Canada’s Got Talent

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There is nothing quite so satisfying as having your belief in the ability, and talent of someone you’ve extolled, vindicated. Not even a cream tea. So imagine our delight when Anthony Scott Burns, whose film Manifold we had already discovered for Snoovies, sent us an email, via the writhing guts of the world wide web, to let us know that his pitch to Plan B had been successful. He was soon going to be directing his first feature, Alpha – a Sci-Fi project written by Daniel H. Wilson. In case you have no idea why that’s exciting, Plan B is the production company owned by Brad Pitt, and the source of a ridiculous number of successful films including Kick-Ass, 12 Years a Slave, The Departed, World War Z and Kick-Ass 2 (cue sudden sound of record scratching) … well, we all make mistakes.

Anthony is originally from Vancouver and, in an incredible coincidence, we have another film maker from a different city altogether, which is (…you’ll never guess…) also in Canada! But that’s not the end of the matter. We have just interviewed yet another filmmaker from a completely different city that is (yes, you’ve got it) in Canada. What are the odds? It felt like we were being given a sign. Someone (or something) was trying to tell us something. Then we realised. Of course! We should write a blog about film-makers who live in cities. Eventually we realised that nearly all our film makers live in cities so we adopted contingency Plan B (see what I did there?) and decided to feature film makers from Canada.

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Here we offer three that we think give an idea of the range available, but Canada is actually flooded with quality talent. It was only recently, in our global search for short films, that we came across a company called Bravo… and verily didst our eyes shoot forth from our sockets, and our tongues did unravel unto the ground. For it was good. Since 1995 Bravo has helped 1500 short film makers based in Canada. They are responsible for a huge amount of output every month and, although they have a team who vet pitches from potential producers, the range and styles are impressive. From experimental, through to music videos, comedy and drama, the shorts are usually well filmed and very slick. Anthony Scott Burns is one of their beneficiaries as is Simonee Chichester, who shot Captivus. Simonee is releasing Along for the Ride this year, which was shot in Brazil with Arts Council Funding (I think I want to move to Canada), and it’s a follow up to her very successful first feature, Chichester’s Choice, about re-connecting with her drifter father. She is also working on her original screenplay MERV, which won the 2012 Women in Film and Television Kodak New Vision Mentorship Award – now that’s what I call a title. As it happens our next big campaign is ‘Women in Film’, and BravoFact is also commissioning a special season of shorts by female directors.

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Meanwhile, across town, our other Canadian producer, Gregory Gan (Ghost in the Machine) comes from a thoroughly academic background, and his films tend to be ethnographic projects related to his PhD, so he doesn’t qualify for Bravo funding. Gregory, however, is our most recent addition to the Snoovies family, and produces very thought provoking and beautifully shot films. Gregory has completed his post-production on The Theory of Happiness and, according to his website, will have some exciting news in the next few weeks. This film is a kind of companion piece to his earlier Turning Back The Waves, in that it was made as a result of his time spent in Russia. At the moment neither of these films are available on-line but we’ll keep an eye out for them.

I tell ya – it’s all happening here at Snoovies – the happy, happening happ… hap … app (sigh).

Anyway, don’t be surprised if, over the coming months, we shall be featuring quite a few Canadian shorts. You’ll be able to see them and all the shorts mentioned above on Snoovies app – available to download here.

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Text by Karsten Huttenhain





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