Wednesday, September 14, 2005


Lucid is the second feature film from Sean Garrity (Inertia) and had its world premiere here at the festival. Lucid is about a psychotherapist named Joel, played by Jonas Chernick, who also wrote the screenplay with Garrity. Joel is leading group therapy sessions with Victor (Callum Keith Rennie), Chandra (Michelle Nolden) , and Sophie (Lindy Booth). Each seems to be suffering in their own way with post-traumatic stress disorder, Victor being aggressive, Chandra being withdrawn, and Sophie turning to prescription drugs. Joel himself is under his own stress of his wife leaving him, manifesting itself in insomnia, not being able to talk with his daughter (Brianna Williams) and even hearing profanity in a children's cartoon. It is not long before Jonas' problems and those of his patients begin to affect each other.

It is difficult to say too much about the movie without giving anything away, but I thought that Chernick did an excellent job as Joel, making his struggle to understand his reality interesting. I also thought that Lindy Booth did a nice turn in the role of Sophie. While the story may not necessarily be anything new, Chernick's and Garrity's screenplay does give an intriguing take on it, and kept me hooked until the end.

Lucid also screened with the good but disturbing short film Room 710, from Ann Marie Fleming, who is also at the festival this year with the movie The French Guy.

Director Sean Garrity, and actors Jonas Chernick, Michelle Nolden, and Brianna Williams stayed for a Q&A after the film. Note that there are some spoilers in these comments:

  • The budget for the film was $2 million.
  • Chernick said he was inspired by a lot of other movies in the genre, and that the movie got darker once Garrity came on board.
  • It only took Garrity about 23 days to shoot the film. He made an interesting comparison to his last film Inertia, which took about the same time to film but was made for a quarter of the budget.
  • The first draft of the screenplay was written about seven years ago; they joked that like most Canadian films, the bulk of the time in making the film was taken up by trying to obtain financing.
  • The movie was shot on 35mm film.
  • Callum Keith Rennie was the first choice for the role of Victor, and he joined after reading the script.
  • The score was done by Richard Moody, describe by Garrity as a "boy genius Winnipeg viola player" who he has collaborated with before. Garrity said he likes working with non-keyboard players. They received some additional funding at the end of the production, which allowed them to hire some members of the Winnipeg Symphony to perform on the soundtrack.
  • They tried to inject a more humorous tone into the movie, which they felt makes it harder to see the end coming.
  • The Snugglebugs animation in the movie was done by Frantic Films, a Winnipeg FX house.
  • Originally, the character of Joel was a patient, not the doctor, but Garrity and Chernick found that test audiences were too willing to accept Joel's opinions about what was happening. By switching him to be the therapist, people can then share his character's skepticism.
  • Brianna Williams has been acting since she was 8 or so, and turns 10 in May.
  • Cinematographer Michael Marshall has worked with Garrity before on Inertia, and on a number of other films, including some with Guy Maddin.
  • Garrity wanted the colour to drain out of the film as it progressed, being more orange in the beginning, but blue/black/white by the end. They didn't use gels to get the effect; they shot outdoors using film balanced for indoor light and used blue lights.
  • The film is scheduled for general release in March 2006, but they will be taking the film to a number of other Canadian festivals before then.


My experiences at the Toronto International Film Festival. Note this blog is not affiliated with the Toronto International Film Festival Group or the festival itself.
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