They may not have won the Pitch This! competition, but Dillon McManamy and Stephen Dunn certainly didn’t lose.
The third and fourth-year film students were selected to pitch their film ‘The Marksman’ to over 200 industry professionals during the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) on Sept. 13.
Pitch This! gives independent Canadian filmmakers a shot at winning $10,000 in development funding and a huge audience to air their ideas.
While the two didn’t win, their pitch sparked the interest of two Toronto-based executive producers.
“The people that were interested were the exact people we were hoping would be interested when we started,” said Dunn.
The film already has a producer, but the interested professionals will help Dunn and McManamy re-develop their script.
The two were given six minutes to explain the film. The presentation began with McManamy walking through the audience dressed as a lone mummer, a disguised figure seen as a death omen in Newfoundland folklore.
McManamy said involving mummering as a part of the storyline played a role in their pitch’s success.
“I believe that was one of our strengths… selling this part of Canadian culture that was never seen before.”
He also thinks having a first draft already completed put them a step ahead of the other competitors, who were all more experienced filmmakers.
“The $10,000 would be nice, but we knew as two young guys, two emerging filmmakers, we were up against pretty stiff competition in the beginning, we were clearly the youngest out of the entire group,” he said.
Dunn said the pitch and the slew of audience questions were intimidating, but he thinks they did a good job of selling their script.
“We felt really good about it, despite not having come out with the big cheese, this was a success to us,” he said.
The next step, besides crafting a new draft of the script, is composing a look-book of visual sources to put into a package so they have something to show when they meet with the two interested producers in the next two weeks.
Dunn said they’re aiming for production to begin within the next two or three years.
“I guess the best way to describe this whole process is its the first of many steps forward. It’s a fairly big step, I mean, we kind of had a little more going behind us because we already had a first draft…and then Pitch This! was another sort of stab at it, and then you go back and apply for another grant… it’s a big web in Canada.”