by Taylor Holmes

I’m still a little new around these parts, but I’ve been a reader for a while now – and what I’ve enjoyed most about the Film Shortage has been the great movies that we get to rub shoulders with each week. Well today, I have an interview with Chloë Bellande about her wonderful little kernel of an idea, Will of Fortune. If you haven’t seen it yet, you definitely need to get out more! Its a really great movie that opens up some wonderful moral questions about justice and what happens when it all goes horribly wrong. Anyway, you didn’t come here to listen to me ramble, here’s some of the highlights of the conversation I had with Chloë.

Will of Fortune

Prior to filming Will of Fortune you primarily worked more of the feature length movie angle, didn’t you? What brought you to the world of shorts and what do you like and dislike about the medium?

Chloë: My forté is writing, and more specifically for feature films. I decided to go into short films because I’m using them as my calling card for bigger projects. When you’re shooting on a micro-budget, chances of casting an A-lister in your movie are slim to none, which is most of the distribution companies won’t pick up your project. I learned this throughout my experiences at the Cannes Film Market. You’re better off starting smaller, then, once you’ve made a name for yourself, get the bigger fish.

How did you fund this film? Did you finance it personally, or were there kickstarters involved? I couldn’t find any out there, which I found surprising this day and age.

Chloë: Will of Fortune was funded by myself and Joshua Friedman, executive producer in New York. He saw the potential in the script and wanted to get involved. We also had a kickstarter campaign to help us get the funds we needed for the post-production. But 3/4 of the budget was self-financed by both Joshua and myself.

You’ve had a good run with Will of Fortune at the big film festivals including Cannes, Comiccon de Québec, Beverly Hills Film Festival, World Series of Screenwriting, HollyShorts Film Festival, and even still a few more coming up later this summer no? What big benefits do you see to the festival circuits? Why go? as opposed to pushing it on Vimeo and IMDB?

Chloë: It’s important to show up at those events and meet potential producers or investors for future collabs. Yes, we can push movies on Vimeo or YouTube, but, selling a movie is just like being a real estate agent.

You can show off the house on the internet, but the realster is the one who seals the deal with the buyers and sales the house with his “personality” and “persuasive skills”. Also, it’s important to target the festivals that producers and investors attend, for example, the Academy award qualifying festivals, which also gives a chance to short films to make it to the next round and being nominated for an Oscar. A lot of distribution deals are made at those festivals (Tribeca, Sundance, Cannes, Palm Springs), and that’s why they are more selective.

Our last screening will be in July at the Montreal Comiccon. Following our screening at the Quebec Comiccon in October 2014, the programmers asked me for an “encore presentation” by popular demand. The movie is also available on IMDb and on Play Festival Films, an iPhones, iPads and Android free app available at the iTunes store.

Will of Fortune - League of Justice

Where did the genesis of this idea come from? It sort of feels like an X-files Syndicate, behind the black curtain, sort of idea.

Chloë: The concept of Will of Fortune came after I watched “The Last Supper” (1995) on Netflix. I wanted to make a modern version of this concept, with a group of people debating on someone’s fate. One night, I was watching the news, and they were talking about the Guy Turcotte case. That’s when I started writing the script. The Susan Wright story came a little later, when I realized that it would be more fun to add a 2nd case and compare them in the movie.

And as a follow up, were you secretly wishing you could overturn bad judicial decisions? Was it a hope for real justice in these terrible travesties or mockeries of the process? Talk me through that if you would.

Chloë: Yes, I admit that I wish I could overturn bad judicial decisions, because sometimes, the punishment doesn’t fit the crime. But that doesn’t mean that I believe that people can’t change. I’ve never been to a jail, but I think that their methods of punishment doesn’t seem to work because their main focus is to get these people to understand that what they did is bad and against the law. And that’s true, but that’s not the point. One shouldn’t go around thinking that murdering other people is bad just because they could end up in jail, they shouldn’t do it because of the scars that they cause to the families and loved ones of the person they killed. And once you’ve hurt these people, there is no turning back. Nothing can undo what has been done. Jun Lin’s father could testify. (Luka Magnotta‘s victim)

Bottom line, I’m sure that Mr. Lin would secretly want a vigilante to sneak in Luka’s cell and cut his throat, but deep down in our heart, we all know that it won’t bring back his son. 

Will of Fortune - Still

Selfishly, and personally, just because I want to know as a viewer of Will of Fortune – can I assume that if there were a Will of Fortune 2, that if Susan had been found guilty as opposed to innocent, would we have seen a vigilante going after her if she had been released? Was there previously a similar vote against Paul that found him guilty even though the courts released him?

Chloë: Yes, the movie implies that the Legion of Law voted guilty on Paul’s case – which by the way, is based on the true story of Guy Turcotte, the Canadian surgeon who murdered his kids to avenge his cheating wife. I wanted to compare his case with Susan’s, just because both were crimes of passion and not a crime against humanity. I wanted to put myself in the skin of Susan and explore the reasons why she did it and why she is not a threat to society. I was contacted by a family member of the real Susan Wright this year, a little before the movie premiered in Richmond, Virginia in February 2015. I sent them a link to watch the movie and they wrote me back giving me their blessing and wishing me luck for my festival tour. I knew a few women who have been in similar domestic violence situations and they chose to stay silent about it instead of reporting it to the police and getting justice. Susan took justice into her own hands, much like my vigilante character did with Paul. That was the point of Will of Fortune actually. But if you ask me, the best solution to Susan’s problems with her husband would have been to report him and leave him, but, she was too scared of his reaction and probably dangerous consequences if she did so. Susan needed help, and she didn’t get any of it before it got too late.

And as a final hail mary question, do you have any scripts out there that you have not filmed yet, or any pieces that you would love to get picked up by Universal, or Searchlight, etc that you’d love to have see the light of day?

Chloë: I tried writing a comedy once, it was an FBI action flickI went to film markets and script pitch festivals to sale it but it didn’t work out. I decided to stick to my best genre, the thriller/drama and the crime drama. My award-winning feature screenplay “While the Village Sleeps” is currently being looked at by investors and studios in the US. I shot the micro-budget version in 2012 and used it as a calling card to promote the script. It worked! I won awards and nominations for the screenplay, the trailer was nominated at the Hollywood Discovery Awards in 2012 and lost to Hugh Jackman’s Les Misérables, and, I screened a short cut at the Cannes Film Market in 2013. Everytime a deal collaps with a potential investor, it takes months to find another prospect because I have to pin point another film convention or film market where I could meet producers and pitch my story. But I’m not giving up. It’s always good to have 1 or 2 other stories out there because you never know when and where a good opportunity will come. This might not be the year for horror flicks, but we never know.

Thanks so much Chloë for taking the time out with Film Shortage and chatting with us all today. We hope to see more of you in the future. Thanks for swinging by!

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