Since moving here, I’ve often been told what a shame it is that this city is portrayed solely by out-of-towners. People who fly in, get their footage and fly out again without ever experiencing what it can be like to live here and make this city your home. Some people come here and never even meet a ‘unicorn’ (phrase told to me by a lady at the airport) – meaning a person who was born and raised in Fort McMurray. Since my husband is one of these precious ‘corns, I’ve had the opportunity to both assimilate into this community and to befriend many born-and-raised’s, having them share stories and tales of what growing up in Tar Sand City can be like. It’s an experience I wish for more people to have.
And do you know what? There is a story out there right now, about Fort McMurray, from Fort McMurray, written, directed and produced by Fort McMurray. Production is set to start in June and you can help make it happen! Help give a local director (who just came back from France after having his short film Wool screened at the Cannes Film Festival) the chance to tell the story from a unicorn’s perspective. I present to you; Gregoire, written and directed by Cody Bown, produced by Tito Guillen.
Gregoire centers around three young adults growing up in Fort McMurray, also known as the fabled ‘Boom Town’ or ‘Fort McMoney’. As quoted from the film’s funding page:
“Felix and Louis are brothers of divorce. They live with their hard working mother and get up to no good. When Mom has finally had enough she puts pressure on the boys to smarten up which causes a divide in the boys. Misha is straightening out her life after a rough couple of years which has put her under the watchful eye of her parents, right down to bank account management. Her life continues to unravel when she learns that she is pregnant and jobless within the same week.
Many people ask me [Cody Bown] “Why not just make the film in Vancouver?” and I tell them, ‘nothing feels better than home’. This is a very personal piece for me and I want it to be as authentic as possible. Presently the production team is working on securing many important locations throughout the Fort McMurray region.”