Nephew follows Eric, a young Vancouverite, as he is faced with a complicated decision. After having seen his estranged uncle on the bus for the first time in over 10 years, Eric weighs the merits of reaching out to him, and the risk it may pose to his family.
Intercut with Eric’s story are two documentary-like interviews in which two additional characters, Philip and Claudine, describe their relationships with their own respective uncles. Philip, a young Swedish man living in New York, recounts the experience of growing up with a racecar driver for an uncle, and how a car accident drastically changed his family dynamic. Claudine, a French Canadian woman in her early sixties, recalls the impact of an uncle she idolized as a child as she contemplates her present-day responsibilities as an aunt.
These two interview sequences offer differing perspectives towards avuncular relationships, complementing Eric’s own conflicting thoughts. As he leans further and further towards reconnecting with his uncle, Eric begins to question the significance of their relationship.
Why tell this story?
The idea for this story is a personal one. Two years ago, I remet an uncle of mine, who I had not seen in over 10 years. The meeting was at once strange and comforting; I found myself in the presence of someone whom I felt I barely knew, yet at the same time, a family member who I could instantly connect with.
This experience led me to question the significance of the relationships people have with their aunts and uncles, and how drastically different they are from person to person. Unlike our parents and grandparents, who tend to take on similar responsibilities in caring for their immediate families, the degree of family involvement an aunt or uncle takes on varies considerably. These varying familial situations are what I wanted to explore in this film.
The film is being produced as part of the University of British Columbia’s Film Production program. As a student production we get to collaborate with many talented actors for free, but are unable to seek out grants and public funding. No monetary support for our films is offered through our program, which means our films are entirely self-funded by us students.
Our wonderful cast of incredibly talented actors, Noah Cohen, Yves Jacques, Louise Portal, Philip Wrangberg, Nina Winkler and Sabina Nelson are instrumental to the film. A considerable amount of time and energy was put into casting, more so than any other facet of this project.
Thanks to a sponsorship from Panavision, we were able to afford to shoot the film on Super 16mm film instead of digitally. This stylistic decision was made to create an atmosphere inspired by rainy Vancouver – the grey skies, bright greens and wet asphalt – which feels moody, yet beautiful. Shooting on Super 16mm film is a challenge we have excitedly undertaken; despite the fact that our program encourages shooting digitally, we feel that shooting on Super 16mm is an important part of our aesthetic.
In addition to Super 16mm, some accompanying scenes are shot in different formats – including digital, Super 8mm, Mini DVD, and VHS – in an effort to evoke the nostalgic quality of family memories.
The soundtrack complements this moodiness, featuring tracks by Ty Segall and Gabe Nandez, along with an original score composed by local Vancouver musician and fellow UBC Film Production student Sam Tudor.
The goal for Nephew is to have a 2 year worldwide festival run, followed by a free online release.
Writer / Director
Born and raised in Quebec City, David is a Film Production and Film Studies student at the University of British Columbia (UBC), in his final year of study. David strives to tell deeply personal stories which straddle the line between documentary and narrative fiction. His past short films have screened in festivals worldwide, including Warsaw Film Festival, Cannes Short Film Corner, and MWFF.
Yassmina was born in Amman, Jordan, and is a graduate of the Bristol Law School. She is currently in her final year of the Film Production program at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Yassmina’s main focus is creating character-driven films that explore a diversity of diasporic voices and stories. “Light” (2014) is her directorial debut, and to date has been selected to screen at TIFF, the American Film Institute (AFI) Festival, Dubai International Film Festival, and VIFF.
Born in Montreal and raised in Toronto, Patty is in her final year of study in the Honours Film Studies program at the University of British Columbia (UBC). She has previously worked in art direction and producing for short films, and is currently working on her written Honours thesis, which explores the relationship between ethics and the treatment/manipulation of time in documentary filmmaking.
A graduate of Montreal’s INIS’ documentary production program, Thomas is an artistically and content driven director and producer from Quebec City. Founder of Pléhouse Films in 2001, he was first involved in action sports films before moving on to directing sports television programs for the CBC. Thomas is now directing documentary series and operating his production company deBox (www.debox.ca).
Cinematographer / Co-Producer
Édouard is a working director, cinematographer and producer based out of Montreal, Canada. He is a recent graduate of Concordia’s Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. Édouard is the founder of Video 4D and Capturographe, two production companies through which he can work on a variety of projects ranging form commercial/corporate to artistically driven short films.
More on Édouard's work: http://www.edouard-db.com/
Sam is a musician and 3rd year Film Production student at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Sam has played live shows at festivals and venues in British Columbia, and his music is frequently played on CBC radio shows North by Northwest and Radio West. His second studio album, “The Modern New Year”, was released September 2014.
More on Sam's music: http://samtudor.bandcamp.com
Production Designer / Casting Director
Lee was born and raised in Vancouver, and is in her final year of study in the Film Production program at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Focusing on production design, Lee has worked in the art department for 15 short films. Her recent work can be seen online in “Cadence” (Short Film, 2014), and in Yassmina Karajah’s short film “Light” (2014).
Born and raised in Vancouver, Blake is a working cinematographer in his final year of study in the Film Production program at the University of British Columbia (UBC). In 2012, Blake co-founded Lawn Party Films, a successful full service production company, and has worked in the camera department of projects that have screened at VIFF and MWFF. Blake was awarded the Best in Festival prize at the Surrey International Film Festival in 2010 and 2011.
Why we need your help
Making a film (even a short film) is expensive, especially as students. At this moment, the film has been shot, and is in the early stages of editing. We are striving to create a short film that is aesthetically and narratively pleasing.
Being in our last year of school, we are challenging our limits and aiming to produce a film that goes beyond the scope of our limited resources; a learning experience we believe is valuable, especially in today’s competitive film industry.
To do this, we need your support in the following elements of post-production:
- Sound mix
- Colour grading
- Film scan
- Publicity (website creation, burning DVDs, festival entries, etc.)
Each of these areas are integral in ensuring the film meets our artistic vision while reaching out to a broad audience via festivals and online release.
Risks and challenges
As mentioned above, we've set out to realize a very specific artistic vision, despite the limited resources at our disposal. Our passion for and commitment to the project have so far allowed us to seek out the resources to shoot on film, but our work is only half done.
The challenges we face moving forward are mostly technical. Further financial contribution will determine whether or not we can afford the technical proficiency that is necessary when working with such a meticulous medium.
A professional sound mix, colour grading, and film scan are key elements that will contribute to the aesthetic and technical quality of the film. On top of this, professional involvement in these areas will ensure that we meet the deadlines set out for us by our school program and post production schedule.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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