Victoria filmmaker Jeremy Lutter scouts locations in Widgeon Marsh in Maple Ridge.

Powerhouse filmmakers screen at Cannes, launch new funding challenge

Film project earns the attention of the National Screen Institute

Love demands sacrifice.

The central theme of Victoria filmmakers Jeremy Lutter and Daniel Hogg’s latest film, Floodplain, could also be applied to the difficult process of shooting it.

The coming-of-age tale follows Vic and Duncan, as the young couple fulfills their childhood promise to raft across a floodplain in Invermere, B.C.

It’s a story that both director Lutter and writer/producer Hogg identify with, but it’s also one that requires a certain degree of sacrifice when it comes to filming almost entirely on an isolated marsh outside of Maple Ridge.

“The nature of the project is inherently challenging with these actors out on the water. … We need boats and water safety people and locations that we’re looking at all have location fees attached,” said Hogg, who adapted the script from a short story by D.W. Wilson, a University of Victoria writing department grad and winner of the BBC National Short Story Award.

“I also think it’s a beautiful story, a story that deserves to be told,” Hogg added.

The folks at the National Screen Institute agreed. This spring Floodplain was awarded the national film and television training school’s drama prize, which includes ongoing mentoring and $30,000 in cash and in-kind services towards the production of the seven-to-10-minute film.

“Unfortunately, it was for movie-related services, not marine-related services,” Lutter said with a laugh. “I don’t know why on Earth I would choose to shoot a film based on a raft. Most people shoot protagonists and antagonists in a room, sitting down and talking at a dinner table.”

The filmmakers are now faced with the challenge of fundraising for the cost of constructing the raft, as well as the additional costs associated with filming safely on the water.

For this they set a fundraising goal of $3,500 on crowd-funding site indiegogo.com, where supporters can track the progress of the film and receive perks, such as original storyboards, for donating to the creative campaign.

Based on the success of Lutter’s last film, donors can expect their cash will be put to good use.

Lutter raised $6,000 through indiegogo.com last year for an animatronic robot for Joanna Makes a Friend. That film, story-edited by Hogg, won a viewers’ choice award at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this year and went on to screen at the Cannes International Film Festival in May in France.

“I couldn’t believe (the film won in Toronto), and then something even better happened,” Lutter said of the Cannes screening. “It’s pretty much the most ridiculous thing ever.”

Lutter is currently developing Joanna Makes a Friend into a feature-length film, while planning for a late-July shoot for Floodplain. He and Hogg have yet to reveal any casting decisions.

The two have collaborated on more than 20 films since they met as UVic students at the Victoria Film Producers’ Association launch party in 1999.

“I’m surprised that he still answers my phone calls,” Lutter said. “I don’t know why he does. I owe him more favours than he owes me.”

Hogg chalks up their partnership to mutual respect – and the fact that he answers those calls.

“At the end of the day, we have mutual sensibilities. We have similar goals and I think we complement each other’s skills.”

All the details on Floodplain can be found at Facebook.com/floodplainmovie.

nnorth@saanichnews.com

 

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