Local filmmaker adds pow to L.A. festival

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Short film features 'Republic of Doyle' star

Brad would like to remind you that "attitude comes across just as clearly via phone as it does in person."

Who is Brad? Brad is the motivational-speaking, "pow factor"-pushing character in a new short from St. John's-based filmmaker Emily Bridger. The film is set to screen at the L.A. Shorts Film Festival later this month.

Mark O'Brien of "Republic of Doyle" fame stars as the promoter of the pow factor in Emily Bridger's "Brad." - Submitted Photo

Brad would like to remind you that "attitude comes across just as clearly via phone as it does in person."

Who is Brad? Brad is the motivational-speaking, "pow factor"-pushing character in a new short from St. John's-based filmmaker Emily Bridger. The film is set to screen at the L.A. Shorts Film Festival later this month.

"We were totally surprised. We never really expected to get into the festival. It's pretty amazing," said Bridger when contacted by The Telegram Monday.

Bridger wrote and directed the short, casting partner and "Republic of Doyle" star Mark O'Brien as Brad.

She said she wrote the film about two years ago, following a festival run of her first film "Epilogue" (screened at the Nickel Film Festival, the Atlantic Film Festival and the Women's Film Festival in St. John's as well as Young Cuts in Montreal), after she and O'Brien moved to Toronto.

"I was working at a restaurant in Toronto, it was a fine dining restaurant and over a short period of time we had two motivational-type of people come in. One was really, really great and one, this woman. We all hated our job and when you hate your job, and someone comes in and tells you how to be happier about it, it's just really funny. So I started thinking about how someone gets into that type of thing," she said.

Bridger said she also wanted to explore the idea of young people establishing their public personalities.

"You can just see a change in some people just graduating university and some people, they decide to be a certain type of person or whatever," she said. "It's that sort of thing, but (Brad) is still young and unsure and everyone's giving him a bit of a hard time."

She held the script and waited to shoot the film until about a year ago, when O'Brien was added to the cast of "Republic of Doyle" and the pair moved back to this province.

"I figured whatever I did, especially at this early stage where I'm still learning a lot, I wanted to shoot here in Newfoundland because the community's so lovely and it's just really tight-knit and I wanted to do a collaborative sort of thing," she said.

The film had to be shoved into O'Brien's schedule.

"It was really tough to do it while ('Republic of Doyle') was happening, so we planned to shoot it right after. So it was a pretty hectic time because I had just finished Doyle and it was in between that and going to Sundance (Film Festival) for 'Grown Up Movie Star,'" O'Brien said.

Despite the wrangling, Bridger was committed to having O'Brien as her Brad and O'Brien said he was set on the project.

"It was something she had discussed with me before she'd written the script - this type of guy," he said. "For me it was really great because it was a totally different character than anything I'd done and it was tricky. It was definitely the toughest performance I've had to give, because everything he shows on the outside is actually quite different than, I think, how he's feeling on the inside.

"What he's projecting is something he'd like to be, that he doesn't quite know how to be," he said.

The film was shot around St. John's - at Bridger's parents' office, Bridger's apartment and The Sprout restaurant.

"We just got a bunch of people who worked on Doyle to help us and we just made it really simply in two days," O'Brien said. "We had a really, really great cinematographer. He's a photographer normally and he did a great job. His name is Duncan de Young."

The completed work is slated to screen with short films from Australia, Spain, the United Kingdom and, of course, the United States Saturday, July 24 at the 14th L.A. Shorts Film Festival. The festival runs July 22-30 at Laemmle Sunset 5 Theaters on Sunset Boulevard.

Bridger said the film has been submitted to other festivals throughout North America. Whatever the response, the writer/director said she would hope to screen the film in Newfoundland, potentially in the fall. While she will not be able to attend the festival, as she is heading to Harlow, England for study, O'Brien will try to find time from work on "Republic of Doyle" to make the trip.

Shooting for the second season of "Republic of Doyle" began Monday.

afitzpatrick@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Young Cuts, Movie Star

Geographic location: St. John's, Toronto, Montreal Newfoundland Australia Spain United Kingdom United States Sunset Boulevard North America Harlow England

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