Wednesday, 31 March 2010

FLORID (22 min)

Florid from Rob MacDonald on Vimeo.

In the early 90's, Rob MacDonald and I made a short film called "Florid". It details the attempts of a group of homeless people to leave their freezing cold home in P.E.I. on Canada's East Coast for the warmer temps of Florida.

Recently, we had it digitized. Revisiting it, I can see all kinds of things I'd change (I'd move the camera more... at least once, I'd use more close ups and cut more during conversations, I'd emphasize the winter weather, I'd have the talent show winners we see at the beginning come back for a showdown during the second talent show, I'd change our protagonists' talent [sorry, Rob], and I'm not sure about the ending, though Rob and I agreed it had to be happy). And I'm not sure about those cuts to black we used as transitions. All I can say is that we were all fans of Jim Jarmusch's stuff like "Stranger in Paradise" and "Down By Law", and that was our influence there. Having said all that, I'm fond and proud of "Florid". I think some of the jokes/situations work well, I love the story and the characters, and most of all, I love what the actors brought to their roles. And my dad, Russell, hand lettered the opening credits and some of the signs used as props in the film.

We also shot some stuff that didn't make it into our final cut. My favourite piece that didn't make it was a montage of three of the main characters completing their assigned tasks: Lawrence stealing a shopping cart, Millie phoning Florida for some information and reaching Burt Reynolds, Jimbo trying to get into the library, but not being able to operate the door.

Since we finished the project, Rob and I have toyed with the idea of turning it into a stage musical, which I think would work beautifully. The short as it is was very positively reviewed by Hank Stinson in the late great Arts Atlantic Magazine, and it won the Viewers Choice Award at the 2004 Reel Island Film Festival. Two of my favourite comments that "Florid" has received are from filmmaker Mille Clarkes who called it "a PEI classic if there ever was one", and the other is from Darrin Dunsford who said it was "like 'Goin' Down the Road' with a happy ending." And I'll take that, with thanks.

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