Vancouver’s neo-prog upstarts We Are the City head to Cannes this week to present Violent as an official selection in the film festival’s Perspective Canada program.
Originally planned as a companion piece to the band’s 2013 album of the same name, Violent (the film) became “pretty much its own thing” once everyone decided—in a decision that drummer and director Andrew Huculiak described to the Straight as “crazy”—to make a stand-alone feature film in Norway. But it was the perfect place for the project’s dark, fatalistic vibe.
According to a media release, Violent “revolves around the film’s young protagonist (Dagny), who, in the midst of experiencing a catastrophic event is remembering the five people who love her most”. Huculiak cited Oslo, August 31st and the work of Lars von Trier as influences.
“We watched a lot of Scandinavian and Norwegian films that informed the style and pacing of the film,” he said.
After a five-month writing session that included Huculiak’s bandmate Cayne McKenzie, along with his Amazing Factory production company partners Joseph Schweers and Josh Huculiak, everybody headed over to Bergen for the self-financed shoot.
Based on the trailer, not to mention the prestigious company Violent is travelling with—new films by Atom Egoyan and David Cronenberg are also included in the program—the results are highly impressive. Huculiak and the team at Amazing Factory have produced a number of striking music videos over the last few years for Said the Whale, among others, but “the ultimate goal has always been film.”
Added Huculiak: “I’m not even comfortable with saying I directed it. Technically, I suppose I did, but I’d feel way more comfortable personally saying We Are the City and Amazing Factory made this film, and that’s kind of it.”
Whoever’s really responsible for Violent, it’s worth pointing out that Orson Welles was 26 years old when he made Citizen Kane. Huculiak is 24.