Saturday, 9 May 2015

PLaYR Video Festival a short film stop for TPE Productions

Festival Debut May 13 2015 Rainbow Cinema
I'm always the procrastinator. The two entries TPE put forward to be in the York Region Film and Media Festival, now called the Playr Video Festival I believe, and which has movie house locations set up at various locales across Y.R. for the duration of the festival at which you can attend for free, are not my most recent! But they deserved a release despite their owners tardiness.

That's right...free! I was surprised when I heard that, but it makes good sense to try and get people in the seats for a newish festival still finding it's place, but this keeps the Y.R. version rather unique. It's not so rulesy as some and has enough categories to keep things interesting, from emerging to pro.

The first was a short drama called Shoots, Scores that has little to do with hockey, and more to do with youth and relationships and mental health with a fateful twist left to the imagination that acts as a turning point.

It was originally shot as part of The Quest for Youth organized yearly by the Y.R.D.S.B. and I'd been asked to write a piece for it which was themed " Mental health, coming out of the shadows", thus you see shadows imagery throughout.

Tom Pearson
Because it was originally shot to jump to live from live stage action to music to live art, I probably should have reworked the transitions or voice-overed a poem left out that was part of the original mix, but in the end it is what it is and stands alone as a short film. It still gives a message in its own unique way, leaving the ending and "interpretation' of what you see, up to the viewer.

TP asked everyday people their thoughts on the issue
 My Actors had no experience - some with special needs - and I had to act as Camera Operator, Lighting, Director and Actor during it as well as try and get an inexperienced but eager Editor to go faster... trying desperately to duplicate what i wanted with limied software..Even the music, if you want to call it that, I created on my keyboard at home. Ha..In the end it's a great job by the cast though, with my hope that in the end there could be seen no difference between kids. I think it works that way. At the end of the day its a short with some disturbing intimations that make the viewer think...and that's all I wanted to do with it with Jason Baulch and Mark Cardinelli's performances in particular an added bonus in my eyes. Creepy Guy played by Keith Campbell was also worth an honourable mention. Here's some Clips.

At Thin Pink Line

I decide to enter A Thin Pink Line because I was once hired to produce the world's first same sex wedding show, held in 1995 at Metro Toronto Convention Centre, when it was just becoming legal. Now in its 10th anniversary year of becoming legal in Canada coupled with the USA political landscape towards similar sentiment, I believe it very fitting, as A Thin Pink Line was a behind the scenes snapshot of that time period, including flying in couples from places where banned to marry legally. One contest winning couple came to marry here from Nebraska, where same sex marriage is still outlawed today. The couples appeared in the media and in tv shows drawing attention to the issue and TPE saw fit to capture it all and use a shadow documentary crew to follow me around.

As soon as I'd heard one well known tux and wedding apparel rental chain, bowed out because they'd heard of others getting death threats for  renting to a gay wedding, I knew this was worth documenting. At that point, whether I agreed with the marriage thing or not, it became personal. These people were corporate bullies and treating people with disrespect.

Even I myself had been on the fence admittedly at the time about the issue of same sex marriage or rather didn't really care until then, as were many. Hell our spokesperson and one of the performers for the event, Carole Pope, didn't believe in the institution of marriage! Even certain media channels were reluctant to take our wedding show ads or call back.
Carole Pope flanked by Canada's first legal gay couple

Protesters at Queens Park, to people on the street, were interviewed and asked their opinion and not all favourable, with some outlandish remarks uttered by some and captured by our crew, " These people have a sexual disorder", and on..So obviously at some point my Filmmaker mind kicked in and said - Hey I can produce this live show and capture the story too!"...And so that's what we did. This 10 minute short is but a miniscule portion of the feature length version which you can look forward to a a release from sometime in the future.

Are they the best I can do? Not yet but the best stories. And I've worked much bigger budgets for films like Hansel & Gretel with Taylor Mumsen or Miracle Dogs with Kate Jackson, Betty White etc. But it's not always about the Film Maker or even the Actors, it's the subject matter... and sometimes the subjects aren't pretty but that doesn't make the messages any less important.

Shoots scores teaches we've come a long ways in identifying mental health as a disease and recognizing the rights and treatment of  victims and sufferers and A Thin Pink Line reminds there was a fight for the rights for transgenders, gays and lesbians to marry, and so such films need be made. Lest we forget.


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