By Maria Kelly
In recent years, music has essentially put Cape Breton on the map. The resulting regional, national, and even international exposure of cape Breton’s arts and entertainment scene is broadening its horizons even further. But that’s not to say that music is exclusively where the action is. Dance, theatre, literature, visual art, and now film, are making their way onto the scene, demonstrating just how inspirational the culture of life on this island can be for the creative urge…
IN the recent past, bug production companies from far away, like Walt Disney Corp. and Malo Films, have been drawn to Cape Breton for its culture and lanscape to film stories like Squanto and Margaret’s Museum. The experience of working on these productions gave locals a taste of the movie industry. The opening of a soundstage facility at Sydport Industrial Park in Point Edward will hopefully encourage even more local film production. Coxheath native Jeff Matheson, however, isn’t waiting for the boom. He’s starting now and doing it on his own.
After nine months at the Vancouver Film School, Jeff has come home to his roots to create Weeding Eden, a film that was inspired after a serious car accident gave him two months of recuperation time to reflect on his growing up in Cape Breton. “I simply started writing what I knew,” says Jeff.
Weeding Eden is essentially based on personal experience. It’s a character film which sketches the respective lives and relationships of 15 young adults, living in post-industrial Cape Breton, who have to deal with the epic struggle to stay or to leave the island. In its cast, locations, setting, filming, directing, producing and financing this is a 100% Cape Breton film. Accomplished local actors are cast in all the roles. Even the setting for the film have been chosen with a knowing eye and include Kay’s Kozy Korner and the French Club in Sydney’s north end.
Matheson has assumed responsibility for funding and production of Weeding Eden, and producing it himself with rented equipment. This independent effort should be commended for its initiative and held up as an example of how things sometimes have to be done around here.
Matheson expects to have completed Weeding Eden by this time next year in hopes of a premiere at the Halifax Film Festival. The tentative plan from there is to gain exposure and distribution at film festivals in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and maybe even overseas.