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High Level grassroots film Guitar Lessons opens Thursday at Cineplex

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Often, filmmakers head to the sunny hills of Hollywood to find their calling.

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In Aaron James’ case, he needed to return to the prairies to rekindle his passion and make the movies he loves.

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Guitar Lessons is his new feature film, set at High Level and starring Corb Lund opposite newcomer Kaden Noskiye. After a brief stint touring small-town cinemas, the film has been picked up by Cineplexes, and in Edmonton and Calgary he’s set to open December 2nd.

“I moved to LA, as many of us did, and spent 15 years working on things I didn’t really like or inspire. “It was one,” says James, who returned to Calgary when COVID hit. .

“The whole process of making and releasing it was a great find.”

A guitar lesson tells the story of a 15-year-old Metty boy who inherited a guitar from a father he never knew. He decides to learn how to play the guitar in an attempt to connect with his late father. This leads him to Ray Mitchell (Lund), a jaded local oil worker with a rock star past who possesses the skills necessary to achieve his goals.

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The film is based on a short story James wrote about his experience teaching at Big Stone Clean Nation.

James earned critical acclaim and four AMPIA Awards in the 2005 film Hank Williams First Nation, shot in Peace River and starring Gordon Tootosis. The film was later made into a television series on APTN.

Lund also appeared in James’ 2017 film Get Naked! So taking on his role in his Guitar Lessons seemed like a natural progression for him.

“[James] “He came over to my house and leaned so hard on me that I thought I should do it,” says Lund. I like to

Cove Land plays oilfield contractor Ray Mitchell in Aaron James' upcoming feature film The Guitar Lesson.
Cove Land plays oilfield contractor Ray Mitchell in Aaron James’ upcoming feature film The Guitar Lesson. attached

High Level resident Noskiye made his acting debut as 15-year-old Leland Parenteau.

“Some of it is a natural ability, [Kaden] The material reacted and became important to him,” says James. “What I really liked about him was that he knew his lines and showed up. He was a professional. He and Cove bonded well and kept in touch.”

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Lund, like the character he plays in the film, was connected to Carden through a mutual love of music.

“He’s a really great guitarist,” says Lund. “I’m trying to help him get into the Grant McEwan music program. Good boy.”

High-level resident Carden Noskier will make his acting debut as Leland Parenteau in the lead role in Aaron James' new feature film Guitar Lessons.
High-level resident Carden Noskier will make his acting debut as Leland Parenteau in the lead role in Aaron James’ new feature film Guitar Lessons. attached

The coming-of-age story is also underpinned by a hodgepodge crew of quirky characters played by an array of high-level and Mackenzie County-area actors, including comedian and stuntman Conway Kootenay from Kree Nakoda Sue.

Kootenay’s Arnie in the film was inspired by his Smudge Pan sketch comedy series on YouTube.

“When I first saw Conway’s Smudge Pan character, I knew I could write for it,” says James. “I wrote specifically for the actor.”

First-time actor Mary Pruden plays Kookum, who gives Kootenay’s character a good shot when he tries to woo an environmental scientist by talking dirty in Cree.

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The film features Cree dialogue as well as English, a nod to the community that created it. Communities filmed in and around high-level northern towns, including Puddle Prairie-Metis Settlement, provided significant support to the production.

“I think more than half of the cast, crew, infrastructure and even funding came from the indigenous community,” says Lund. “The whole movie feels like a really cool collaboration between these communities.”

James admits there are certain challenges in scaling a production of this level with an inexperienced cast and crew, but says he wants to continue making films in what he calls “community theater.” increase.

“Everybody wants to come and everyone wants to participate,” says James. “There’s not much improvisation in the script, but there’s a tremendous amount of improvisation in the production. It’s like a jam session. Let’s see where we can surprise you. Sometimes there are beautiful accidents.” .”

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The film was initially released in a series of small towns, but its word-of-mouth reputation gave it greater traction and popularity, giving it the opportunity to be screened in a larger market. This is James’ favorite method.

“Distribution is always a problem. I’m asking, “Are you the one who got this movie?” Everything is very grassroots, even the distros. And finally, we got a call from Cineplex and this opened up our market a lot. ”

Filmmaker and director Aaron James.
Filmmaker and director Aaron James. Photo by Kenneth Rock /attached

As for Lund, he admits he hasn’t seen the movie yet.

“It’s not that I don’t want to see it. It’s like hearing your own recorded voice for the first time. It freaks you out, doesn’t it? You might get drunk and watch it alone in a dark room with a blanket over your head.” he admits.

Guitar Lessons will premiere at Cineplexes and Landmark locations in Edmonton and Calgary on December 2nd. Check your local listings for show times.

yegarts@postmedia.com

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High Level grassroots film Guitar Lessons opens Thursday at Cineplex

Source link High Level grassroots film Guitar Lessons opens Thursday at Cineplex

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