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This article was published 7/4/2017 (919 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Everyone’s gotta do what they’ve gotta do to get through the day.
That’s the idea, in a nutshell, behind Menorca, a new dramatic feature film from East Kildonan’s John Barnard.
"Menorca is about a soccer mom who is what some people would describe as a ‘bad mommy,’" Barnard, who wrote and directed the film on a shoestring budget, explained with a chuckle. "I don’t think she is, though. I think she’s a fine mom. But in her frustration, her discontent with her life, she parties a lot and has a good time to make herself feel better. On one such party/adventure she gets fired by her own son."
Filmed in Manitoba over 12 days (locations included Bronx Park Community Centre and Kimberly Avenue), and another four days in Spain, Menorca stars Tammy Gillis as Claire, the soccer-mom-gone-wild, and Sheila Campbell as Jenny, a small town waitress/exotic dancer who befriends Claire.
"(Claire) gets a job in a rural bar as an exotic dancer to collect resources to bring her son’s pet rock back to Menorca and drop it in the ocean," Barnard said. With another laugh, he adds, "Really, it’s just a movie about a mom who drops a rock into the ocean."
Barnard said he first got the idea for Menorca in the spring of 2014. He quickly wrote a quick script, and kept expanding on it as he worked on Escape or Die!, a documentary series following escape artist Dean Gunnarson. When the show had wrapped in May 2015, Barnard had a lot of the pieces ready to roll on Menorca.
"The problem was, I wrote this movie set in Manitoba but also in Spain, on Menorca. And I’d never been there before!"
Barnard travelled to the Spanish island in the spring of 2015, and was pleased to find the people he met were very accommodating.
"The place was even nicer, the people were even better than I imagined," Barnard said. "I totally hit the jackpot!"
The film is Barnard’s first foray into feature-length drama. An executive producer and co-founder of Farpoint Films, Barnard has produced feature-length music documentaries and lifestyle television shows like Escape or Die! He said the experience of making the film was both familiar to his other work, and completely different.
"Everything is different, but also the same," he said. "When I had a finished screenplay, I still wanted to explore it more. I wanted to explore the characters and the world of it further. That whole aesthetic was similar to documentary filmmaking."
With some financing from Manitoba Film & Sound, production for Menorca went quickly and smoothly. Since its completion, the film premiered at the 2016 Whistler Film Festival.
"I’m really happy with the buzz that’s been generated around the movie," Barnard said.
Following a limited theatrical release in the US, Menorca is about to open in Winnipeg, Vancouver, and Toronto later this month. Plans are in the works to make the film available via streaming services, as well.
"Hopefully that will make it available to all who want it on the planet," Barnard said.
Menorca will be playing at Cinemateque (304-100 Arthur St.) from April 20 to 30. For show times and more information, visit www.winnipegfilmgroup.com/event/menorca/2017-04-13
Community journalist — The Herald
Sheldon Birnie is the community journalist for The Herald Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org Call him at 204-697-7112