An awaited presentation – La Liberté

Elena Sturk-Lussier (courtesy RBC)

After a year of work, Elena Sturk-Lussier has submitted her film Stay, at the Gimli Film Festival. The Franco-Manitoban director talks about the challenges encountered to bring this short film to life.

By Jonathan SEMAH

The story between the Gimli Film Festival and Elena Sturk-Lussier has been going on for quite a while. Indeed, last year, the filmmaker had won the competition Emerging Filmmakers, presented by the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC). Along with that award came $10,000 for assistance in making Stay. A year later, Elena Sturk-Lussier has succeeded in her bet: to present her film at the Gimli Film Festival which took place from July 20 to 24, 2022.

Stay movie poster by Elena Sturk-Lussier. (picture: courtesy)

” It went very well. There were a lot of people. The film was shown on a big screen. My team and the actors came. The premiere was at 10 a.m. and people came from far away, it really warmed my heart. »

Elena Sturk-Lussier therefore had a year to make and present this film, which tells the story of the arrival of a girl and a 17-year-old boy in a motel one evening. The director has had a busy year and sees this presentation as a culmination.

“It’s been a long year with a lot of work. You had to be everywhere: writing, organization, coordination or even visiting the places and sets. I’ve been really busy and focused on it full time especially the last few weeks. »

Image taken from the film Stay with Shannon Loewen and Brandon McEwan. (picture: courtesy)

In one year, the project Stay also changed a bit. In fact, originally Stay was supposed to last seven to eight minutes, but ultimately the film lasts 12 minutes. A change that had an impact on production.

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“I had to apply for an additional grant. I got $8,500 granted by Manitoba Music and Film. It allowed me to go further in my ambitions and desires. I really wanted to realize my vision, that’s why I needed more money. »

Finally, with this additional financial comfort, Elena Sturk-Lussier was able to give free rein to her writing. The few extra minutes come in particular from a long scene in a bar.

Filmed in April 2022 in a motel in Saint-Norbert, Elena Sturk-Lussier has, like her script, changed her way of directing. She who initially wanted to shoot with a handheld camera finally did the opposite.

“Yes, in fact, I shot with fixed cameras on tripods. For example, when a character leaves the frame, we don’t follow him. Also, I shot for the first time at night, so we worked with neon lights. I also worked with special effects. I constantly want to learn and become better, my realization had to reach another level. »

After this first successful presentation, Elena Sturk-Lussier will propose Stay at other festivals to see if there is interest. For her part, the director is already preparing other projects.

“I applied for grants. I will also make a video for the Provincial Youth Council (CJP), I have youth series in development. I will be a screenwriter and director for these projects, it is in these jobs that I find the most fulfillment. »

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