Laura Dawe's direction | Arts & Culture | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST

Laura Dawe's direction

Artist Laura Dawe is shooting her feature-length film, an apocalyptic love triangle, for about $30,000,raising money through paintings and parties.

The year is 2011. Due to war in the Middle East, the world's demand for oil has never been greater. Unemployment rates have reached a high not seen since the Great Depression. The economic apocalypse is nigh. Painter and her boyfriend Michael escape in an old blue station wagon to an isolated house in the untamed countryside. At her new home, Painter meets Charlie, Michael's childhood friend. A love triangle sparks. Meanwhile, the 20somethings struggle to survive away from society.

"It's about a huge social problem, but we see it through three people and their personal problems, which mirror the greater world," Laura Dawe says of her new film, The Inevitability of Something that Once Felt Impossible.

The title, long as it may be, encompasses the first-time filmmaker's feelings about a script she wrote for a creative writing class. Dawe spent her winter writing the script and her summer producing the feature-length film. Since May, she's auctioned off personal paintings and hosted house parties with backyard bands in a constant search for funding. The artist needs $6,000 by August 20 to fund the next block of filming later this month. She hopes to complete the entire film for roughly $30,000.

"To make a feature film for less than $100,000, for someone who knows about movies, it's going to fuckin' blow their mind," Dawe says.

In late May, the dedicated team of friends, amateur actors and film gurus arrived on set in Pictou, ready to film the first 20 minutes in only six days.

"It was like summer camp," Dawe says. The production team lived on set, eating and passing out in the white country house with '70s decor. Once, the team worked for 37 hours straight. "It was crazy out there. There were times when I thought we were not going to get it. It can't happen, you know? So many nights shooting until four or five in the morning. It was insane."

It was a learning process for Dawe, who at first tried to help with everything, from set dressing to directing.

"I had my hands in every aspect of filming for so long that to get on set it took a long time for me to understand that the best way for me to direct was to just direct," she says. "It's hard to sit in front of a monitor and watch people buzz around and say, 'Go! You do this, you do this!' You feel like an asshole."

As the sun set on day six, the team had only minutes of natural lighting left to land a shot of Painter cartwheeling through a grassy field with Michael and Charlie running in her wake. The scene had been shot on the first day, but Dawe thought it needed a second attempt.

"So we have maybe four minutes to get this shot. With dialogue and everything. The sun is sinking and we're leaving," she says, talking so quickly she might have just finished a race. "I run them through the woods telling them, 'You're gonna do this and this and this, and you're gonna do it right.'"

Then the crew hit its stride. In those final moments, they got the shot: "It was magic. I don't know what else to call it. Our hearts were pounding. It was so profoundly beautiful out there."

Since the sleepless nights and steep learning curve, Dawe helped cut a two-minute trailer, which she makes available to those who help fund the project. The final two blocks of filming will happen late in August and in December, provided she raises enough cash. If the inevitable happens, the film will be finished this time next year.

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