I had a chance to catch up with the film’s director/writer/producer/editor, Corbin Saleken, to learn more about the project. P.S. – he funded it all on his own.
Imagine if you could see into the future before everything happened…
It’s the premise of a new film directed, written and produced by Corbin Saleken, called Patterson’s Wager. Not only is the movie impressive (it’s won a number of accolades across the country, and has been a movie pick by a plethora of outlets and groups), but, for Saleken, at the heart of it all is a dream fulfilled.
“It is a leap of faith to go ahead with it. To go ahead with a film in any sense, but, certainly, self-financing, it is, because there’s not necessarily a budget. It’s just as much as I can afford to spend.”
Yep. That’s right. He financed the entire thing all on his own.
“I figured it was the only way to get this made. I only had to rely on myself to do this, and I was really willing to invest in myself.”
And the investment seems to be paying off so far. The film had its premiere at the Winnipeg Real to Reel Film Festival, winning the audience choice award for Best Independent Feature Narrative. Since then, Saleken has no doubt been busy, with screenings at festivals in Hawaii, Idaho, Washington, and Whistler. But the next week or so for Saleken will be a homecoming of sorts, when the film screens at the Vancity Theatre.
“Going to film festivals, and talking to people there, and hearing that they’ve been affected by the movie, there’s nothing better than that. And that’s the big thing – having this Vancouver premiere on Sunday [April 17th], it’s a really big deal to actually show it to a hometown audience, and be able to see and hear their reactions. It’s going to be amazing.”
That amazing feeling came with a lot of hard work on Saleken’s part. An alumni of UBC’s Film and Television studies, he wanted to put his talents to good use. What better time was there than the present?
“Like every film student, I’ve always wanted to make a feature film. And I’m not getting any younger. None of us are. So I just figured if I didn’t go for it now, it may never happen. I didn’t want to be one of those people that always talks about the films he’s never going to make.”
And that was that. Saleken scored an entire cast and crew he says he couldn’t be more proud of.
“They were all my first choice. Those were one of things when, I was making this, I knew that I didn’t have a lot of money. I had to find production value where I could, and one of the best ways to do this is to get the best actors you can. You have professional actors who have a body of work that people recognize, and they bring so much to the screen. I’ve got Fred Ewanuick from Corner Gas, Chelah Horsdal – she’s in almost everything that’s in Vancouver. Right now she’s shooting The Man in the High Castle. Alex Zahara, he was in Once Upon a Time – he played King Midas. So, what’s great about these actors, too, is that because they’re so trained, I could shoot really quickly. We shot this whole movie in twelve-and-a-half days. And the big reason we were able to do that was because these actors were ready to go. Everything was done in one or two takes.”
Saleken admits there were some tough spots.
“The biggest challenge in making this was deciding to do it. I couldn’t really know how much work was going to be involved. I shot this film in the summer of 2013, and I’m still working on it. Every single day, once it’s done, I still have to promote it, get it out into the world, so there’s this massive amount of work that it entails. Deciding to commit to the time, and make the financial commitment – that was really the biggest challenge for sure.”
Of course, the walk on the tightrope is a little scarier when you’re doing this all on your own – and you’re not backed by any kind of studio.
“It could have completely failed. I could have done this thing, invested all this money, and it could have been terrible and could have turned out not how I wanted it to turn out at all. Luckily, it didn’t. This is exactly the movie I wanted to make, which I guess I’m pretty fortunate that that happened.”
If you’re interested in checking out Patterson’s Wager, the film will have two screenings: one on Sunday, April 17th, and the other on Wednesday, April 20th. For more information, click here.
TAKE A LISTEN TO MY FULL INTERVIEW WITH CORBIN SALEKEN BELOW!