Adolescence and young adult years can be fun. Going to party’s on weekends can shape a person, especially a few good hangovers. If you get through it, you will have a roster of jokes to tell for years to come and maybe a few great memories of philosophical conversations you had from the twilight hours of the night with your friends.
I will admit, I’ve attended a few epic parties and have had many take aways. I‘ve sat on the steps once people start to pass out or sober up. My best friend and I would discuss life as only inebriated minds could. Sometimes you wake up and try to piece it together and other times, you’re reminded by your good friend about the strong bond and shared philosophies you had the night before.
These late night conversations have been the impetus for Matt Lapoidevin’s latest film, Party Stories. Matt and I spoke extensively about the story behind the stories. Although a generation separates us, my youth experience in the party scene was similar and there was no ‘lost in translation’ in relating to his experiences vs mine.
Matt Lepoidevin has produced many short films but this is his first directing soirée and his first feature film.
“What was the inspiration behind this film?”
“I’ve seen many party movies come out that depicted the party scene but they all seemed to miss the mark when they’d failed to have a scene showing friends having philosophical discussions in the very late hours of the night. The stories a few drunken buddies would tell are the focus of this film.”
Matt was right, nobody was putting emphasis on these stories. He had found something missing and the filmmaker in him wanted to fix that. He wrote the script last year and production started in January of 2017. He financed the film out of pocket and the film is almost finished in post. His key partner in the film is his cinematographer and friend Latif Ullah. Matt has not been to film school but is a fan of films and great stories. He moved to Vancouver three years ago with the intention of attending but quickly found work in the film industry and decided to gain knowledge through experience rather than the class setting.
As a fan of such directors as Richard Linkleter and Jim Jarmusch for their ability to tell the story through the eyes of the character, he wanted to follow their example with his film. He went through hundreds of applications for the roles, but there was one girl he had met on another production that was perfect for the film. He explained to me that she reminded him of a girl in high school.
“Her part was so easy to write. She was the first character I wrote into the story and the rest came after that.”
Matt used a small crew of approx. six. There was himself, a cinematographer, 2 PA’s, script supervisor and AD.
For the party scenes, they used all of the crew as well as 12 actors. There were three locations but most of the scenes were shot at one primary one. He used a Sony SF5 to capture the footage. He had friends with equipment which helped buffer the cost of renting.
“How did you go about finding music for the film?”
“I used to tour with a couple bands before getting involved in filmmaking. I knew what kind of sound I needed for the film so I looked on Craigslist for bands that wanted to be part of it. I became involved with about eleven of them and used their music and songs for the production.”
Although there was little funding to pay everyone involved, Matt said everyone worked very hard to make the best film possible with his micro budget. He says they were all dedicated and might not have finished the production with a pocket of money but they had the satisfaction of being involved with a feel good film.
This film is a coming-of-age piece that explores the conversations and stories we weave in those twilight hours of the night. There were rehearsals and some storyboarding before the cameras stated rolling. Matt is very happy with the looks of it and will be holding a private screening once the final edit is finished. The film will then do the festival circuit. Matt hopes to get recognition from the film and make some great contacts along the way. If you think Matt will be sitting on his laurels and soaking up the film experience, think again. Matt is already considering his next feature film and what is needed to go into production.
I’m never surprised by the tenacity of Canadian filmmakers and their pursuit of an audience. As one of the hardest and challenging industries to get involved with, the rewards and take away’s can usually be summoned up with your audiences applause and recognition of having your vision appear onscreen. Isn’t that why we do it?