National Post: Slamdance Diary: Day 1 — A short introduction to Diamond Tongues
Next week, Toronto filmmakers Pavan Moondi and Brian Robertson are taking their new feature film, Diamond Tongues, to the Slamdance Film Festival — the Park City, Utah, film fest that acts as an unofficial counterpoint to the more glitzy and star-filled Sundance. As the filmmaking team prepare for the journey, they’ll file one diary entry per day right here. But first, a short introduction to the project:
At the end of every January, the small ski town of Park City, Utah, becomes a mecca for film talent and movie buzz. The work of filmmakers from all over the world is shown to some of the industry’s biggest influencers while just down the street, Sundance is also happening. The Slamdance Film Festival runs concurrently with Robert Redford’s star studded opus and has steadily grown in size, popularity, and significance in the 21 years since its inception. What makes Slamdance different is its concentration on young filmmakers, predominantly programming films from first time directors with budgets under 1 million dollars.
Two filmmakers who won’t be complaining about Park City’s subzero temperatures are Toronto’s Pavan Moondi and Brian Robertson. They will be representing Canada with their film Diamond Tongues, the only Canadian feature in competition at Slamdance this year. Since there are only about a dozen narrative features programmed every year, it is statistically harder to get into Slamdance than it is to get into Sundance.
Diamond Tongues follows Edith Welland, an aspiring actress struggling to see past her own failures and the perceived success of those around her. As is the nature of the industry, the project itself was not without its own struggles. Armed with an eight-minute demo and a cast consisting of musicians, comedians, and first-time actors, Moondi and Robertson managed to cobble together funding from four production companies, including Brendan Canning’s (Broken Social Scene) newly minted Draper Street Films and Robert Lantos’ Serendipity Point Films. Support in the form of post-production financing was also provided by Telefilm Canada and was only completed two weeks ago.
The other half of this film’s creative core was borrowed from the popular indie band July Talk in the form of frontwoman Leah Goldstein (a.k.a. Leah Fay) starring as Edith and her co-vocalist Peter Dreimanis, who was the director of photography. Production had to be planned around a rare twelve day break from the band’s hectic touring schedule that included over 150 shows around the world in 2014.
Moondi and Robertson are hoping that their film receives the kind of warm reception the festival has given Canadians in recent years. Kung Fu Elliot (2014) won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary and in 2013 The Dirties (directed by Matt Johnson, who also appears in Diamond Tongues) won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Narrative Feature as well as the Spirit of Slamdance award, bringing it to the attention of Kevin Smith, who helped get the film distributed in the U.S. Diamond Tongues will be distributed in Canada by Mongrel Media but the film hopes to catch the eye of international distributors at the festival.
Starting Tuesday, the National Post will feature daily posts written by the filmmakers and actors about these exciting days leading up to Slamdance, which starts on Friday.
See the original article at The National Post