Two Okotoks filmmakers aren’t afraid to push the envelop with their work, but experience has taught them not to fool with Father Time.
“We always run right down to the line and this year we didn’t want to be stressed with that,” said Team Eagle’s Dave Elder after its film The Final Cut won the 48-Hour film Challenge at the Okotoks Film Festival on Sunday. “This year, we picked a premise that could easily be done in one location, work with the actors we had – people from The Eagle – we learned from our mistakes.”
The Final Cut, directed by Elder and Logan Coutts, was a slasher-flick done in a Blair Witch Project style, which featured more radio personalities than an episode of WKRP in Cincinnati. Elder played a nerdy blogger who is continually heckled by his boss and co-workers at the office.
Elder goes into Jason-Freddy Krueger mode and kills them all, with techniques ranging from strangling with a tie and stabbing his obnoxious boss with a pair of scissors.
Team Eagle isn’t Psycho like Norman Bates, it was given the genre before setting out to make the film in 48 hours.
“We were given a card that said ‘found footage horror, saltshaker and ‘You had me at hello’,” Coutts said. “We had to use all three.”
They weren’t disappointed to go the horror route – and they got some inspiration while watching Shakespeare’s most violent work.
“The second we got it our eyes started to sparkle – ‘We can do horror,’” Elder said. “I was writing it in my head while I was watching (Dewdney’s) Macbeth.”
Coutts gets stabbed shortly after an annoying hello prompting the famed ‘You had me at hello’ from Elder, prior to going to work with his scissors on the bad boss.
It was the third year for the Okotoks Film Festival, which ran Friday to Sunday, and the first time it was held at the Okotoks Cinemas after previously being held at the Rotary Performing Arts Centre.
“It made all the difference,” said film festival co-ordinator Katie Fournell. “Having a screen that is made specifically for film, there is no better way to show movies.
“There is no better way in a theatre full of people, amazing sound, amazing pictures, it really makes it feel like a festival.”
Toronto’s Julia Beney, who directed her first film A Girl, A Penny and a Very, Very, Very, Long Road, attended the festival.
“I didn’t want to miss the chance to see the audience’s reaction to the film and how it connected with people,” she said. “To come out and interact with the people who have seen it — I heard some wonderful comments and I was glad that people were inspired and engaged with the film.”
She said smaller festivals are key to budding directors.
“It’s very important,” Beney said. “I was able to ask other filmmakers questions and they were able to ask me questions.”
The top picture at the festival was the Italian short film, The Aquarium. The audience choice winner was the short film Alternative Math, a humourous American film spoofing open-minded education when a teacher is scrutinized for insisting 2+2=4.
“The calibre of films we were able to screen this year has been phenomenal,” Fournell said. “Everything was elevated a little bit.”