Sometimes we seek out movies to feel better about the world, sometimes it’s for pure laughter. There are stories that take you on a journey where you are the passenger and sometimes the driver. Then there are the films that want to scare you. They will force you to stop walking through the park at night, question a sound or an unexplained shadow. They will haunt your dreams and make you feel vulnerable to the unseen.
If you’ve ever wondered about a genre film that translates well around the world, it’s Horror. If you’re afraid of ghosts and monsters in Spain or Poland, we Canadians are jumping along with you. We all share the same fears.
The film, Poignant is a Horror story that uses the power of suggestion, imagination and paranoia to fuel the victim’s fears. Suspense and discovery propel the story forward, while anticipation floods the room like a slow moving suffocating fog.
The idea for the story came from Jaspreet Kaur back in 2013. She was a realtor and remembers showing a property to a client. The client commented that the building looked haunted simply based on its appearance. Jaspreet wrote the story shortly after. In 2015, she and Prabhjot Bhangu did a rewrite and co-wrote it as a feature. Having known each other for years, and both being former film students, they knew how to make a film. So they co-produce it and financed it entirely out of pocket.
These two amazing filmmakers spoke to me by phone from LA. They had travelled from Vancouver to the AFM and had called me after checking into their hotel and eating some nasty food. Despite their discomfort they were very generous in telling me all about the process of making it.
“It can’t be easy finding an abandoned building to use. How did you find the location?”
“We actually hired a location manager to help us. He found us the perfect building.”
“The cast in the film seemed very comfortable in their roles. How did you get so lucky?”
“We put out a casting call along with a crew call on Imdb. We were very satisfied with the amount of interest.”
This was Jaspreet’s first sourer into directing a feature. Their DOP(Cliff Hokansen) used RED Epic and RED Dragon to capture the vivid images. Jaspreet hired a former film student she knew from school as a camera operator. They utilized a talented crew of 60-70 people. It took them twenty-one days to shoot. They worked 10-12 hr. days. They explained, “to work past 12 hrs per day was unnecessary and unproductive. We wanted everyone fresh and energized for the following day.”
The budget for the film was under one million. After post was completed, they combed all sources of distribution. Leaving no stone unturned their efforts paid off. Jaspreet and Prabhjot found a distributor through TW Media and MEI Media. They are still searching for international and US distribution.
Although there have only been a couple screenings of the film at US festivals, it has earned accolades for best Horror, best special effects, best actress and an award of Merit.
Prabhjot Bhangu explains that this film could not have been made without the help of the dedicated cast and crew.
Laura Mitchell plays the haunted wife Amy, Steve Baran plays her supportive husband Matthew. In every haunting, you need friends for a ghost buffer. Gemma Martini plays understanding girl friend Melissa and incredibly talented Eric Schweig, plays detective Ruben Martin. Corrina Rennie plays Tania and Mia Fiona Kut plays Bella.
The music was composed by Soyug Churi. Sanjay Sankla edited the film.
There are many wonderful points to this film, and it’s success has been the result of careful planning, good storytelling and attention to detail. They said they wanted to earn every ticket that was bought. They intend on giving them their moneys worth.
“What is the best part about making this film?”
“Being able to transfer the visions in my head to the big screen is an amazing reward. The satisfaction is exhilarating.”
Having watched this film, I look forward to the day when it is shared across the country in multiple theatres. Getting scared releases adrenaline. Currently, I’m refueling my supply.