Tag Archives: Shandi Mitchell

Film Fest Fantasia

28 Sep

The DisapperedThe film fest has come and gone;  like a gust of wind that you’re not sure you’ll survive, and then all of a sudden it is gone, and you realize that you miss its cold breeze already.

The 32nd Atlantic Film Fest was  a smashing success. I felt lucky to be involved this year, as a film that Rose and I had been Unit Publicists on opened the Atlantic Film Fest on Friday night for the Atlantic Choice, followed by the Atlantic Gala at Taboo.

The first showing of The Disappeared sold out so quickly that they added a second showing on Saturday afternoon. Which, by all accounts, is amazing! The Disappeared is an amazing character study of six men lost at sea in Nova Scotia. It was really well received by both crowds and seemed to really leave people thinking. We were thrilled to see media coverage in newspapers, online, on TV and on the radio.

One of the producers and I talked about how the film has been described as a “thinking person’s movie.” We disagreed with this point, in a way. It is not really a thinking persons movie. Anyone can watch the film and understand what is happening. But it is a “pondering person’s movie.” This film  STAYS WITH YOU. You will think about it days later, and reflect on your own fragile being. You will think about relationships, what really matters and back to how six men clung to hope when no hope was left.

Since premiering at the Atlantic Film Fest, the film has gone on to fests in Sudbury and Calgary, to great success, and will be at the Edmonton and Vancouver film fests soon. If you did not get a chance to see this wonderful film yet, I sure hope you do in the future, or you’ll be waiting for its 2013 theatrical release.

The rest of the film fest was great. The city comes alive every year with AFF, with more people buzzing around, lots of happenings and lots of meeting of like-minded people. I felt very fortunate to attend the Village Sound Gala complete with a full dapper dressed swing band and sushi for everyone.

I also attended the CBC Atlantic Choice Shorts and experienced every emotion possible in one night. I was laughing my head off at Mike Clattenburg’s newest  project , the short Cracking Down Hard. Then, I almost cried when I watched Andrew MacCormack’s Here and Away. MacCormack’s short was an amazingly poetic look at the differences between life in the city and the country. It was a great mix of films, with so many different themes and emotions.

One thing I came away from AFF thinking, is gosh, darn, damn, this region of the world has a lot of talent. We have a lot of people creating, working hard and making amazing things happen. It was a huge thrill to be a part of the festival, to feel so proud of something you had a small part in. And it’s another chance to walk away, feeling inspired. Feeling like you certainly can do anything, it is just a matter of making it happen.

L

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Lost at Sea, Found Self

10 Jun

Photo by Mike Tompkins

It’s hard to imagine being lost at sea; powerless against the unwavering power of the ocean. Having been lucky to screen The Disappeared this past week, we have some more insight into what that could be like. The stark reality of nothing but the waves, the weather, with scant supplies, little food. Nothing to occupy your time but your thoughts. Mental survival almost seems scarier than the physical survival.

The Disappeared is a visually striking film – no doubt as it was shot entirely at sea. The ocean landscapes, the weather, the sky – beautiful and terrifying. The visuals take your breath away. (We know what a small budget the film had, and it`s so amazing to see that a little money doesn`t compromise a finished product – which speaks volume about the creative team and their ingenuity, led by writer/director Shandi Mitchell & DOP Christoher Porter.)

Shandi Mitchell has written a beautiful and honest story. It shouldn’t be something to marvel at, but Mitchell, a female writer/director has utterly captured these six men, and has written a tale about six fishermen lost at sea, something you wouldn’t expect from a Prairie girl and marvel we did. Shandi has much insight with male characters – something shown in her award-winning novel, Under This Unbroken Sky. She said so much with her carefully crafted words and limited but beautiful visuals. Limited in the sense that it is the ocean, two dories and six men. The Disappeared is not boring within these limits. Suspense, beauty, despair, discovery, hope, human connections, strength – all of this is felt in the movie. The film reminded us of Drive in the sense where there is so much said with carefully chosen words.

The six actors – Billy Campbell, Shawn Doyle, Brian Downey, Ryan Doucette, Gary Levert & Neil Matheson – deliver stunning performances. It is these six men, two dories and the ocean. What good fucking actors – they have brought this story alive. So much is conveyed with a hand placement or flash of the eye. You are with these men on this harrowing journey; willingly lost with them as they struggle with themseleves, each other, and rally against her. The ocean, the films’ sixth character, has a personality and seemingly has dialogue as she heaves and torments the men.

We may be biased, having worked on this film, but we’re also honest. It’s a lovely film,  and a film many people will be able to connect too. Over the centuries, many have been lost to the sea. Living on Canada’s East Coast this Maritime tale is a familiar one, and one familiar to many Coasts all over the world.

The lucky ones who return home have encountered something so few of us can comprehend, andThe Disappearedis a beautiful, thoughtful and harrowing discovery of it. We’re very fortunate to have had an early viewing – the rest of you will have to wait until fall.

And…as a quick aside and pat on the backs, it is  awesome seeing your names in movie credits! First time, big excitement.

The Disappeared

31 Mar

Billy Campbell and Ryan Doucette in The Disappeared.
Photo by Mike Tompkins


The Disappeared
is a feature film that was shot off the coast of Lunenburg, NS in September 2011. LoRoPR was fortunate to be on board as the unit publicist. Our first time working as a unit publicist on a film on our own – ie not working at an agency. What an amazing experience!A stunning script, interesting story, handsome actors, a great crew and the ocean! The film was actually shot ON the ocean, in two vintage dories and on a custom-built shooting raft/barge. As this was an independent feature, it was really interesting to see how a teeny budget was able to accomplish shooting at sea – something usually only big budget productions do!

Starring Billy Campbell ( The Killing, Once & Again, and yep, the Rocketeer!), Shawn Doyle (Big Love, Grown Up Movie Star, Endgame), Brian Downey (Lexx, Hobo With a Shotgun), Gary Levert (Heart of Rhyme, Moby Dick, Bag of Bones), Ryan Doucette (Cloudburst, Charlie Zone) and Neil Alan Matheson, The Disappeared tells the story of six fishermen lost in the North Atlantic. The Disappeared was written and directed by Shandi Mitchell, film maker and author of the award-winning Under This Unbroken Sky.

It is a true Maritime tale – not just for the Maritimes as in a region of Canada – but maritime communities around the world. Did you know that from the town of Lunenburg alone something like over 600 men have been lost at sea? (Not a proper statistic, just using my memory.) I am sure many of us living on the East Coast know a fisherman, and maybe don’t think how they risk their lives every day by making their living from the sea.

What we think is really special about the film is the fact that it is true storytelling, a human story; viewers go on a journey with these men, and are invested. So many films these days are about an event or a string of hijinks, while The Disappeared is six men in two dories, alone on the Atlantic, with just their thoughts and interactions. Having seen an almost final cut a few weeks back, we can attest to its powerful and thoughtful impact.

Find The Disappeared online at http://thedisappearedthefilm.com/. Follow them on Twitter and Like them on Facebook!