Canada | 2014 | 1:22 | Feature Narrative | NY Premiere

A young widower convinces his landlord and his roommate to help him clone his dead wife.

Directors: Kathryn Palmateer, Shawn Whitney
Writer: Shawn Whitney
Producers: Kathryn Palmateer, Freya Ravensbergen, Manuel Rodriguez-Saenz, Shawn Whitney

Clinton Lee Pontes, Freya Ravensbergen, Manuel Rodriguez-Saez

Director: Kathryn Palmateer & Shawn Whitney

Kathryn comes to film through her extensive experience as a freelance photographer who works in both lifestyle photography and portraiture. She recently launched a book of photos with Three O’Clock Press featuring photos and stories of women who have had abortions entitled One Kind Word. She has compiled a wide range of work on such diverse subjects as US War Resisters, Canadian Midwives, and Breastfeeding Mothers.
A graduate of York University’s Interdisciplinary Studies MA program and the Canadian Film Centre’s Feature Film Lab, Shawn is a filmmaker, writer and story editor. Previously he was founder and artistic director of Lost Carnival, a musical theatre company in Toronto. He has acted as executive story consultant on several produced and upcoming feature films, including Outcast starring Nic Cage and Hayden Christensen.
A Brand New You is their first feature film.

Director’s Statement

We have long collaborated politically, socially, even building a family together but we really wanted to create something together. We wanted to use our artistic skills and bring them together and make a movie. We’ve come to realize over the years that no one was going to do it for us. We just had to do it ourselves. We are a little bit crazy like that. We didn’t have the money. We didn’t have much in the way of resources. And we’d certainly never made a movie before. We were inspired by the Mumblecore movement and films like Safety Not Guaranteed, which was able to tell a story in a way that was funny, human and, of course, cheap. There was a real sense that anything was possible – we just needed a few DSLR’s, a great script, and some great actors.

Because it was our first feature with very limited resources and a very tight shooting schedule, there were a few things that we were clear on right from the start. The story must be solid. We did not have time or resources for over-stylization or fancy shots. We needed great actors who could give us a range of performances in a short time (we HAD TO make our days!). And we needed great sound.

We knew that Alex Lisman, our DP, was a solid shooter with lots of experience shooting fast with limited equipment and with lots of run and gun style handheld work because he works everyday as a documentary filmmaker. He’s the guy you always see at events with a video camera, like it’s glued to his shoulder. So that gave us confidence that if, for the most part, we stuck to bread and butter type shots we could get decent coverage in the 12 days that we had to shoot 95+ pages.

There were some very heavy days – like 12 pages heavy – where we had to sacrifice coverage to make our day. That kind of pragmatism helped us get this thing done. And it shaped other aspects of our approach. For example, we don’t have the resources – or the inclination, to be honest – to have a composed score. We’d rather have sparse music at the transitions and to rely on original music from local artists.

We talked a lot about tonal consistency – as in, do we have it? In some ways the script doesn’t have that at all – some of the things that Murray and Santiago say and do are outrageous and funny and then you have these serious plot elements and dark scenes of suicide and mourning and loss. Getting the balance right was constantly a concern and there aren’t tons of well-known filmmakers who do that but Alexander Payne (The Descendants, Election, et al) has that mix of funny/sad, so we felt like we weren’t totally off the wall to try it.