About a week ago we completed filming of my second official short film, Sleepwalk, with my producing partners in crime, Jessica Matten (Netflix’s Frontier, Blackstone) and Brendt Thomas Diabo (12 Monkeys, Mohawk Girls). Even with the micro-budget and micro-sized crew, and sweltering heatwave that hit Toronto that weekend (making the set an actual sauna), we made it. And we couldn’t be happier.
The film is about a woman named Alicia who sleepwalks, and her husband, Bernard, who must take care of her on these nights, despite their failing marriage. After a recent string of cryptic sleepwalking spells, Alicia inadvertently reveals a harrowing truth about her past, that forces Bernard to reevaluate their relationship. The film also stars Jessica and Brendt, who gave startlingly authentic and passionate performances. Their talents are only matched by their hard work as they juggled both performing and producing duties. It’s tough for me to remember many actors I’ve worked with who were so prepared before getting on set, making them such a joy to direct.
Sleepwalk was shot by my new collaborator, Chilean Director of Photography, Rodrigo Vergara Cereceda. His creativity and talent for composition, pushed me to be more experimental with the visuals in this film. The challenge for us was that the entire film takes place in one room of a house, but Rodrigo still managed to make every shot feel fresh. He’s also an extremely kind human being, which made working with him a pleasure. Our camera department was rounded out by Janelle Body (1st AC) and Aaron McMurtry (2nd AC/DMT), who worked tirelessly through terrible conditions, and always did whatever they could to make the shots happen, no matter how unrealistic they were to execute. My longest running collaborators, Kelly Wong on Wardrobe and Alisa Chung on Make-Up, captured the mood of the film perfectly, and as always were consummate professionals. I’ve never taken for granted their attention to detail and their ability to understand the environment and look I’m trying to convey. Although it was my first time working with our stills photographer, Amanda Matlovich, she was no different – a talented eye, pleasant on set, and always in good spirits despite the long hours. I also can’t forget our sound recordist, Jeff Chapman, who was the set’s pro’s pro – ready for anything, tireless, and always kept the mood of the set light. Finally I have to acknowledge our production assistants, Jhardaine Learmond, Steve Kasan, and Stacey Funk, who did every little task necessary to make the film happen. We really can’t make a film without the assistance of passionate film lovers like themselves. I was fortunate enough to have the entire crew donate their time for this film. I can’t express the amount of gratitude I have to work with a crew who just absolutely loves the artform, and is willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen. It’s always a small miracle when a crew comes together like we did.
We’re currently in post-production, so hopefully I get to show something soon. But in the meantime, we have the teaser image above – and I get to sleep in a little. Stay tuned.