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‘Pogey Beach’ film releasing Tuesday, Jan. 22 through iTunes, Eastlink, Shaw

Cast members of “Pogey Beach”, from left, Robbie Moses, Robbie Carruthers, Kevin Gallant and Matt Sherman in a still taken from the upcoming P.E.I. film. Fans will be able to watch the film once its released Tuesday through iTunes, Eastlink and Shaw. SPECIAL TO THE GUARDIAN/REAR GEAR PRODUCTIONS
Cast members of “Pogey Beach”, from left, Robbie Moses, Robbie Carruthers, Kevin Gallant and Matt Sherman in a still taken from the upcoming P.E.I. film. Fans will be able to watch the film once its released Tuesday through iTunes, Eastlink and Shaw. SPECIAL TO THE GUARDIAN/REAR GEAR PRODUCTIONS - Contributed

Islanders won’t have to wait until the summer to get back to “Pogey Beach”.

The P.E.I. feature film, created by Rear Gear Productions, will be releasing Tuesday, Jan. 22 on multiple platforms.

The film is based on the “show-within-a-show” of the same name from the popular “Just Passing Through” web series, which has cultivated a devoted fanbase since its 2012 debut.

Director and co-creator Jeremy Larter thanked the series’ fans, many of whom helped fund the film through a 2016 Kickstarter.

“We’re very lucky, for a small independent movie, that we have a fanbase waiting to watch it,” Larter told The Guardian. “They’ve stuck around this long and without their support the movie wouldn’t have happened in the first place. So, it’s great we can now finally put it out into the world.”

While the film is shot in a different style than “Just Passing Through”, with the latter being more of a sitcom, it features many familiar faces and a similar sense of humour.

“We’re at least as equally ridiculous I hope,” said Larter. “Stylistically, it’s a little bit different than the show but the tone of it is very similar.”

The film is an East Coast version of a 1960s California beach movie. While filled with P.E.I. references, including the title’s slang term for unemployment insurance, it also takes plenty of over-the-top inspiration from surf films like the “Beach Party” series, “Gidget”, “Jaws” and “Grease.”

It follows “King of Pogey Beach” Gary Gallant, played by Robbie Carruthers, and his crew through a P.E.I. summer. The film shows the rivalry between Gallant and Lyle MacDonald, played by Ryan Cameron, in fighting for the heart of a girl from away while also trying to avoid being sent to “Pogey Jail,” the local fish plant that operates year-round.

The film is being distributed by Toronto-based D Films and will be available to rent and purchase on iTunes in Canada and the U.S. It will also be available on demand through Eastlink and Shaw.

Cam Worrell, director of sales for D Films, said the company wanted to distribute the film after watching and enjoying it.

Part of the appeal also came from the film’s roots in P.E.I., a province not well-known for film production.

“It’s nice to get a group of filmmakers from the area who are really passionate about film in P.E.I. and building that up,” said Worrell. “We thought it deserved a release in Canada and, from there, it kind of snowballed into a digital release on multiple platforms. Now, we’ll see where it goes from there.”

Larter said the film was largely shot over 12 days in Brackley, Tracadie, Stanhope and Covehead and is “about as Island-made as you can get.”

While fans contributed through Kickstarter, Larter said Telefilm funding received in 2017 helped save the film in its final stages.

Another major contribution was a sponsorship with Upstreet Craft Brewing, which helped fund the movie through its collaborative “Top Stamp” beer.

“The beer partnership with Upstreet was pretty instrumental in keeping us going,” said Larter.

In addition to the actors and actresses, the film’s production was also made possible through a number of Island companies.

“It is a testament to how much talent there is on the Island,” said Larter. “It’s basically a complete Island production from tip to tip.”


A "POGEY BEACH" CONNECTION TO AUSTRALIA
Despite the P.E.I. production “Pogey Beach” being home-grown, it has also started to take root in other areas of the world.
Director and co-creator Jeremy Larter said he was surprised to discover an Australian brewery was making a “Pogey Beach” beer. He saw a post on Twitter one day showing the beer, which had “Pogey Beach” written in the same font as the film’s trailer, although he’s still unsure whether it was from someone who saw the trailer or an Islander now living in Australia.
“I’m still trying to track down the connection,” he said.

STARRING
Celia Koughan as Bethany Lockwood
Robbie Carruthers as Gary Gallant
Ryan Cameron as Lyle MacDonald
Dennis Trainor as Winslow Lockwood
Bill MacFadden as Ira MacAskill

CO-STARRING – Kevin Gallant, Kinza Baker, Bobby Molyneux, Kelly Caseley, Robbie Moses, Matt Sherman, Bryde MacLean, Al Baldwin, Sharlene MacLean, Gordon Cobb, Mickey Wasnidge, Jeremy Larter and Madrean Ferris.

Mitchell.macdonald@theguardian.pe.ca
Twitter.com/Mitch_PEI

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