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VIDEO: P.E.I. man writes, directs $1 million thriller expected to premiere this fall

Adam Perry, from left, and cast member Matt Cooke are shown behind the scenes of A Small Fortune.
Adam Perry, left, and cast member Matt Cooke are shown behind the scenes of A Small Fortune. - Contributed

A Charlottetown man and his award-winning film script have put P.E.I. on the map.

Adam Perry, writer and director, along with producers Jason Arsenault and Jenna MacMillan, are in post-production for their full-length (90-minute) thriller called A Small Fortune.

“The three of us spent years trying to figure out how to finance a feature film on P.E.I. We realized first we needed to prove our skills,” said Perry, who developed an award-winning script followed by a short (15-minute) film called A Blessing from the Sea, with a budget of $80,000.

“We knew we had to prove our skills with the short film before anyone would consider financing a million-dollar movie. People saw us as P.E.I. rookies with a good project, a lot of tenacity and perseverance. They believed it was a recipe for committed filmmakers.”

It was no easy task to get Telefilm, a corporation that finances and promotes Canadian productions through various funds and programs, to approve the creation of the film.

“Going in, Jason, Jenna and I knew we shouldn’t apply to Telefilm Canada until they were in a position to say yes. It took many years to get all the paperwork and partners in place, so we could give Telefilm a presentation and a pitch package that they would agree on,” said Perry.

“But I always knew my script would become a film. Once that happened and we were filming P.E.I. landscapes (scenes from French River were made to resemble Skinners Pond) with actors, it was pretty surreal.”

A Blessing from the Sea is about a struggling Irish moss farmer who finds a duffel bag of money in the water. Before spending the cash, things turn sour when a body is brought in with the tide.


Watch A Blessing From the Sea:


Telefilm, Innovation P.E.I., Newfoundland Film Development Corporation and Superchannel backed the film, which paved the way for a full feature called A Small Fortune.

It is the first feature film to be supported by P.E.I.’s Film Media Fund.

“We signed the contract in March 2019 and then started shooting A Small Fortune in October. We ended up partnering with Newfoundland Film Development Corporation – the first time these two provinces have made a feature film together.”

The thriller stars Stephen Oates (Little Dog) as the male lead, Liane Balaban (Supernatural) as the lead female, Andrea Bang (Kim’s Convenience), Joel Thomas Hynes (Little Dog), Matt Cooke (Heartland) and P.E.I.s Bill McFadden (Pogey Beach).

This is the first official image of A Small Fortune starring Stephen Oates (Little Dog) and Liane Balaban (Supernatural). - Jeff Wheaton/Special to SaltWire Network
This is the first official image of A Small Fortune starring Stephen Oates (Little Dog) and Liane Balaban (Supernatural). - Jeff Wheaton/Special to SaltWire Network

 

Newfoundland actor Oates said the harvesting of Irish moss was a concept he had to research.

“The character I play is an Irish moss farmer, a profession I was completely ignorant of before I signed on to the project. His name is Kevin, something-or-other, and he is a proud proto-family man. Straight-forward but not simple, Kevin respects an honest day’s work. He lives in his ancestral home with his pregnant wife,” said Oates.

“I would like to take this opportunity ‎to express what a sheer delight it was working on this project; the accommodations were amazing and the people I met were first-rate personally and professionally.”

Editing is currently underway for the film, and its creators are hoping it will be ready to watch this fall.

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