Silver Wave Film Festival focuses on indie films

Cat LeBlanc, at the NB Film Co-op, said this year could be the year for features (Submitted)

New Brunswick filmmaker Jesse Anthony has been to Hollywood and back, spreading word about his no budget feature film Skate Proof.

“Originally I was thinking ‘hopefully I can make money off this,’ but that’s not really the goal which I kind of realized. I started talking to people, like sale agents and such, and they said, ‘you shouldn’t look at this as a money-maker, it;s more of a stepping stone for your next film.’”

Skate Proof comes home to be shown at the Silver Wave Film Festival on Thursday, kicking off three days of independent film. Filming for Skate Proof began in the fall of last year and promotions haven’t ceased.

In May, Anthony and associate producer Scott Veysey couch surfed to Los Angeles where they plastered the city with stickers and posters promoting Skate Proof. They met with various sales agents to whom they showed the film and sought advice.

Anthony was born in Saint John, but grew up in Fredericton. He wrote, directed and produced Skate Proof, which follows a skateboarder whose best friend is killed by a drug lord. The friend seeks revenge while trying to stay under the radar, fearing he’ll be next.

“There are no names in it. Everyone wants a name actor someone who’s recognizable,” said Anthony about his meetings in L.A.
The film was created from nearly a 100 per cent NB-based cast and crew. Name actors were not a necessity at the Silver Wave Film Festival, which focuses on the province’s independent filmmakers.

Cat LeBlanc is the member services director at the New Brunswick Filmmakers’ Co-Operative. She, along with executive director Tony Merzetti, chose the films to be screened at the festival.

“Our focus is on the independent filmmaker,” said LeBlanc. “At a lot of bigger festivals they tend to focus on the industry more so and the bigger names and we tend to really profile the shorts filmmakers or the independent filmmakers. It’s a very grassroots festival and I think that resonates with a lot of people.”

Anthony has been a member at the co-op for over six years. Working with no budget can prove tough for filmmakers, especially when creating a full length feature. He rented equipment and received help from passionate volunteers at the co-op.

The Co-Op has over 250 members province-wide, all passionate about filmmaking. LeBlanc said all it takes is for someone to read a story and care about it. Many of the short films in the festival, which LeBlanc said are “excellent,” were filmed with little money.

“Jesse did this on no budget. He’s a member here. So basically that’s what members do they help each other out. There’s really not a lot of money involved. He came up with a really good tight thriller,” said LeBlanc.

The thriller has led to Anthony’s role in upcoming feature Broken Lily, which he’s helping to produce. He is hoping this time himself and the team creating the film will have a budget to work with.

Anthony and the Broken Lily team are applying for the Telefilm Micro-Budget Production Program which could make the difference between zero dollars and $120,000. The Telefilm Program helps Canadian filmmakers new to the scene and helps with wide-spread distribution.

“Deadline is on Monday so we’ve been kind of crunching on that. We have to have a script, then you have to do a huge budget,” said Anthony.

The program will sponsor eight to ten projects and was launched in late June. The NB Film Co-Op is involved with the new program.

LeBlanc understand how important it is for emerging filmmakers to have that security but said even if there is no money, like in the production of Skate Proof, filmmakers won’t stop.

“I think that’s really important. Money is important and everyone would love to get that grant but when you don’t have it, it can still happen. Film will not disappear.”

Anthony has done screenings of Skate Proof within the last year in Fredericton and Saint John. Anthony, just returning from L.A. six months ago, said the film could be screened at festivals in the future, but now his focus is helping to create Broken Lily.

Anthony said he’s excited to screen his first feature back home in Fredericton again.

“I’ve been around Silver Wave for so long it’s kind of like the festival where all my friends get together, so it’s more of a fun festival for me.”

Skate Proof will be shown at the Silver Wave Film Festival Thursday at the Charlotte Street Arts Centre at 9:30pm. For more about the Silver Wave Film Festival, go to http://swfilmfest.com

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