On June 22, 2018, a group of filmmakers in Niagara, Ontario are holding a gala event for the screening of their full-length feature film titled FIGHT!. The film centres around strong female characters, and is produced by Jarico Films. Profits from the gala will go towards supporting youth:
FIGHT! will premiere at an exclusive gala screening in St.Catharines on June 22, 2018 complete with a VIP dinner and red carpet. All of the profits are going towards supporting youth across Niagara. Jarico Films For Youth is a not-for-profit film production company that produces films in collaboration with Niagara’s youth. It offers real life skills and work experience for youth facing barriers to employment. Through filmmaking, participants gain the experience and confidence for long-term employment. “All of this is to fulfill our mission of creating more jobs through building a sustainable film industry right here in Niagara. The future Sarah Polley’s and Steven Spielberg’s may be living right here in our own backyard,” adds Lupish.
Tickets are $45 regular or $250 VIP that includes an exclusive dinner at Market Square in downtown St. Catharines, prepared by Chef Eric Peacock (Wellington Court), red carpet access and premium seating. www.fightfilm.ca/redcarpet or (905) 246-9418
Popternative had the opportunity to ask lead actress Erica Sherwood and producer/director Jason Lupish some questions about the film, its powerful message, and how filmmaking is an important and empowering art form.
Popternative: Talk a little bit about the project. How did it come to be?Erica & Jason: In 2010 Jay [Jason Lupish] wrote a first draft of the script, which was the story of a teenage girl who loses everything and goes out in search of her estranged father, getting caught up in this seedy world of underground fighting. But something was missing and it sat on the shelf for awhile. In 2016, we (Jay and Erica) both decided that we would take the month of August to make our next film and so we pitched each other a few ideas, but this one really stood out as a story that Jay really wanted to tell. I had already been training for about 3 years prior to this with Muay Tai Niagara. I’d competed in a provincial tournament and got my ass handed to me, and then a month later competed in the Pearl Gloves Charity boxing event for MS (This was in 2015). So it was just the right timing to make a gritty film about fighting and women power and struggle, so we rewrote the script to focus more on the struggles of a single mother and then intercut that story with the original one about the teenage girl.We spent two months working on the script with friend Chris Carter who really helped shape the single mother angle. But after a cast read-through Jay just knew that this wasn’t the type of film that was going to work with a tradition script, in fact, He was certain that anything traditional about the process of making this film would certainly hinder its ability to really be something different than what we’ve already seen on screen.So with a massive cast, an amazing crew and no script, we started filming on August 5th, Jays birthday. Production was a grueling month-long process that allowed us to get 95% of Alex’s (single mom) story and 60% of Sam’s (teenage girl) story in the can. But with other client related projects taking priority we had to break from filming for a couple of months.In November 2016 we picked back up and something really amazing happened. Jen Farrugia whose character transcends both stories walked onto the set wearing a pair of glasses and joked “I should be a writer”. And so it was … Jay flew into a frenzy of creative inspiration and started writing this third story about this woman writing this book that would explain Sam’s past and where she came from, only to try to keep all of it from her. So what we ended up with is the story of three women, each battling with their own secrets, and demons and struggling to make decisions that ultimately end up changing the course of each of their lives forever. The film spans the course of 8 years traveling back and forth in time, catching random glimpses of two strong women battling to create better lives for their kids, and a young girl trying to find her place on the world. The movie is heavily inspired by films like Cafe de Flore, Moonlight, and 21 Grams, and takes inspiration from filmmakers like Terrence Malick, Werner Herzog, and Robert Altman.Popternative: What steps do you think people can/should take in terms of promoting youth to get involved with creating art like film and TV?
Erica & Jason: People can get information from us about Jarico Films For Youth and what we do for self-esteem, confidence and social skills. There are so many roles on a film set that it’s almost impossible not to find something they can connect with. Art inspires kids, movies inspire kids. When they go to the movies they see these people on screen who are so inaccessible and hard to reach, but what we show them is that filmmaking is accessible these days, we can make movies with our phones. In the end, it’s about showing them that their stories matter and that through filmmaking they can tell their stories and they can communicate with the world around them and that is an incredibly powerful thing.
Popternative: What effects do you hope the film has on our society?
Erica & Jason: I want people to see women in film in a different light. To have someone to relate to, someone to strive to be, someone who doesn’t just sit at home waiting for their husband to come home and just “be there” when he needs her. I want men to have female role models. Women have become a cliche in film in many forms, and I’m proud to be a part of the female filmmaker movement that is currently happening and flourishing. I want it to be normal to see women fighting for what they love. Social media is a huge part of creating and disseminating projects like Fight, talks about Social Media’s Involvement in this project.
Through social media we are able to reach a target audience who we know will be interested in seeing our film. By posting on platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram we can share never before seen video, on set interviews, behind the scenes video, bloopers and more. It’s a great way for us to showcase our film to a larger audience and it’s working. FIGHT! is generating quite the buzz and hope that results in a sold-out crowd for the world premiere on June 22, 2018, at the First Ontario Performing Arts Centre in St.Catharines.