Musician to make film debut at this year's Nickel

Tara Bradbury
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Singer/songwriter Ian Foster's first foray into filmmaking, a short film called "One More Song," will premiere at this year's Nickel Film Festival. — Photo by Tara Bradbury/The Telegram

"One Monday night in the middle of a Newfoundland winter, Dan heads to The Ship Pub to take in an unlikely show - a posthumous concert featuring Jeff Eliot. Jeff wasn't really a big deal prior to his death. His music drifted out of half-broken PAs and into restless drunken crowds for years, but that all changed after he died. Suddenly, fame happened. People who had not seen him in life yearned for him after death. They yearned for the last show. And this time, they got what they wanted."

So reads St. John's singer/songwriter Ian Foster's synopsis for his first foray into filmmaking, a short film called "One More Song," which will premiere at this year's Nickel Independent Film Festival. The film started off as a song - "A Large Crowd Gathers for the Deceased Jeff Elliot's Encore Performance," which eventually went on to be featured on Foster's most recent album, "The Evening Light" - and a short story, which earned Foster a Newfoundland and Labrador Arts and Letters Award in 2010 in the senior fiction category.

"I've always loved the film medium, especially as it pertains to music," Foster told The Telegram. "I've scored a bunch of films over the last few years, and I just really enjoy that, so the opportunity to score something that I shot was really exciting.

"I feel like (the story) has changed a little every time. The core story is similar, it still maintains the plotline, but I think the tone is the thing that has changed the most. The song is the most melancholy and probably bittersweet, the short story is more of a satire, and the film might be the middle ground of both."

With Heavyweather's Adam Penney as director of photography and a cast that includes Jody Richardson as the title character, Foster wrote the screenplay for "One More Song," directed it when it was shot in February of last year, and edited it.

The film is one of 45 to be screened during the 2013 Nickel festival, which will happen at the LSPU Hall in St. John's June 18-22. Festival co-ordinator Matt Wright and executive director Janelle Hickey announced the lineup for this year's event at a media conference Tuesday morning.

"Our selection committee actually screened literally hundreds of films this year," Wright said, noting the chosen films come from around the world, including across Canada, the United States, Ireland, Sweden, Spain, China and Afghanistan.

"We're very proud to have a global representation," he said, "but we take a special pride in the high percentage of local films in the Nickel. This year we're actually screening 21 films made or designed by people right here in Newfoundland and Labrador."

Among those are Ruth Lawrence's "Two Square Feet," starring Jeanne Beker; Kenneth J. Harvey's "Geek Assassin"; Roger Maunder's "Cracker Barrel"; Elsa Morena's "Winners"; "Hard Light," a film by Justin Simms based on the writing of Michael Crummey; and "The Needle and the Damage Undone," a documentary on local injection drug use and needle exchange by Brad Gover and Mark Hoffe.

There will be the annual Horror Show, with a film from Los Angeles starring Newfoundland native Bob Joy, as well as numerous networking events throughout the festival. A number of workshops will also be offered: Toronto-based producer Avi Federgreen will host a masterclass for 20 local aspiring producers, while Hoffe will lead the "3 Acts in 3 Minutes" workshop. Lois Brown will host the "Nickel Screenplay Series," and Morena will present "Digital Non-Linear Storytelling."

Simms and Crummey will participate together in a question-and-answer session following the screening of "Hard Light."

Tickets cost $15 for regular screenings, and $12 for the Horror Show. A festival pass for all six screenings costs $50. Details and a full schedule is available on the Nickel Film Festival website at Twitter: @tara_bradbury

Organizations: The Telegram

Geographic location: St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada United States Ireland Sweden Spain China Afghanistan Los Angeles

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