Whistler Film Festival 2012: Mad Ship to set sail with world premiere

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      Checking in from the 12th annual Whistler Film Festival here in rainy—yes, rainy—Whistler.

      Just hung out with the Ontario filmmaking husband-and-wife team David Mortin and Patricia Fogliato, who are about to attend the world premiere of their film Mad Ship.

      The film is inspired by the true story of a Finnish immigrant who tried to build a ship on the Canadian prairies. Mortin said he wound up in an insane asylum, but they were so intrigued by the evocative potential of the idea that they wound up writing a screenplay based upon it.

      Mad Ship is a quiet, haunting tale of a Norwegian immigrant, Tomas (played by Danish actor Nikolaj Lie Kaas), who is struggling to support his wife (portrayed by Norwegian star Line Verndal) and two children on a modest farm on the Canadian prairies during the Great Depression. A drought has dried up his crop, and he’s long overdue on his payments to the bank. Not willing to give up, he heads to the city to find work, leaving behind his wife with their children on their isolated land. But an unfortunate turn of events push all of them to resort to desperate measures, eventually culminating in the father’s plan to—believe it or not—build a boat.

      Fogliato said that it’s about the ambiguities people face in such dire situations. I mentioned to them that I felt it had a lot of universal themes and fears. Everyone at some point has wondered, "How far would I go if I were pushed to your financial limits? What would I do to survive and keep my family together?" Fogliato added that it's also about the desire to cling to pursuing big dreams in the face of extreme pressures.

      The gorgeously shot landscape—both in Canada and Norway—plays a prominent role in the film, both visually and in the story, as well.

      Fogliato said they are waiting to see how audiences will react to the film at the world premiere, which takes place tonight at 9 p.m. It screens again on Saturday (December 1) at 3:15 p.m.

      Gotta run but more on the festival to come before it ends on Sunday (December 2).

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at twitter.com/cinecraig.


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      Dec 1, 2012 at 10:53am

      Landscapes, ambiguities and boat building? Are you guys sure this film is Canadian? Where are Sarah Polley's boorish parents and the washed american d-lister earning coke money? If only it was set on the praries during the depression... oh, never mind.

      Pam Kacir

      Dec 2, 2012 at 9:59pm

      Mad Ship: Amazing cinematography, with stellar actors in a film that many, if not all immigrant Canadians can relate from their own memories of the depression and/or stories handed down to us, their children. Directors David Mortin and Patricia Fogliato, kudos to you!