New P.E.I. film Pogey Beach seeks crowdfunding

For the many fans of P.E.I. web series Just Passing Through, there's a new spinoff in the works by the same producers, a feature-length comedy called Pogey Beach.

'We want to take Pogey Beach from the small screen to the big screen'

The characters on Pogey Beach drink a lot of Apine and talk about who gets 'top stamp,' or the best pogey. (Submitted by Jeremy Larter )

For the many fans of P.E.I. web series Just Passing Through, there's a new spinoff in the works by the same producers, called Pogey Beach. It's a feature-length comedy about a group of Islanders who hang out on the beach, drink beer and avoid working, preferring to stay on pogey or employment insurance.

As of publication time, Pogey Beach's Kickstarter campaign had reached $13,292 of its $50,000 goal. 

Pogey Beach is already two things: first, it's the actual beach at Tracadie, P.E.I., so called by some because it borders P.E.I. National Park and is just as scenic — but doesn't require a park pass.

Jeremy Larter is pursuing his dream of being a filmmaker and telling P.E.I. stories. (Jessicah Dutton)

And, Pogey Beach is a show-within-a-show: the television fictional soap opera enjoyed by the P.E.I. characters on the web series Just Passing Through

Now, JPT's producers want to take Pogey Beach from the small screen to the big screen. 

"It's extremely low-budget, it'd be a micro-budget," said Jeremy Larter, speaking with CBC Radio: Mainstreet host Kerry Campbell from his home in Toronto. 

"We're going to continue to look for other sources of funding, but we do want to shoot the film this September before the frost sets in," Larter said.

'Every man's fantasy'

For a $50 pledge, producers are offering a Maritime Mafia t-shirt, five JPT and Pogey Beach stickers, a digital download of the movie and your name in the end credits. 

Two of the stars of Pogey Beach, Larissa MacEachern and Ryan Cameron. (Submitted by Jeremy Larter)

There's already a 10-minute trailer that plays out the plot, which Larter said is based on the 1959 movie Gidget, the story of an innocent girl's initiation into California surf culture — only in Pogey Beach, it's her initiation into pogey culture. 

"She gets familiar with the unemployment insurance system and the people who take advantage of it," explained Larter. "So for us it's kind of a fun story to tell, a kind of make-believe place in Prince Edward Island that we can have fun with." 

"It's like every man's fantasy who's on pogey to be the desire of every woman on the beach, y'know?" laughed Larter. 

Feature films have greater potential for wide distribution than web series, Larter said, so they plan to shop it around internationally to distributors and streaming services. 

It's become 'a thing'

The Pogey Beach shirts printed by Just Passing Through are their most popular merchandise, Larter notes.

"If you go on Twitter and you search for pogey beach, there's people constantly referencing pogey beach. It's become a thing across Canada where people who are going on EI are telling the world that they're going to go to Pogey Beach," said Larter. "Which is kind of a funny thing for us, that we created this mythical place."

Does the show reinforce negative stereotypes about lazy Maritimers dodging work?

"That perception exists, whether our show is out there or not," Larter said. 

While the story is obviously a satire, Larter adds, "Those characters exist." 

He believes Just Passing Through has brought people to the Island who want to see and visit the "real" Pogey Beach. 

'Trying our best'

Coming from P.E.I. and not having film industry connections is challenging Larter said, but the JPT team wants to keep momentum going, after releasing season three earlier this year. 

A meme from Pogey Beach highlight's the show's over-the-top satire. (Submitted by Jeremy Larter )

"It's tough. We're all trying to pursue a dream of being filmmakers and telling stories," Larter said. 

"We're trying our best and we have made a go of it the last few years, and we just want to keep growing it," said Larter

With files from Kerry Campbell