PEI

Pogey Beach movie a shore thing now, thanks to $41K from Telefilm

It looks like the P.E.I.-made feature film Pogey Beach will finally be coming to the big screen, after the makers received $41,000 from Telefilm Canada's production program to finish the project.

'It's not a bad little Christmas present'

The fictional Gary Gallant, the king of Pogey Beach, sitting on his throne with two of his 'pogey bum' friends keeping guard. (Submitted by Jeremy Larter )

It looks like the P.E.I.-made feature film Pogey Beach will finally be coming to the big screen, after the makers received $41,000 from Telefilm Canada's production program to finish the project.

Pogey Beach was shot in 2016 with help from $50,000 in crowdfunding. A rough edit was done early this year, but the film was shelved after the producers ran out of money to finish the 90-minute movie. 

We're really excited to get the thing finished and get it out to the world.— Jeremy Larter 

"It's very exciting, and it's very exciting to be partnered with Telefilm since they are the largest funders of film in Canada," said the movie's producer/director Jeremy Larter from Toronto, where he lives part-time. "It lends the movie a credibility and a recognition in the film industry that it wouldn't otherwise have." 

"Basically it means our movie is going to get done and it's going to be a better film than had we tried to finish it without the funding." 

For the uninitiated, "pogey" is slang for employment insurance, and Pogey Beach is based on a fictional show that is beloved by the characters of the web series, Just Passing Through. Larter is one of the producers on that award-winning series, too. 

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.

'Back in business'

Telefilm gave the initial nod to the funding back in June, but required a lot of paperwork, which Larter completed — he received the first instalment of funds in December.

'We're back in business,' says Pogey Beach director/producer Jeremy Larter. (Submitted by Jeremy Larter)

"So we're back in business!" Larter enthused. "It's not a bad little Christmas present." 

They'd shot a few extra scenes on P.E.I. in October and for the next few months will be editing, securing music rights, colouring the film "and doing all that fun stuff that makes the movie shine."

The movie should be done by early spring of 2018, Larter said. 

Islanders will benefit

Islanders will get a share of the work — post audio will be done by Adam Gallant and french subtitles by filmmaker Louise Lalonde.

Pogey Beach was shot in 2016 with help from $50,000 in crowdfunding. (Submitted by Jeremy Larter)

"So, a year behind schedule, but that's the way it goes sometimes in this independent film world," Larter said. "We're really excited to get the thing finished and get it out to the world." 

Now that they're partnered with Telefilm, the movie is eligible for funding to market the movie. They have two choices: release the movie in theatres, or flog it on the film festival circuit. 

As for Just Passing Through, Larter is doubtful a third season of the popular web series will ever be produced — it would cost $300,000 to $400,000, an impossible amount without a distribution partner like Netflix, he said. That almost happened with the subscription on-demand service Shomi, he said, but it went under in late 2016. 

Larter, right, filming Pogey Beach in P.E.I. (Facebook / Jeremy Larter)

"I miss those characters — I'd love to do it again," said Larter. 

After Pogey Beach is released, the team will be eligible for Telefilm development funding for future scripts, "which is big," Larter said. 

Larter is through with creating micro-budget productions, however popular, he said. "Financially, it's too tough."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sara Fraser

Web Journalist

Sara is a P.E.I. native who graduated from the University of King's College in Halifax. N.S., with a bachelor of journalism (honours) degree. She's worked with CBC Radio and Television since 1988, moving to the CBC P.E.I. web team in 2015, focusing on weekend features. email sara.fraser@cbc.ca

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