 to complete the movie last December.
'Something that Islanders would be proud of'
The film was accepted to premiere at FIN, formerly the Atlantic Film Festival, which has become a prestigious venue for small Canadian features and documentaries.
"It's a great festival and it just meant a lot to be able to have fans of the show and people from P.E.I.," Larter said. "We really wanted to make something that Islanders would be proud of. We really put a lot of effort and energy into it."
Pogey Beach will will be shown for the first time on P.E.I. as part of the Charlottetown Film Festival Oct. 12, and Larter said another screening is in the works around the same time.
"We just hope the movie has a long life," he said. "We're not panicking about making a big splash really quickly, we kind of hope it's something that can build a cult following."
Larter said plans to release the movie to the rest of the world haven't been finalized yet. They're working with Telefilm and considering releasing the movie online.
"It's a fine line. We don't really want to put it out for free, but we want as many people to see it as possible," Larter said.
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With files from Matt Rainnie