Way back in Berlin this February I updated everyone on the progress of Replace, a very cool psychological thriller / body horror film that Colin and I are working on. It’s a Canadian-German co-pro and we’re thrilled to be working with David Miller (Siddharth, Blackbird, Amal, countless other great Canadian films) and the writer-director and producer team who we affectionately refer to as “our Germans”, Norbert Keil and Felix von Poser.
In Berlin we announced that the film was happening. In Cannes, we announce that we’ve almost locked our cast – Rebecca Forsythe (she’s this guy‘s daughter but she got the role on her own merits), German model-actress Lisa Tomaschewsky, and two Canucks – Ksenia Solo & Michael Ironside (did you know he was Canadian? He is).
Guess who I’m most excited about?
All of them, of course. C’mon, I don’t play favourites! Anyway, here’s the Playback article about it. Wheee!
I am working on a regular festival diary for my first (successful!) day in the market but in the meantime, I have to share this fabulous news.
One of the projects I’m working on has finally been announced – a press release went out last night and it’s already getting a lot of great buzz. Replace is a smart and unique horror/thriller from a very talented writer/director. It features a cool female protagonist (a thing that I love) and is, in my humble opinion, totally going to kick ass. One look at the poster image and you’re sold, am I right?
They misspelled my name in The Hollywood Reporter, but y’know what, I’m not gonna quibble too much:
The press release went out today and it’s already hit other sites like Bloody Disgusting and Dread Central among others. We’ve been working on this cool project for over a year and it’s such a pleasure to be able to share it with the world, finally!
Looking forward to sharing the rest of the adventure with our Canadian partners at Agency 71 and 108 Media, and the German Writer-Director Norbert Keil and Producer Felix von Poser, the team who we affectionately refer to as “our Germans”. Congrats to all. A really terrific way to kick off EFM this year.
This past week has been scheduling hell. It’s also been super fun and really exciting, don’t get me wrong. But damn.
As I mentioned in a previous post, this past week was the week of multiple filmmaker visits. First, the very awesome director and producer duo of The Demon’s Rook came to town for an intensive four day colour correction blitz.
I’ve never seen colour correction done before. I was fascinated by the extent to which they could not only change the colours in a scene – changing flat-looking grass into a vibrant green, for example – but also how easily they could re-light a scene in order to draw the eye to a particular part of the frame and focus the viewer’s attention. The process was done for us as a favour (a huge and expensive and incredibly generous favour), but it certainly made me realize how crucial the process is. The Demon’s Rook was already a super fun movie, and it already looked good. Colour correction just made it look so much more polished and slick that it’s as if we doubled or tripled the budget in those four days.
Now we just have to sit back and wait for the festival invitations to start rolling in, I guess. Knock on wood. Fingers crossed.
The second pair of filmmakers (our adorable Germans) were in town to talk to potential Canadian partners in order to hopefully make a deal that will allow the film to get financed and move forward. We have assembled several Canadian partners who can bring a lot to the project. Naturally, they will want something in exchange for their contribution – a stake in the project.
This means that the German producer has a tough choice to make – is he willing to give up a chunk of the control over the project in exchange for the possibility of actually getting it made. No matter how great the deal looks, it’s got to be tough. He’s spent two years working very hard on this, and now he has to give a portion of it away and trust that others won’t muck it up.
While all this has been happening, I’ve also been trying to put together an application form for some funding for the project I’m working on with Peter Lynch. I feel like that film is supposed to be my top priority, but I had to neglect it this week because everything else was happening all at the same time. Stressful.
Next week, when life goes “back to normal” (ha ha), I will hopefully catch up on all the work (and laundry) that I’ve neglected this week. As July is around the corner, I also have to start focusing on prep for our end-of-July trip to the Fantasia festival in Montreal, where Colin and I will be attending the Frontieres international co-production market, representing The Void (by team Manborg). Hopefully, all this upcoming work will be interesting and informative to write about, and all my blog posts won’t end up being the same “oooh, I’m sooooooo busyyyyyy” nonsense. Let’s hope.
I’m back in Toronto post-Cannes, and I have to face just how busy my summer is going to be. As a way to procrastinate writing my immediate to do lists, I though it’d be good to list the projects I’m working on this summer, here on the blog, since I hope to write about them over the next few months, and I want you all to know what I’m talkin’ about when I refer to each.
I’m currently juggling three film projects, on top of my consulting work with REEL CANADA (which will itself keep me busy for one or two days per week through the summer). The films are all in different stages of development (or completion), and my role is pretty different in each case. On the first film listed below, I’m not getting paid anything. I’m happy to do it in exchange for a producing credit, because that’s meaningful for me as well. The other two films might pay out eventually, once all the funding has been raised and I can get my allotted fee, but those paydays are a long way away, so for the foreseeable future, I’m just gambling on these projects actually getting made. It’s a big gamble, and I’ll be both busy and a little bit broke for a while, but I gave up my secure full time job last year because I really believed I could make a go of it as an independent producer, so fingers crossed, right?
So, anyway, the films.
First, The Demon’s Rook. Those of you who are friends with me on Facebook and/or Twitter may have noticed a few weeks ago that I posted about getting my first IMDB credit on this low-budget horror film from just outside of Atlanta, Georgia. The film is almost done, and my involvement is in helping the director and producer polish it up and get it out into the world.
The film may be almost done, but the next few weeks and months will still be pretty busy as we hustle to submit it to various festivals around the world. If (when!) it gets into some of those, we’ll have to start promoting the hell out of it and trying to get a sales agents on board who might be able to help us get the film out into the world on DVD and VOD after its festival run.
The second project I’m working on is a cool film called Replace, which is shaping up to be a German / Canadian co-production. The film has a completed script and a few key elements into place, and we’re now trying to attach the right Canadian partners so that we can access some funding and hopefully shoot the film here sometime in the fall or winter. Thankfully, I’m just a support player on this project, helping to match the German side with some great Canadians who can help make it happen. I’m not responsible for raising the money myself, and thank goodness, because I haven’t figured out how to do that yet.
In a couple of weeks, the director and producer of The Demon’s Rook are coming to town to do some colour correction*, and the director and producer of Replace will also be flying in, from Munich, to meet with some potential partners. It’s coincidentally bad timing (or just hectic-as-f*#% timing), in the sense that I’ll be trying to juggle my REEL CANADA work, my other projects, and hosting two sets of filmmakers in town all at the same time.
The final project, which will actually be occupying the bulk of my time this summer, is one I’m working on with Canadian director Peter Lynch. It’s a cool murder mystery with noir elements and it’s at a similar stage of development as Replace. The script is mostly done, and we’re trying to line up cast and financing with the hope of shooting sometime in early 2014. I’m not sure if that sounds like a long way off to you, but to me it sounds terrifyingly soon. On this film, I’m working together with Peter on the nuts and bolts of putting it together. Rather than being a peripheral player, I’m actually on the front lines of producing this one. This is probably the project I will spend the summer blogging most about (the title is TBD, we’re working on it) as I navigate the various steps, from applying for funding, to putting together the key creative team, to casting, and so on. Since this is the project I’m most hands on with, I am anxious to knock it out of the park.