Saskatoon-made short film The Tinwife off to Hollywood this week
Film among selections to screen at Holly Shorts Film Festival
A "retro" science-fiction short film shot in Saskatoon is headed to a Hollywood festival next week.
The Tinwife tells the story of a human woman living in a 1950s-ish, Stepford Wives-esque future who is mistaken for an android and placed in an internment camp.
Director Travis Neufeld and 60 largely local volunteer actors and crew members shot the film in the city over weekends in 2015.
A few weeks ago, Neufeld was told by email that his film was chosen (from a list of 4,000 submissions) as one of the 400 to be screened at the Holly Shorts Film Festival, which kicks off Thursday.
"It was a total shock to me," said Neufeld. "I think I just kind of sat in my chair and kind of stared at my computer for 10 minutes. I didn't even move."
The production itself did not have that luxury. Neufeld says he filmed at several locations in Saskatoon, and one of the most "daunting" tasks during pre-production was to find the right locales to suit the film's stuck-in-time vibe. That's where Kijiji came in handy.
To find a location for the main character's home, he placed an ad seeking a house in Saskatoon that hadn't been updated since the 1950s.
"Sure enough, I had people respond to me," he said.
He found an architecturally unique 1950s house that just happened to be owned by a mid-century modern furniture collector.
"It definitely had a very strong, 1950s, mid-century modern vibe," said Neufeld.
"Once we saw it, we knew that the film was possible. We were basically able to walk in there and bring in the more futuristic elements and just put those in different places in that space."
Neufeld acknowledges he was influenced by The Stepford Wives, not necessarily the film, but the central idea of wanting to perfect your partner to avoid the messiness of emotional conflicts.
"I think that idea is definitely at the core of The Tinwife," he said. "In this universe the male-driven society is in a sense trying to perfect the woman in their own eyes. They want to achieve, want to recreate the woman and love to suit them, that's the setup of the film."
He's excited about the opportunities a screening in Hollywood may bring, as well as the chance to meet other filmmakers.
"Maybe that, in and of itself, will produce an opportunity that maybe you'll find yourself working on a project with someone that you met at a festival; maybe that turns into another film or collaboration."
The film will have its Saskatoon premiere on Sept. 30 at the Broadway Theatre, with the cast and crew on hand for the event.
with files from Guy Quenneville