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This article was published 13/5/2019 (562 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Production has just wrapped on a Manitoba-made movie that shines a unique spotlight on the subject of immigration.
On May 10, Winnipeg-based Inferno Pictures finished shooting the film, titled Cinema of Sleep, which stars Dayo Ade as a Nigerian refugee who wakes up in a U.S. motel room to find a dead woman in his bed. As he struggles to regain his memory of where she came from, he fears what he discovers may mean never seeing his family again.
In a news release, the film — which is directed by Jeffrey St. Jules — is described as a gripping and emotional drama that introduces audiences to the ongoing immigration crisis that has affected more than 65 million individuals on a global level. It’s produced through Inferno Productions by Old St. Vital resident Sami Tesfazghi; Brendon Sawatzky, who lives in North Kildonan; and River Heights resident Ian Dimerman.
Tesfazghi told The Lance that while the overarching backdrop of the movie is the immigration crisis, there are plenty of elements woven into the story that make it a psychological thriller in its own right.
"It’s a story about companionship, and about letting go, and it isn’t strictly about refugees," said Tesfazghi, 35, who is a University of Winnipeg alumnus.
"There are also references to old movies such as Casablanca incorporated into it. It can definitely be described as a psychological thriller, and there’s a big twist at the end."
Tesfazghi said pre-production on the film began in early April, and shooting locations have included Selkirk — notably at the Landmark Cinemas Garry Theatre, and the Marine Museum of Manitoba — and in Winnipeg — including some exterior shots at a hotel on Main Street. And because most of the film takes place in a motel room, Tesfazghi said producers built a motel room set in a warehouse.
He said he has enjoyed both the collaborative process during production, and the diversity of the individuals involved with the project.
"I think it’s coming together really well. Every night we look at the raw footage, and we’re very happy with it, and how it looks, and the performances are great," Tesfazghi said.
"And the diversity of the actors, editors, and crew is amazing. I’m African-Canadian, and my heritage is Eritrean, and there are not a lot of people of Eritrean descent working in the film industry in Canada, yet there are several of us working on this project, and none of us have ever worked together before. It’s very refreshing for me to meet other creative people from my country, as well as help tell the story of how others have come to this country to find a better home."
Other cast members include Getenesh Berhe, Jonas Chernick, and Olunike Adeliyi.
The film is supported by Telefilm Canada, Manitoba Film & Music, the Manitoba Film and Video Production Tax Credit, the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit, Vigilante Productions and Inferno Pictures.
At press time, Cinema of Sleep was scheduled to be edited this summer, and released early next year.
Visit www.infernopictures.com for more information.
Community journalist — The Lance
Simon Fuller is the community journalist for The Lance. Email him at email@example.com Call him at 204-697-7111