For the cinematographer – now director – this Canadian film is a real labour of love.
He looks as calm as a cucumber, and genuinely happy to be at CKNW for an interview. Meeting Rob Connolly is like meeting a friend for lunch, but instead, we’re chatting over microphones about his new film, Edge of Winter.
And talking to Connolly about the film, which is out in limited release, you can tell this really was a labour of love for him. Not only did he direct the film – he also co-wrote it.
The film follows two boys who head out to spend some time with their father, Elliot Baker, who is played by Joel Kinnaman. (You may recognize the name; Kinnaman is coming off a stint in the film Suicide Squad.) The pair don’t really know him; they’ve been living with their mother. When they end up stranded in the middle of the frozen nowhere, it’s up to the boys to figure out what’s more dangerous: the freezing cold, some of the people they encounter…or their father himself.
“This was going to be the challenge of the entire film; this transition that happens from what seems like almost mundane, day-to-day life, for a big section of the film…but then, transforms into something out without you quite realizing how far you’ve come. It was really important for us to make this a real character who is really struggling with a lot of things in his life. He’s not somebody who is equipped to be a father, and he doesn’t have that ability to see ahead of whatever decision he makes. He’s incredibly short sighted. Every little thing that he’s faced with, he’ll make a snap judgement, and then, suddenly, after ten of those, he realizes he’s gone really far away from where he started.”
Connolly says it wasn’t just Kinnaman’s acting chops that added to the film.
“We were incredibly lucky to get Kinnaman on this project really early, and he was the champion of the whole thing. He got Tom Holland on board, and everything sort of fell into place from there. For me, it was incredible to work with these guys, who are at the top of their game, and as soon as they get in front of the camera, they do something magical.”
And it’s not only the acting that makes Connolly proud. The imagery is stunning. Shot in Sudbury, Ontario, he says the entire team managed to get through hurdles to produce a certain look and feel to the movie.
“We’re outside for pretty much the entire shoot, and you’re really removed from any place…if things go wrong, if the generator would go down for an hour or two, you can’t just get a replacement, or plug into the walls anywhere when you’re in the middle of the forest. It had to feel really remote, and it had to feel like they were in peril the entire time.”
They also had some problems with fast-melting snow.
“We started shooting, and it had been 40, 50-below-zero, and then suddenly, a week into the shoot…and all the snow starts melting. We had dump trucks full of snow coming in every day, with people shoveling them around, and snowblowers trying to make it consistent. And then of course, on the last day, a blizzard comes in, and so we’ve got that to contend with; it looks totally different from what the previous week or two had looked like.”
But the film has now made its way to the other end of the country – here in Vancouver. It will be playing at the VanCity Theatre Friday and Saturday, with showings throughout the month. You can also catch Connolly at a Q and A session on Friday, August 19th.
Take a listen to our chat below!
…and check out the trailer here!