Two Fredericton Filmmakers are Headed to Cannes.
A lot can happen in six months.
Since debuting last fall during the Silverwave Film Festival, Pop, a short film written and directed by Fredericton filmmaker Ryan O’Toole, has caught the attention of some major players on the Canadian film scene. The film was recently selected to be part of Telefilm Canada’s Not Short of Talent program. Films selected for this program are screened and promoted on the international market, which includes a screening during the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.
In just under 13 minutes, Pop tells the story of Leslie, an up and coming pop singer on the verge of a successful music career, who suffers an identity crisis when she and her younger brother, the front man of an acclaimed punk group, return to their hometown.
“Pop pays tribute to the art of short filmmaking without attempting a rushed three act structure,” said Jillian Acreman (Columbus Avenue Pictures), the film’s producer. “Ryan doesn’t take many liberties on set because his films are so thought-out and preconceived, and you can see that in the final cut. He has a style and an attention to fine detail that makes his work standout.”
During its debut at Silverwave, Pop picked up awards for best Actress (Emily Bossé) and Best Actor (Seger Dow). The film was shot across several locations throughout Fredericton and has been recognized as a testament to O’Toole’s strong sense of visual narrative.
“More than any filmmaker I know, Ryan knows exactly what the frame is going to look like when we arrive and he focuses his time on mastering each shot,” said Acreman. “When you put all of these shots together, there’s a cohesiveness about the film that stands out, and it’s seamless. Submitting Pop to Telefilm was a long shot, but I had a good, gut feeling about it. I hoped they’d see what I did both in Ryan as an artist, as well as the film.”
Acreman and O’Toole plan to make the most of this opportunity. Next month the pair will be traveling to Cannes to meet with some of the industry’s biggest players.
“Cannes is the biggest film market in the world and while thousands of filmmakers compete to sell their work in the global market place, this opportunity gives us a great advantage,” said Acreman. “We’ll still be among them, but having Telefilm’s support and endorsement will hopefully give us a boost and aid in our success.”
Obviously, O’Toole is equally inspired by the opportunities this screening may present.
“It has a lot of potential, career-wise, in terms of connections with Telefilm, Canadian producers and filmmakers, and maybe even international producers,” he said. “I just want to meet people who are interested in making interesting work.”
The announcement came as a bit of a shock for O’Toole who was starting to feel his film had run its course.
“It was rejected by a few festivals,” said O’Toole. “I had lost all hope for it getting into Short on Talent at Cannes.”
Since the release of Pop last fall, both Acreman and O’Toole have been busy working on other projects including another collaboration. Acreman will shoot her fifth short film, Marigolds, this summer with O’Toole in the lead role.
“An opportunity to be in one of Jillian’s films is exciting because before she even knew me, I was a fan of her work,” said O’Toole. “I remember watching local films as a bratty teen, not getting excited about much but her films always spoke to me and excited me. I can remember telling my friends about her movies and hoping to one day meet her, and being a bit intimidated when I did. Years later I’m happy to call her not only a great collaborator, but also a great pal.”
Cannes Film Festival runs May 13 – 24, 2015.
We’re guessing more information will be posted at Canada Cannes in the near future.