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Existential filmaking in the heart of Little Italy

By Laurent Robillard-Cardinal on May 22, 2012

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F967sFIr_NE[/youtube]

Video of the construction of Gott Ist Tot”s set in Little Italy.

A long-awaited dream comes true in the form of a short film for Ottawa Producer Marc-Antoine Cuerrier.

“Doing this movie is definitely a check mark on my to-do list,” said Cuerrier.

On April 14, 2012 after installing the green screen, cameras, among other essentials, the sci-fi drama entitled Gott Ist Tot (God is dead), directed by Chris Chitaroni, started becoming reality in a small studio in Little Italy.

The title emanates from German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche’s famous words in his book The Gay Science. For Cuerrier, the title is a reference to the state of the world today where “no one is watching so everything is permitted.” It’s also “a critical analysis of today’s society and its careless attitude disregarding the consequences of their actions which will eventually result in the end as we know it today.”

Before shooting the end of the world, Cuerrier and his team raised $7,000 on the crowd-funding website IndieGoGo. “It was during a brainstorming that we got the idea of using the website mostly because public funding no longer meets the demand,” said Cuerrier. “You can wait awhile before receiving your money,” explained Cuerrier “you can get discouraged or even go bankrupt.”

Instead of going under, the production team decided to reach the top of its fundraising thermometer by following the winning strategy of adding videos on their IndieGoGo page. Video campaigns raise 114 per cent more money than non-video campaigns. With the target reached and the set erected the team moved forward.

By looking backwards we can see Cuerrier gained experienced producing on Rogers TV, with his first stab at the movies in 2011 with the horror picture, Profile of a Killer. “It was definitely a learning experience for the whole team,” said Alexandra Campeau who starred in Profile of a Killer and is the First Assistant Director for Gott Ist Tot. “The production allowed us to get to know one another well since we shot the film in a weekend in a secluded area.”

The isolated filming only revealed itself at The Treepot Indie Filmmaker Showcase at the Mayfair Theatre in 2011. For his second feature, Cuerrier will try to showcase the teams work in online casino more venues. There are around 125 film festivals in Canada and figuring out which one the feature will be eligible will require some research. “Withoutabox.com will help us find appropriate movie festivals,” said Cuerrier. “With the development and the quality of the movie we want to reach out to the biggest audience possible.”

While the team wants the movie to reach a large public, the plot revolves around only one person, Victor. He witnesses the end of the world from a little apartment he hasn”t left for the past three decades. Victor, a former Soviet scientist, holds important information which could prevent the ongoing apocalypse.

The story came to life at the University of Montreal, where Cuerrier and François Gauthier developed the script. “While I was at University I did not have the resources or the knowledge to carry out a project like this,” said Cuerrier.

The Gott Ist Tot team were lucky to get their hands on someone with experience to portray the main character. The Russian-born actor, Sacha Chichagov, played in A Violent State in 2011 and in 3 Kisses in 2010. Chichagov was also an extra on James Cameron’s Titanic. While Gott Ist Tot won’t produce as big of a splash as Titanic, it will demonstrate the movie production scene in Ottawa is growing.

“There’s a buzz around producing movies in Ottawa, people are curious about it,” said Cuerrier. The Independent Filmmakers Co-Operative of Ottawa saw an increase from 100 members to 130 in the past 11 years. “Ideally we need more visibility in Ottawa, a big movie festival would help,” said Cuerrier.

“There’s a lot of moral support, but you can only go so far with high fives,” said Cuerrier.

Expect Gott Ist Tot to premier at the Mayfair Theatre early this September.