Two summers ago I painted my grandma’s fence. I would generally show up around eight or nine in the morning, work for two or three hours, and then come in and sit at the kitchen table where grandma would pour me bottomless cups of coffee while I tried to keep paint off of her freshly-laundered placemats. I’d sit there and sip coffee and sometimes grandma would tell me stories about when she was my age and how she met my grandfather and all that. I wondered how they ever fell in love without cell phones. I figured I’d try and find out by making a movie about it.
A year later, I found out that Telefilm was launching a new MicroBudget film program aimed at giving emerging Canadian filmmakers an opportunity to produce their first features through the various independent film co-ops across the country. I sat down and wrote the movie I’d always wanted to write, set in the world of my grandma’s youth. I pitched it to my co-op, but they elected to go another way. Confident I’d written a movie worth making, I started thinking about other options. I took the script to Bonnie Thompson, an Oscar-nominated documentary producer at the National Film Board who gave me my first ever job in the film industry in Alberta. She said she liked the movie, but that there aren’t a lot of producers who do this sort of thing here. She told me to make a short film, to introduce people to the world of the movie and stimulate their curiosity. I took her advice to heart and put pen to grant application. Five months later a letter arrived saying that the Alberta Foundation For The Arts had decided to give me twelve thousand dollars to go and make a movie. I tried to remember ever feeling anything like the feeling of getting that letter and drew a blank.
Approximately forty-eight hours ago, we wrapped principal photography on This Wind. The film is one scene from the feature I wrote almost a year ago now, tweaked and refined and honed to become its own little self-contained entity. Our wonderful actors Andrew and Cayley took the characters I’d written and made them entirely their own, while we, the filmmakers, put the camera in the ground and tried our absolute best to be in the right place at the right time. We completely took over a family’s house and land for a day and were treated like long-lost family instead of as the strange invaders we were. We raced against the sun as it got lower and lower in the sky and pleaded for enough daylight to finish the movie even as we slowly began to understand the absurdity of a handful of tiny life forms playing with clumsy little toys asking for forces as old as time to bend to their will. In the end, I think we took some incredible pictures and recorded some truly wonderful moments between two people who would never have existed at all if it wasn’t for everyone who gave a day of their life to be there in that field and stoke the fires of their creation. I’m endlessly grateful to those people.
I can’t wait to show you this film. Stay tuned.
Until next time.