For Immediate Release

Media Contact: Adrian Salpeter 604-812-9293

November 26-2002

“EMILE”, Carl Bessai’s latest feature film, goes to camera in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

EMILE began principal photography on November 25, 2002 in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Written and directed by Carl Bessai, the film is part three of the identity trilogy, which began with JOHNNY and LOLA. Each of these stories is told from the point of view of a central character faced with a crisis about their identity. JOHNNY follows a teenager, LOLA follows a woman in her thirties, and EMILE follows an older man who seeks redemption from a family he abandoned years ago.

A broad stylistic combination of cinema verité and magic realism, EMILE oscillates between Emile’s life in the present as he tries to reconnect with family, and the past which continues to haunt him. Like many in their twilight years, the past is sometimes more familiar and more immediate to Emile than the world before his eyes in the present. As he tries to re-discover a relationship that he long ago abandoned, he is forced to confront his anxieties for people in his memory – people he betrayed and abandoned at the expense of his own happiness. Now, at age 65, he is discovering his own identity. Can he be a grandfather, surrounded by the love of a living, breathing family, or will he retreat into the glassy world of memory and lost opportunity?

Using a strong, ensemble cast, EMILE tackles themes of loss, memory and identity in an intimate character study. Stylistically, the film combines elements of direct cinema, with magic realism, to create a dynamic relationship between past and present.

EMILE stars Ian McKellen (The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, X-Men I,II, Gods and Monsters, Richard III) as “Emile”, Deborah Kara Unger (Between Strangers, The Hurricane, Payback, The Game) as “Nadia”, Chris William Martin (Try Seventeen, Lola, Johnny) as “Carl”, Tygh Runyan (15 Minutes, AntiTrust, My Father’s Angel) as “Freddy” and Ian Tracey (Lola, Prozac Nation, The David Milgaard Story) as “Tom”. The film also stars new-comer 10 year old Theo Crane.

Sir Ian McKellen is widely considered to be the leading British actor of his generation. His work on the stage and screen have earned him more than forty major international acting awards including a nomination for the Academy Award for Gods and Monsters, a Tony Award for Amadeus, the Screen Actors Guild Award for Fellowship of The Ring, a cable ACE Award, an Emmy nomination for And the Band Played On… and a Golden Globe Award for Rasputin. His portrayal of the wizard Gandalf the Grey in the film Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring has earned him a nomination for the Academy Award. In 1991, McKellen was knighted by the Queen for his services to the performing arts and the year he was Professor of Contemporary Theatre at Oxford University.

A champion of gay and lesbian rights Ian McKellen is a founding member of Stonewall Group UK which works to establish legal and social equality for lesbians and gays in the United Kingdom.

Deborah Kara Unger was the first Canadian accepted into the prestigious Australian National Institute of Dramatic Art. She made her feature film debut in Prisoners of the Sun and has gone on to work on a number of acclaimed feature film and television projects including David Cronenberg’s Crash, The Game starring Michael Douglas, Payback, Sunshine, The Hurricane starring Denzel Washington, The Salton Sea opposite Val Kilmer and Between Strangers starring Sophia Lauren and Mira Sorvino.

Director/writer Carl Bessai has worked in documentary, drama, short and feature film. With an MFA in film production from York University, Bessai has been an intricate part of all of his projects working as producer, director and writer. EMILE is Carl Bessai's third feature film in a trilogy – the first two films JOHNNY and LOLA have received honourable mention worldwide. Previous work includes the documentary OUT OF ORBIT, a biography of media-guru Marshall McLuhan, which won the Silver Spire at the 2000 San Francisco International Film Festival and the experimental trilogy BANG!

Jonathan English at Meltemi Entertainment in London, England and Bjork Veland of BV International Pictures in Norway are the Executive Producers.

Producer Jacquelyn Renner (Last Wedding, Punch, Suddenly Naked, Marine Life) has worked extensively as a production manager and line producer and was the co-producer on LOLA, Carl Bessai’s second feature film. This is her first producer credit.

EMILE is shooting in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada from November 25thth – December 17th, 2002. The cinematographer is Carl Bessai. Dina Zecchel has worked as an art director and set decorator on a number of Canadian feature films including Punch, Long Life, Happiness and Prosperity, Last Wedding and Lola – this is her first credit as a production designer.

EMILE will be released in Canada by Seville Pictures and in the United Kingdom by Helkon Distribution and BV International Pictures.


Adrian Salpeter (Media Director)

(604) 812-9293