After the incredible success of their first feature, Cast No Shadow, Christian Sparkes, Allison White and Chris Agoston, of Away Films, Sara Fost Pictures and The Screen Asylum, are continuing to pursue their passion for filmmaking. The three are working together on their next feature, which they hope to shoot this summer.
Allison credits the assistance the filmmakers received from the Talent Fund-supported Micro-Budget Production Program for making the production of their first feature possible and with helping them to further develop their careers: “The Program helped us develop a lot of relationships and was good promotion us as filmmakers — It was also great practice for what to expect as we go on to make more films.”
The trio’s next project, Hammer, written by Christian Sparkes, explores the lives of friends who move out west and become involved with drug gangs in Vancouver and Seattle. Action-packed, it retains a strong emotional core, revealing the effects of the friends’ activities on their suburban middle-class families.
At the same time, Christian is prepping for a new travel series for TV5, Hors Circuits. Allison is also developing a fantasy survivalist feature set during the resettlement of Newfoundland in the early 1950s. Produced in partnership with Rhombus Media and directed by Stephen Dunn (Closet Monster), What Waits For Them in Darkness follows Skipper, an 11-year-old girl who, along with her ailing mother, finds herself adrift in their house, aimlessly floating on the North Atlantic.
Welcome to F.L. (Bienvenue à F.L.), a documentary touching on the universal theme of adolescence, was written and directed by Geneviève Dulude-De Celles. Produced by Sarah Mannering and Fanny Drew (Colonelle films), the film premiered at TIFF then went on to the Montreal International Documentary Festival (Recontres Internationales du Documentaire de Montréal - RIDM), where it won the award for Best New Talent From Quebec/Canada.
It also screened at several international festivals, including in Spain and Romania, and was nominated at the Canadian Screen Awards for Best Cinematography in a Feature Length Documentary and Best Editing in a Feature Length Documentary. For a first documentary, the film had an exceptionally strong theatrical release, showing in seven theatres for several weeks. The film was sold to TV5, and the producers hope to make it available on iTunes soon.
The film received extensive media coverage, including in Le Devoir, La Presse, Montreal Gazette and on Radio-Canada.
Developed with funding from SODEC, Welcome to F.L. received additional financing support from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (CALQ) and the Talent Fund-supported Micro-Budget Production Program.
For producer Sarah Mannering and the team, the experience of creating a first feature was extremely informative: “We learned a lot and developed working methods that we hope to hone in the future,” she says. The experience helped them gain credibility and make needed connections. “Getting support from Canadian cultural institutions is a defining moment for the rest of our career. We have to have faith in the next generation of filmmakers and give them the opportunity to express themselves. Emerging talents are there and they’re very strong.”
The team’s next project—and first narrative feature film—Une Colonie, will also be written and directed by Geneviève Dulude-De Celles. Shooting is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2017.
Fire Song, written, directed and co-produced by Adam Garnet Jones, had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in 2015. The film then toured extensively on the festival circuit, including at Indigenous and LGBT events, traveling as far as Australia and New Zealand. “When we trying to get it made,” Adam says, “people were unsure that there would be an audience for the film. But niche content actually made it easier to connect with an audience.”
The film won those audiences over, taking home the Audience Choice Award at ImagineNATIVE 2015, the Audience Choice Award for Best Narrative Feature at Reelout, Best Film at Rainbow Reels, and the RBC Best of Show Audience Choice Award and the Jury Prize for Best Canadian Film at the Queer North Film Festival. With its broadcast premiere on APTN this March, Adam is thrilled Fire Song will continue to be seen by a wider audience. He’s also pleased with “the impact this film has had on other peoples’ lives.”
Adam credits the Talent Fund-supported Micro-Budget Production Program with providing the needed financing to allow him and the film’s all-Indigenous team to make the award-winning film.
Adam’s latest feature, Great Great Great, premiered at the Canadian Film Festival in Toronto this March, winning Best Feature, Best Screenplay and Best Performance in a Feature Film. Co-written with and starring his long-time colleague Sarah Kolasky, the film looks at a relationship where everything is “fine” but where those involved feel pressure to strengthen the current relationship or do something else. The female protagonist decides to pursue both routes simultaneously.
Adam is definitely a filmmaker who’s not one to shy away from tough issues... Keep your eyes out for both Fire Song and Great Great Great at future screenings and online platforms.