Frontieres is an amazing, international co-production market and genre showcase of up-and-coming filmmakers and projects (and sometimes established professionals). It started out at Fantasia in Montreal, but has now spread to other locations in Brussels, Cannes, and Amsterdam.
Sadly, I couldn't make it to Montreal in time for the main pitches, but I did manage to catch the spotlights, Created by Women and Arctic Chills. The Arctic Chills pitches were for short film projects being whittled down for space in a horror anthology. It sounds like some projects who don't get into the anthology might even get a feature developed, which is a pretty cool consolation prize.
The Arctic Chills pitches were more of a workshop than the fully formed pitches we're used to seeing at Frontieres. The writers and directors presenting were quite green, but that's understandable as they're from indigenous filmmakers from the circumpolar Arctic. Representation --- and a seat for everyone at the table --- is important. That said, the attending audience would have benefited from more information from these pitches. The mentors giving feedback and asking questions of the presenters often asked about what seemed like crucial pieces of information that were missing from the pitches. But I'm up for whatever the final anthology is; many stories focused on the horrors of white colonialization, the loss of cultural identity, and folklore and myths to that region. I wish them all luck. In any case, I'm sure that attending Frontieres was an informative and positive learning experience.
Created by Women revealed six projects by Canadian female writers and directors, presented by Telefilm Canada and Women in Film + Television Vancouver. These projects range in scope from early-to-late development with budgets from $250K - $5 million.
Interspecies Family Therapy is described by its creator Carleen Kyle as "a dark comedy told in flashbacks that is deadly serious" and "if Donald Trump was a vampire" that keeps hunting and killing the mother in his family throughout time. They're vampires who can reincarnate, and the teenager in the story is a 60-year-old vampire who wants to stop her dad from building his army. This one has so many ideas --- getting high and going to regression therapy to reveal past lives --- that it might work better as a series.
A Method by Nicole Steeves is about a horror film director struggling to get her feature made due to finances and other obstacles. (I feel you.) In a fit of desperation, she kidnaps a movie star/method actor --- for her movie about kidnapping. Because he's so method, he goes along with it, which I find hilarious. Of course, things don't go as planned, and the film within this film is a flop. That's when the method actor vows to kill the director --- just like his character in the film. I'd definitely watch this one; here's hoping it gets made.
My Other from Maude Michaud had the most confident pitch of the bunch. Mike lives in a small town working a dead-end job when he realizes the mother who abandonded him has died. Through these circumstances, he discovers that he has a half-brother, Liam. Well, Liam is the opposite of Mike, living a flashy life in Miami. What pays for this lavish lifestyle? Crime, of course, and in this case, it's organ harvesting on the black market! Mike gets pulled into Liam's seductive life, and the boundaries between them blur, ala Dead Ringers and the Hannibal TV series. I'd love to see this project get made.
Described as a "Jewish Buffy," Opal by Sandi Gisbert is about Opal, a girl who tries to sell her soul only to discover that she doesn't have one --- so what happened to it? With the help of a rabbi, Opal discovers her mother's dark secrets in this supernatural thriller --- and develops the ability to eat souls. Who doesn't want that? Mmmmm, tasty, tasty souls...
With Storage, screenplay and Haiku writer Jessica Tremblay is seeking a director for her project about a woman who has an issue with trusting men, due to the fact that her father abandonded her in the woods as a kid. She's not sure she wants to get married and is forbidden to go into the storage room, where of course, she finds something she's not supposed to.
The Truth About Lightning by writer Alison Hepburn (with director Audrey Cummings attached) is meant to be a big budget sci-fi film for kids --- starring all girls on an adventure, instead of the usual four boys and one girl we often see in these kinds of films. One of the girls discovers an alien invasion, and --- shocker --- no one believes her, so it's up to her to stop the aliens and save the planet.
Let's hear it for girl heroes, lady filmmakers, and another incredible season of Frontieres!