The de Sève Cinema at Concordia University was the setting for the recent premiere of indie film “Searching for Paradise.” Co-directed by Chloe Bellande and Chris Young, the film runs 21 minutes.
A Kickstarter-funded Film
I love the idea that anyone can get funding from unlikely sources thanks to this donation-based website. Empowering creators by putting them in contact directly with consumers paves the way for more variety in media. This film was partially funded by a Kickstarter campaign. Approximately $9,000 was raised, bringing the total cost of the film to $20,000. You don’t get much more indie than that.
Filmed in Montreal
Hollywood studios have been flocking to our city to take advantage of the weak Canadian dollar as compared to the United States. Movies such as X-men: Days of Future Past were filmed here (did anyone else notice that Magneto destroys the Olympic Stadium? We need him to do it IRL!).
So while it’s great to see the “big guys” filming here, it’s satisfying to see that quality indie films are being produced here as well. “Searching for Paradise” was filmed in an incredible three-day stretch. Bellande had worked with the crew on previous films which helped it go more smoothly.
One of the settings was an abandoned military bunker in Saint-Adolphe-d’Howard (about an hour north of Montreal), which featured stunning scenery. Another was a motel on the South Shore (Brossard). While having been shot in our fair city, the film is intentionally neutral with respect to its specific setting.
Impressively, it took around one to two takes, with a maximum of four, to film each scene. Their use of daylight over artificial sources also helped production go relatively quickly while generating an authentic feel.
“Searching for Paradise” Inspiration
The film’s tagline says that it was “inspired by true events.” These events included the life histories of Anders Behring Breivik, a Norwegian terrorist, and Paul Bernardo, a Canadian serial killer and rapist. The writers looked at who they were before they committed their crimes, examining their upbringing and abusive relationships.
The film’s main character, Ace (played by Young), is a hitman who is hired to kill people who have committed crimes against others. We see him during a point in his “career” where he’s having a crisis of conscience.
One of the film’s themes is that of going back and looking at one’s life during their younger years. Another is mercy. The killing (and holding back from killing) in the film is not just about violence for the sake of violence, as you might expect from a typical Hollywood movie these days. Instead it uses it to actually aid in the story telling and connecting viewers to the world being portrayed.
During the film’s bar scene, I was excited to hear the background music which was by none other than Montreal singer-songwriter and Citynet Magazine video host Jess Abran. I reviewed this talent’s iTunes album “Naive” and urge you to give it a listen. It’ll be worth your time.
Film to be Aired at the Cannes Film Festival
Bellande is an up-and-coming director. In her young career, her works have already made multiple appearances at the Cannes Film Festival. “Searching for Paradise” will air in Cannes, after which she is moving to Los Angeles, home to some of the world’s best directors.