Stories of film projects in and around Pictou County were a semi-common occurrence in 2013. Cut to today and one of those projects, The Seer is finally entering its third act: the release.
Filmed in various locations in the county, The Seer is author Gary Blackwood’s directorial film debut. The film will premiere at Glasgow Square August 17 at 7 p.m.
“(It’s about) a woman,” Blackwood explained, “her eight-year-old son is kidnapped. She goes to the police, of course, but they don’t have any leads at all. The police tell her about a psychic they’ve worked with in the past. The physic doesn’t want to have anything to do with it because (other) cases turned out badly and so he turns her down, but she’s very persuasive and gets his help.”
While it’s taken the film three years to move from first shot to premiere, the project actually dates back 26 years when Blackwood penned the script.
“I had some interest from a couple of production companies real early on,” Blackwood said.
“They said they wanted to make an erotic thriller out of it. I said, ‘I don’t think so…’ It’s not that kind of film. I sent it into screenplay writing competitions, it was a finalist in one … And then this film co-op started up and they were looking for scripts and I thought, ‘well, I’m sure they want a low concept one without too many things blowing up, special effects and stuff’.”
Blackwood said when the film co-op greenlit the script it fell to him to direct it.
“They didn’t have anyone else who was any more qualified than I was,” Blackwood said. “I figured at least I know what I want from it and I know what the actors need to hear. I figured why not, probably (never) get another chance.”
Blackwood said he focused on directing the actors while Tony DeCoste – the film’s director of photography – worked on composing the shots.
He knew the film would take a while to be completed, much longer than the six months the co-op had expected, but “I don’t think any of us thought it would take that long.
“We were all wearing multiple hats,” Blackwood said. “There were times when I was directing and reading another actor’s lines and holding a boom mic all at the same time …”
When asked if he learned anything from the experience he joked “um… probably not to ever do it again.
“I learned, for one thing, how much digital filming has transformed the whole process. I really wasn’t familiar with digital cameras and filming things digitally. It’s made things so much easier.”
After The Seer premieres at Glasgow Square, Blackwood said the film will be uploaded to Vimeo, possibly on a pay per download basis and may also appear in film festivals.