I’ve been branching out from my usual comic book fun this year to produce a short film with my friend Nicole Slaunwhite, and we’re officially two months out from the start of shooting! Don’t worry, there’s still lots of comic book fun on the way. I’m deep in a new book right now! But the movie has been a big project, too.
Nicole and I were accepted into the FILM 5 program at the Atlantic Filmmakers’ Cooperative (AFCOOP) this fall. The program helps emerging filmmakers develop and produce five minute short films. Ours is called Welcome – Ahlan wa Sahlan and it’s a queer romance about Shadia, a Syrian refugee who moves to Nova Scotia and falls in love with a mermaid. It’s sweet and lovely and I think it’s going to look great on screen. We co-wrote the script, and Nicole is going to direct it while I am the producer.
We’re in the pre-production phase now, and although AFCOOP does give us some money and great in-kind services, we’re looking to raise a little more via Kickstarter. We have a lot of cool technical elements that we want to get right, especially with the mermaid and (SPOILER ALERT!!) a climactic underwater kiss. We’ll be shooting on the beach for part of our weekend shoot, and then moving to a special tank to get our big, final shot. Additional funds will help us take these elements from good to great.
The Kickstarter is also an opportunity for you all to see the movie! Short films are hard to find outside of festivals, but with a small donation to the campaign you’ll get a digital copy of Welcome – Ahlan wa Sahlan once we’ve wrapped post-production this summer. The digital copy is only $5 CAD, and there are various levels beyond that.
Nicole and I are really excited to tell this story. Nova Scotia is a new home for many Syrian refugees, and it’s been great to work with members of the local Syrian community to make sure the film is as authentic and respectful as possible. It’s all about love and acceptance, a nice message anytime but one that’s especially apt when it comes to immigration and refugees.
We’re also looking forward to updating a classic fantasy tale. Mermaid stories often involve old timey sailing ships and a handsome sailor or prince, and maybe a sea witch. Ours is a more modern take, with a contemporary setting and a queer romance. And a great mermaid in Raina Norman, a professional mermaid who’s been featured in magazines and news stories all around the world. She brings both experience and elegance to the role, as you’ll see in the Kickstarter video.
I hope you’ll check out the project! Any financial support is much appreciated, but sharing it on social media goes a long way as well. The more eyeballs we can get on it, the better. We think it’s a great story, and we can’t wait to make it and for you all to get to see it!