The creative team behind a highly-anticipated film production is thrilled to screen their project early next month.
The Matchbox Theatre Foundation and Ozmosis Entertainment in association with Ignition Theatre are premiering Year After Year, adapted from the critically-acclaimed 2010 stage musical of the same name. The world premiere screening, which is by invitation only, takes place Oct. 27th.
A week-long public screening runs at Carnival Cinemas Nov. 1-7.
“Having the opportunity to produce a feature film checks the box beside the number one item on my personal bucket list,” said Matt Grue, producer/co-screenwriter, Year After Year. “To be able to have done it alongside the friends and the colleagues I’ve been working with for the past decade makes it even more thrilling.”
Grue also wrote Year After Year, while Curtis Labelle penned the music. The lyrics were written by Spencer Pasman and Stephanie Ridge.
He also credits an outpouring of generosity and support from the local community as critical to completing the project.
Year After Year chronicles the dissolving years of seven friends in their late 20s as they attempt to navigate the tumultuous waters of hollow careers, lost ambition, forgotten dreams and the relationships that matter most, even when they can’t recognize it.
They reunite each year to ‘celebrate’ the birthday of Bill; a struggling writer paralyzed by expectation and fraught with fears about a seemingly bleak future.
Hunter, his best friend, is an ultra successful photographer; Todd and Rachel are couple teetering on the edge of divorce; Peter and Laura have been dating since college and are looking towards the next step and Kate, who has known Bill for as long as she can remember, is trying to negotiate her love for him and her need to let go.
As another year passes by, Year After Year examines how even the most nuanced moments in our lives can have a monumental impact on our future. Joel Crichton, who played Bill in the stage production, resumes the part for the film. Rounding out the cast are Sarah Hemphill, Matthew Thiel, Elena Porter, Chris W. Cook, Andrew McKenzie and Zina Lee.
Grue recalls the production’s original theatre run, and the suggestion that the story would translate well to the big screen. He approached Dustin Clark about the project, and to gauge Clark’s interest in directing the project.
That was in the late spring of 2010. Grue also knew that Clark was the ideal choice to direct the film, not only because of his extensive training and experience but also because of Clark’s innate understanding of utilizing film in storytelling.
“Dustin is brilliant. He can look at any script on a page and know exactly how it will be shot, how it should come together, what the colour correction will look like, what sound needs to be there – he just has this crazy understanding of how film works for an audience. So there was no question that he had to do it.
“He and I have also had such a long, healthy collaborative relationship that I knew I wouldn’t get pushed aside, and that I could challenge him in such a way that I couldn’t challenge another director.”
In those early days of pre-production, Grue said he kept thinking about the potential list of issues and challenges that would come in pulling of such an enormous production.
But things have fallen into place and the outpouring of help and support that the local community showed to cast and crew was amazing.
“It only feels right to have the premiere of Year After Year in the City that so lovingly supported it,” said Clark. “We shot in and around dozens of locations here and hundreds of people from all over the community lent their support in incalculable ways.
“In no other community could a project like this have been made. To have so much given to us in faith and goodwill is very humbling and incredibly inspiring. I am excited for people to see the film and hope that it inspires them as well, to make art and tell stories and to be proud of the possibilities that their city offers.”
As for his leading man, there was also no doubt Crichton, who also starred in the theatrical production, would best meet the demands of the show, added Grue.
“He is so, so good in this movie. The truth is, with this film and with a lot of musicals in particular, they are tough to write because you have to write with such broad strokes. You have to know you are transitioning out of a song and then eventually you have to get into a song. You’re really serving a story more than you typically would.”
That makes the skills and giftings of an actor that much more important.
“You get someone like Joel who can take the writing and just find so much depth and create layers that you can experience as an audience. He does these brilliant, subtle things, he makes so many interesting choices and he’s so open to trying anything. He anchors it beautifully and never draws attention to himself,” added Grue. “He gives a stunning, stunning performance.”
For more information about Year After Year, check out www.yearafteryearmusical.com.