By Nicole Cohen
Adam Brodie, Dave Derewlany and Blair Powers ramble through the rows of kitchen tables and living room sets in the furniture department of The Bay on Queen Street and settle on a pair of soft green couches.
A motley crew of metal T-shirts, wristbands and unruly hair, the trio look like the last people who would purchase an item from a display room labelled “Willow Blue.” But last year’s Ryerson graduates are not here to buy furniture. They’re here to talk about their short revenge comedy, Heatscore, which screened at the Toronto International Film Festival last week and will play the Sudbury International Film Festival at the end of September.
Drawing from Hollywood’s penchant for clichéd, cheeseball interviews, filmmakers Brodie and Derewlany and producer Powers have crafted their interview shtick into an analogous, entertaining script. They arrange themselves on the couch, shuffle the tape recorder around the beachwood coffee table and clear their throats with a collective “Ahem.”
Nicole Cohen: Where did you get the idea for Heatscore?
Adam Brodie: Good question.
Blair Powers: Very good question.
Dave Derewlany: It started about a year ago.
AB: More than a year ago.
DD: Correction! A year and a half ago. Actually, we’ve never been asked this question before.
AB: So why don’t you answer it?
DD: I don’t know what the answer is.
AB: You’re thinking of a lie?
Heatscore, the 28-minute film Brodie and Derewlany made for their final year project, is a dark homage to the gritty crime dramas of the ‘70s, crammed with references to Brodie and Derewlany’s favourite films, including Point Blank, The French Connection, Cloak & Dagger and Home Alone.
Aaron Eves plays Patrick Burlington, a misguided loner who gets caught up in a case of mistaken identity and has to face an evil crime syndicate and retrieve his bus ticket to Florida.
Brodie and Derewlany give subversive treatment to many film clichés and manage to pack on sex scene and two chase scenes into 28 minutes.
NC: What is your creative process?
AB: We go on a three-day citrus binge.
DD: Mostly oranges. I can’t stand grapefruit. Then we start on the script. After a few intense streaming steaming sessions in my dad’s sauna, we’re able to purge the unnecessary bits and squeeze out a final draft.
AB: When we were writing Heatscore we watched all of the Major League movies.
DD: One, two and three.
The birth of Heatscore is already becoming the stuff of indie movie legend. The directors say they completely stole the idea.
According the Derewlany, a classmate’s script was rejected by the teacher and tossed in the garbage. Brodie was there to pick it up. They read it and were blown away. After making a few changes and ditching the original title, Heatscore was born.
DD: His loss was our gain.
BP: He didn’t like it so much that he switched to urban planning.
AB: I wouldn’t say we stole his idea. I’d say we adopted it. We had this unloved child in our hands and decided to raise it into an adult that’s going to contribute to society. And that’s Heatscore.
AB: The script we found was about a young boy growing up on a farm and his mother dies of cancer and the dog gets sick. It was a coming-of-age story. We changed everything.
DD: We kept the character’s name.
AB: His name was Patrick Backlestein. We changed it to Patrick Burlington.
Brodie and Derewlany have been making ironic, satirical short films, videos and performance art together since they met at Ryerson in 1998. Powers, a radio and television arts grad who runs For Four People productions, has produced their three other films. Their first short, Today is Technology, was used by the Space Network as a station identification spot. For Heatscore, they received the William F. White equipment grant, which helped them finance the film for under $6,000.
NC: How did you meet?
DD: Adam and I had the same bike. I was like, ‘hey, you got the same bike.’ He said the same thing to me.
AB: Mine got stolen.
DD: But I still have mine.
BP: Dave, you didn’t have your bike before Adam’s got stolen.
DD: Yeah I did.
AB: Did you?
DD: Anyways, we had the same bike.
AB: Dave, did you have the same bike when I had it or did you have it after?
DD: I had it when you had it, remember? My parents bought it for me!
AB: You always tell it that way!
BP: I never saw you guys ride together …
AB: Ok, Ok, it’s fine, it’s fine. Next question.
Heatscore received a final grade of B from Ryerson, but, as Derewlany puts it, the real world gave them an A+. Brodie received an acceptance call from the Film Festival on July 17 and had great difficulty meeting with someone in the film department at Ryerson. They saw they received the royal runaround and little support. Finally Ryerson said they could put posters up around campus to promote their film. Feeling dissed, the trio have some beefs with the film school.
DD: The film school has no protocol for dealing with grads who are successful because they don’t expect it.
DD: It was out last-ditch effort to thank them after a very trying four years. They’re basically managing the decline of the program, they have no idea what goes on in the industry.
Brodie and Derewlany think the school needs a better relationship with the Film Festival, especially since is takes place so close to Ryerson. They think their success at the Festival should be exploited at the school and used as inspiration for younger students.
BP: We just want recognition and Ryerson’s refused to give it to us. We had to go to foster parents, a.k.a. The Film Festival, to get the love we are starved for.
AB: We’re happy to be loved by these new parents because they’re good to us and they spoil us.
DD: At Ryerson we’d asked to borrow the car every day and they’d always say no to the point we were almost grounded. Now we’re going to a friend’s house and they’re letting us borrow the car. And they’re making us dinner.
BP: We were like salmon swimming upstream. And now the catch of the day is Heatscore.
Brodie, Derewlany and Powers think there is enough story to eventually turn Heatscore into a full-length feature. They see the current incarnation of the film as their two-song demo, a first step in recording their full-length double live album.
They can barely contain their excitement about being in the Film Festival, especially because this year they don’t have to crash parties and will have a decent shot at kissing their favourite celebrities.
BP: It’s a great opportunity for us because now we don’t have to track people down, they’re forced to be in the same room as us and can’t go away. We’re going to practice shaking hands and handing out business cards.
DD: We’re kind of green about the whole thing.
BP: We’re just going to jump in headfirst and hopefully it’s not the shallow end.