Dave and Jono learned that the hard way. After a series of fruitless pitches, they decide to go it alone. During pre-production, Jono struggles with his identity as a director while Dave succumbs to the dark side of the film’s lead role. Modern Classic is a satirical tale of a strange and disastrous foray into the film industry.
Fear not, wary reader; No dogs are harmed, on-or-off screen.
Written by: J.M.B. Hunter and David C. Grimes
Directed by: J.M.B. Hunter
Produced by: Isil Gilderdale
Producers: Harland Weiss, Donovan Boden, Liz Dussault
Cinematographer: Todd M. Duym
Editor: Michael Pierro
Original Music: Nathan Richards
Post Audio: Mark Dolmont
Art Director: Nicole Perry
J.M.B. Hunter, David C. Grimes, Perry Treilhard, Madeline Leon, Ashley Sirianni, Matt Schichter, Greg Zajac, John Marcucci, Maurice Jones, Raj Nandy, Andrew Webster, Anny Huh, Tim Baird, Randy Starr, Krystyna Hunt, and Leigh Cameron
Runtime: 86 Minutes/ Colour and Black & White
To call Modern Classic a true story would not be truthful but it wouldn’t be false either. You see, Dave and I (this is Jono speaking, hey!) once set out to make ‘the saddest movie of all time’. First, I need to tell you that Dave and I have been friends for a little over a decade. Both East-Coasters, we met at Humber College where we went to film school. The film’s producer, Isil, was also in our class. Now, back to the saddest movie of all time.
The story, entitled Doldrums, was a strange, quiet, and surreal screenplay about a drunk named Jed who inadvertently kills his dog. It would be long and brooding and hilarious in a “why am I laughing?” kind of way. Dave would play Jed and I would direct. Of course it didn’t have to make sense; and, of course, it would be in black and white.
We tried our best to get it funded but were met with a near-endless stream of perplexed looks; “Why?” was the most frequent response. It didn’t take long for us to realize that the stories about our fruitless pitches were far more interesting than “a black and white film about a drunk picking up dog shit.” The following week, we read through the first draft of Modern Classic. It was a hyperbolic account of the ill-fated journey of two young filmmakers stifled by their own egos. Soon, Modern Classic became something much more accessible but still allowed us to dip our toes in the strange world that is Doldrums.
Fearing our names have been tarnished around town, we decided to make it on our own and on the cheap; but we didn’t want to make a “two guys trapped in a hunt camp” kind of indie film. We wanted some moments to feel big and inhabit a rich tapestry of locations.
Dave and I took on the lead roles, hoping that if we laid on the tracks, others would follow. We wrote roles for a few friends. Some, seasoned actors but most have never been in front of a camera. I even cast my dog Penny. To ensure our shoe-string success, we rehearsed heavily with the cast in a laneway garage; yawning through our lines after long summer workdays. Penny slept through most of it.
Eventually, Isil (the aforementioned producer and former classmate) encouraged us to show the script to our friends at OPC (the commercial production company that reps me here in Toronto) and they immediately pledged their financial support.
About a year later, we were filming; and it was the time of our lives. In spite of the tiny budget and polite “sorry we can’t help you’s” from Telefilm and ACTRA, we still managed to make something of quality--something we’re all tremendously proud of. The process unseated the film’s core concept in the greatest way possible. We’ve proven that the ‘movie industry’ isn’t so terrifying and the independent spirit is alive and well in Canada.
Modern Classic is at once very Canadian and universal. Themes of friendship and betrayal; it explores how far we might go to get a god damn film off the ground. We are excited to share it with the world.