While in NYC on vacation a couple weeks ago, I had dinner with my cousin and she asked me about my feature film project. Being the New Yorker she is, she cut straight to the chase. “What’s it about?” “How much money do you need to make it?” and, “If you could cast anyone, who would be in it?”    All fine questions, and easily answered.

Or so I thought. I realized I haven’t thought much about casting (except for one key role), and I was stumped. A few names floated through my head while I was writing, but I had pushed them aside, not wanting to fixate on anyone while the characters were developing. As I move into the pitch phase of the project, I know I have to have some names to pull out in a similar conversation to show the pitchee that I, as the pitcher, know what I want.

To that end, I’ve been watching a lot of Canadian movies lately. Now, I know, the question was “If you could cast anyone…”, but either out of a knee-jerk patriotism, or some vague idea that you need Canadian actors to get Canadian financing, my mind has been going automatically for the homegrown answer. Or actor, as it were.

I typically watch more Canadian films than your average Canadian does, but this past week I went for broke and rented a bunch of films. Some were strictly for casting research, while others were films I’d heard about but for one reason or another had never checked out, including…

Flower and Garnet, (2002) written and directed by Keith Behrman and produced by Trish Dolman.

Jane McGregor & Colin Roberts star in/as Flower and Garnet

A lovely film. Beautifully shot and directed. A very assured feature debut from Behrman. Some scenes in the beginning of the film with the young boy were just magical. Excellent performances all around. The thing that impressed me the most was something that I think gets overlooked in a lot of films, and that’s the texture of things. With the direction, the photography, and the production design, I was really able to feel this world and enter into it. In fact, some of the settings/details/themes of the film reminded me of another recent Canadian film fav- Grown Up Movie Star*.

A quick glance at IMDB shows Berhman’s been busy with TV work since Flower and Garnet came out, but I really hope he’s got another film iron warming up on the fire- his first one is definitely worth checking out.

* which I wrote about in an earlier post

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