Honest storytelling: Christian filmmakers not short on talent at Cannes
By Christina Crook | Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Outside this year's Cannes Film Fest. Photo by Bex.Walton via Flickr.
VANCOUVER, BCAn eight-minute film was Dylan Jenkinson and Jason Goode's golden ticket to the world's most illustrious film festival.
Founded in 1946, Cannes International is the world's most prestigious and publicized film festival. It's an invitation-only event. So, when Telefilm Canada called to tell filmmakers Jenkinson and Goode that their short film, Late, was chosen for Telefilm's "Canada's Not Short on Talent" showcase at Cannes, they leapt at the opportunity.
Late, written by Sarah Deakins, depicts the struggle of two strangers reaching out for an honest connection in a café.
"I'm always interested in the dance of intimacy between people: the give and take," says director Goode. "The reaching out and withdrawing, the risking and the hiding. This can happen between close friends and family, and, as is the case with Late, it can happen between strangers. Why can an encounter between strangers have high stakes? Is it rejection we fear?"
The two Christians from Vancouver pounded the pavement to raise the funds to make it to Cannes in person.
"The film industry is a business of faces," says Jenkinson, "and it's important that people know your face. As independent filmmakers, having a supportive community is really important. Check that. It's vital."
While at Cannes they also pounded the pavement to drum up interest for their first feature length film, Numb.
Numb tells the story of a debt-ridden couple who discover a map promising to lead them to a fortune of stolen gold. They partner with a pair of mysterious hitchhikers to enter the remote winter wilderness. What they soon discover is that the only thing more blinding than snow is greed.
Producing partners Jenkinson and Goode spend a lot of time exploring the idea of 'good work.' In the world of film, shortcuts are plentiful. Jenkinson's day job in a production office requires him to stay focused on details of projects he may not be passionate about. In addition to being a producer, Goode, who holds a masters from Regent College, is married and a stay-at-home dad to the couple's three young children.
"Sometimes I ask myself if staying at home with my kids makes me less of a man, especially in the Christian community, in the suburbs," confesses Goode. "This idea of meaningful work is something we continue to explore."
"It comes down to faithfulness," says Jenkinson. "When we want to avoid the tough thing in life, taking the shortcut costs us."
In Cannes, Jenkinson and Goode met with numerous sales agents and financiers, the people they need to help raise hundreds of thousands in capital to produce Numb.
"It's a story of dreadful beauty," explains Goode, referring to a quote in the book East of Eden:
"There's more beauty in the truth even if it is dreadful beauty. The storytellers at the city gate twist life so it looks sweet to the lazy, and the stupid, and the weak, and this only strengthens their infirmities and teaches nothing, cures nothing, nor does it let the heart soar."
They are committed to their film which falls into the thriller genre.
"We don't mind dealing with dark subject matter as long as it is talking openly and honestly about sin."