National Post: Slamdance Diary: Day 5 — An indie film’s fortunes can turn on a tarot card reading, if that’s a scene in the movie

National Post: Slamdance Diary: Day 5 — An indie film’s fortunes can turn on a tarot card reading, if that’s a scene in the movie

This week, Toronto filmmakers Pavan Moondi and Brian Robertson will take 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. Today, Robertson on the production’s twist of fate.

There’s a scene in Diamond Tongues where our lead character, aspiring actress Edith, goes to a fortune teller seeking validation (while coming down from an acid trip). We decided, because we’re stupid, that instead of hiring an actress to portray the fortune teller we would hire an actual fortune teller and have her give a real reading to Leah Goldstein who, unbeknownst to our clairvoyant guide, would be in character the entire time as Edith.

If you’ve ever walked along College Street in Toronto, you’d notice there isn’t a shortage of psychic readers in the city. I figured this scene would be a piece of cake to put together, and so I took it upon myself to start finding our fortune teller and location.

Now, at some point the fortuneteller industry apparently shifted from the style of readings I had in my mind, to a modern, minimalist experience where psychics read your fortunes in house coats in their living rooms that look straight out of Airbnb photos. The crystal ball was still a thing but from what I was seeing, the theatrics of it all, precisely what we were after, seemed to have vanished.

The production was quickly approaching and we were getting a little nervous, but finally managed to find a traditional woman reading fortunes out of a Southern-gothic style restaurant downtown. She was nervous about the cameras and the crew, but she reluctantly agreed to have us — granted we wouldn’t be making light of her profession (this was initially the plan). I ensured her that it wasn’t what the scene was about at all, and after a long conversation on the phone, locked her in and moved on to the next item in a laundry list of pre-production tasks.

Two days later I got a phone call explaining that by means of sideromancy, the movement of Jupiter’s moon was telling her not to proceed and she was going to have to cancel. We were one day away from shooting and knowing that alternatives were limited, I frantically talked a fortune teller off a ledge despite what her entire belief system was telling her. She reluctantly agreed and when we showed up on the day, we set up our cameras, introduced “Edith”, and got right into it.

What proceeded to happen stunned everyone: The fortune teller zeroed in on Leah the musician/actress — not Edith — with eerie specificity that sent chills down my spine. Her reading was 100% accurate, citing specific aspects of Leah’s musical career and foreshadowing cities Leah would end up visiting. It wasn’t really what we needed for the scene and it only exists in the final cut of the film for about ten seconds, but I became a believer that night.

I’m not really sure what’s going to happen in Park City but hopefully the movement of Jupiter’s moon is kind to us and some kind of success is in the (tarot) cards.

—Brian Robertson is co-director and producer of Diamond Tongues.

Source: National Post


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