The People Behind The Film
You can tell from the moment Simonee Chichester’s face appears on the computer screen that it is a face to be taken seriously, despite the huge smile. There’s a directness to her gaze, a strength to her voice and she is obviously comfortable in her body. This… is an independent woman. Not that this was a surprise. Captivus is a light hearted film that could almost be a sex farce but at its core is a message, which is delivered both explicitly and symbolically. It’s almost as if Joe Orton and Woody Allen had sat down together after a particularly heavy drinking session.
Simonee’s independence is almost certainly rooted in her unorthodox family history, which she has mined for her own material. Most notably in her highly successful film, Chichester’s Choice.
He had a lot of adventures… and he enjoyed being on the road… and so I was trying to honour that way of life.
Chichester’s choice is a documentary about her journey to the streets of Sao Paolo in search of her dying, homeless father after 25 years apart. Read that last sentence again. It deserves not to be skimmed.This was her first film and it was the start of her move away from acting and into writing / directing.
She then focused on Captivus. Two versions of Captivus were made. There was a shorter version than we’ve shown, which was made for a Canadian arts foundation called BravoFact. Although this shorter version has been more successful, we felt that the film needed to be shown in it’s entire glory so that the characters could be seen fully rounded. It came about as a result of Simonee attending the Canadian Film Centre and hearing a pitch by Dane Clark. When the course was over she approached Dane and they worked together to produce the script. Part of the humour and pathos in the film comes from the fact that Kurt can’t let go of his ex-wife Kate and, in a very physical way, vice-versa. However, Kate is a Lesbian.
If you’re a writer, director or film maker you should look out for those voices that aren’t always showcased because they keep things fresh.
Simonee has a mission to work with actors that she knows deserve to be seen more than they are. So she uses performers that she knows. Her husband, Paul Fox, is a TV & film director who has worked on Schitts Creek, which I just had to let you know. Hang on… ok, I’ve stopped giggling now. Anyway, through him she met Aidan Devine who plays Kurt and eventually talked him into playing the part. Amy Rutherford and Lina Giornofelice she met in the course of her acting days. Although all are working a fair amount, Simonee thinks that they deserve more opportunities. But we have a problem Houston, BC. Canada seems to suffer the same problems for acting talent as the rest of the world – except maybe the US. It’s always the same old faces on TV.
I found it a little difficult in Canada, I wish that I was a bit more inspired by stuff happening there.
Simonee is spending a couple of months away from Canada, in Los Angeles. She’s hoping to make a more permanent move in the future. Besides the upgrade in weather, she likes the wealth of opportunities out there. Even though there is a wealth of talent available in Canada, it sometimes seems those people do not get the chance to showcase that.
I wanted to use my voice to talk to people and affect positive change and get them thinking critically…
Like so many people we come across in the movie industry, whether they are actors, directors, producers or whatever, Simonee isn’t sitting back waiting for something to happen in her life. She has three projects up and running at the moment including a feature called Merv which is in pre-production. The script for Merv won the Kodak New Vision Mentorship Award. We’re eagerly awaiting ‘Along for the ride’, the pseudo follow-up film to ‘Chichester’s Choice’.
We’d like to thank Simonee Chichester for speaking to us and hope that she’s able to produce more astonishing work for us to enjoy.