By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
Playing at Cinecenta
University of Victoria
7pm and 9:15pm
Vancouver based writer / director Jason Bourque is certainly looking to break away from the norm. While his work in genre movies like Doomsday Prophecy and documentaries like Dreams of Flight helped establish him, the movies he directed for SyFy like Seattle Superstorm is a far cry from what he wants to express creatively. His first dramatic feature film, Black Fly, was easy to write and perhaps quite terrifying to express since a crime scene was unfolding about a well-known serial killer, Noel Winters, back when he was growing up and living in New Brunswick.
“Describing situations inspired by my personal experiences gave the script an honesty that sometimes can be difficult to find in other work,” said Bourque, “As a young teen, discovering that we had a serial killer as a neighbour left an indelible mark on me. It was a story that haunted me; I knew it was one I needed to tell.”
“And to make a feature through the Telefilm model is far more satisfying than SyFy movies. There’s no broadcaster or several executive producers to answer to,” noted Bourque, “With an indie feature, everyone’s role is to support the director’s creative vision and there’s no real limitations other than budget.”
Producers Robyn Wiener and Ken Frith were certainly on board in helping to craft this film. For Weiner, the story was not about profiling a serial killer but instead was about broken people. “It was the relationship between the brothers that most appealed to me,” said Weiner. “I was drawn to the story and while Noel’s character is not a nice one, his choices in life are a direct result of his past. The more damage someone has experienced when one is younger, the deeper the wound and the harder to heal. Jason’s take on Noel showed a brother, who still cared and loved Jake.”
In what Frith saw in the script he read back in 1996 was great potential as an independent film. “Our company, Gold Star Productions, applied and received development funding for Black Fly from Telefilm Canada two years before we began production,” said Frith. “As a producer, I was responsible for raising the projects financing, handling the business elements of the production and making sure we were in the position to make the film.”
For Bourque and Frith to work together after their years in film school as friends was not tough. They were friends first and business partners afterwards. Their fellowship never broke even when the two teamed up to produce international documentaries like Nowakowsky: A Forgotten Master.
Over at Gold Star, fellow producing partner Robyn Wiener saw potential in the script and she had an interest knowing that this director was “a team player to the nth degree.” The three worked closely together on casting decisions and creative elements to really make this film stand-out.
This movie is more than just an emotionally driven thriller about a dysfunctional family. Bourque is the type of visionary who loves to explore the dark side of the human condition. This movie is not really about the horrors of what drives people to what they do either. He classifies this product as “White Trash Noir” and is serious about it. The irony is that, according to Frith, “Jason incorporated the violent and also humorous elements from his experiences [encountering Winters] while growing up in New Brunswick.”
The people Bourque met tends to leave an indelible impression. And in this film, along with any others, to feel that connection to the characters is important for the audience. From Weiner’s perspective, modern-day horror films focus less on gore and more at delving into the horrific demons within the person. And that’s one of the reasons why she was drawn to this project.
To get Black Fly out there, this production team is planning on a limited theatrical run across Canada along with a simultaneous release for streaming and downloads via their website at www.blackflythemovie.com hopefully by March. For American and International distribution, Shoreline Entertainment will be helping to set up video on demand and film festival screenings. This film is certainly earning its wings, and with more screenings to cement this director’s creative talent outside of the genre scene, there’s no doubt that Bourque’s career will fly high.