Har­bour Grace serves as open­ing lo­ca­tion for new short

Film­maker finds pe­riod-ap­pro­pri­ate ar­eas in com­mu­nity for story set in 1800s

The Compass - - Front page - BY CHRIS LEWIS

Cer­tain parts of Har­bour Grace will make it to the big screen in the com­ing months.

“New Wo­man” is a new short film from New­found­land direc­tor Ben­jamin Noah, and any­one fa­mil­iar with Har­bour Grace will rec­og­nize some of the com­mu­nity’s sights in the first few min­utes of the movie.

The film is, as de­scribed by Noah, a gothic-ro­mance set in the 1800s. As a re­sult, he has had to rely on New­found­land’s his­toric lo­ca­tions as back­drops for his scenes – specif­i­cally, old churches and build­ings that can be found across the prov­ince. Har­bour Grace was an ideal lo­ca­tion for film­ing, as cer­tain parts of Wa­ter Street, as well as St. Paul’s Angli­can Church, served Noah and his film crew quite nicely.

“I mean, any­one who knows Har­bour Grace, knows it’s a beau­ti­ful spot,” the direc­tor said of the de­ci­sion to shoot in the Con­cep­tion Bay North com­mu­nity. “When you’re shoot­ing any sort of project set in an older time pe­riod, it can be kind of dif­fi­cult when it comes to find­ing places to film, but New­found­land has a lot of these re­ally nice look­ing build­ings and ar­eas that, when shot the right way, can re­ally look the part, like the church we filmed at to­day.”

The film­ing process in Har­bour Grace took only a few hours on Satur­day, Dec. 30, but Noah and his team had been trav­el­ing to sev­eral dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions in the prov­ince through­out the week, with Har­bour Grace serv­ing as the lo­ca­tion for the open­ing scenes of the film.

“(The movie) fol­lows two im­mi­grants – one from Ire­land, and one from Eastern Europe,” Noah ex­plained. “Without get­ting into too much de­tail, the Ir­ish im­mi­grant has come upon some hard times, and at­tempts to pick­pocket this wo­man’s purse, and she ends up pulling off se­duc­ing him into com­ing back to her cas­tle. One of the rea­sons I wanted to make this was be­cause of that – it has a strong fe­male role, and she’s kind of in charge, which is nice.”

Noah ex­plained that the film, which fea­tures Rhi­an­non Mor­gan and Car­bon­ear na­tive Stephen Oates as the lead char­ac­ters, had been in the works for a num­ber of years prior to film­ing. Af­ter strug­gling to se­cure fund­ing, Noah ad­mit­ted he had be­gun to lose hope of ever see­ing the project come to fruition.

How­ever, his de­ter­mi­na­tion to see it through to the end con­vinced him to pay out of his own pocket for the project. Noah said he would be for­ever grate­ful to those who helped him along the way.

“I was a bit late get­ting into this, ac­tu­ally. I was al­ways ob­sessed with film, but a lot of peo­ple told me, you know, New­found­land just wasn’t the place to make it as a direc­tor, and for a while, I just couldn’t get the funds to make this a re­al­ity,” he said. “But I’ve met some re­ally amaz­ing peo­ple along the way who have helped out tremen­dously, and while I think I’ve def­i­nitely put a down pay­ment on a house into this movie, I wouldn’t ever have been able to do it without peo­ple like Rhi­an­non, Stephen, Troy (Ma­her, direc­tor of pho­tog­ra­phy) and ev­ery­one else who’s com­mit­ted them­selves to this with me. Even peo­ple who do­nated equip­ment, or let me shoot in lo­ca­tions at a dis­counted price and things like that, it all helped me out so much. It’s all these peo­ple that make this movie what it is.”

Noah has, since com­ing back to the prov­ince af­ter a stint in Asia, taken a break from his Earth Science de­gree at Me­mo­rial Univer­sity to fo­cus on his pas­sion in film­mak­ing. Af­ter land­ing a job as an as­sis­tant direc­tor for Repub­lic of Doyle, he says his ca­reer in the film in­dus­try has snow­balled over the last few years, with “New Wo­man” serv­ing as his sec­ond ma­jor project.

With the ma­jor­ity of the film­ing com­plete, Noah plans to put him­self into edit­ing mode over the next few months, and is hope­ful for a March 2018 com­ple­tion to meet the dead­line for the Cana­dian Film Fes­ti­val, fol­lowed by a May or June re­lease. Noah wants to hit more film fes­ti­vals through­out the sum­mer sea­son, which would prove to be the best way for any­one to view the film – on the big screen.

“In the fu­ture, things are still a lit­tle up in the air. I think I’d like to pur­sue some­thing a bit smaller since this film was such a risk for me, but if some­one likes what I do and wants to do some­thing big­ger with me, I’ll go as big as they want.”

CHRIS LEWIS/THE COM­PASS

Rhi­an­non Mor­gan (left) and Stephen Oates (right) take on the lead roles in Ben­jamin Noah’s (cen­tre) film “New Wo­man.”

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