AFF: Jiggers With Attitude

PEI feature combines rap with step-dancing

(From L-R) Dir. Adam Perry, Cast members: Jeremy Larter, Lennie MacPherson, Graham Putnam and Jill McRae
  • (From L-R) Dir. Adam Perry, Cast members: Jeremy Larter, Lennie MacPherson, Graham Putnam and Jill McRae

The Saturday afternoon screening of Adam Perry's Jiggers made history, according to programmer Erin Oakes, as being the first feature from PEI to be selected to be screened at the AFF.

Even if it wasn't history making, Jiggers would still have been memorable for its odd-ball vitality and razor sharp characters. The film follows John Paul (Lennie MacPherson), an awkward would-be step-dancer had his asthma and the worries of his sister (Jill McRae) not held him back. At the local talent show, John Paul meets up with a local rap artist, Stanley (Graham Putnam), who coerces J.P into a partnership: Stanley will provide the rhymes, while J.P will tap the beats. As the boys pursue their music dreams, they retain a skuzzy manager by the name of Slender Tips Doucette (Jeremy Larter) who tantalizes them with promise of superstardom while securing their downfall with his own profound shortcomings.

Jiggers was well observed and funny, and, most remarkably, despite a surplus of quirky elements, never became precious or sentimental. John Paul, Stanley and Slender are goofy dudes, but exist in a very recognizable Charlottetown and keep the film grounded and, therefore, more enveloping. i really hesitated over whether or not to describe the film as quirky. 'Quirk' is usually shortform for 'Sundancey indie movie' these days, and Perry and co. have created characters that are unique and fresh. When I said 'quirky,' I meant 'original.'

The Q&A with Perry covered the usual pleasures and pains of making one's first low-budget feature, though Perry comes at it from a unique perspective. Jiggers is also a webseries and was conceived as such as it was being developed as a feature. (Perry also is a co-conspirator with Larter on another webseries, Profile PEI) When asked what he is going to work on next, Perry responded, "Probably sleep," and then get to work on another "Island" feature for next year.