Paragamian steps up

Montreal: Principal photography wrapped earlier this month after 33 days on Arto Paragamian's dark comedy Two Thousand and None (working title). An ironic tale of life, death, memory and fossils starring John Turturro in the role of a brilliant paleontologist with...

Montreal: Principal photography wrapped earlier this month after 33 days on Arto Paragamian’s dark comedy Two Thousand and None (working title). An ironic tale of life, death, memory and fossils starring John Turturro in the role of a brilliant paleontologist with only six weeks to live, the $4.8-million shoot is produced by Arnie Gelbart (Lilies, The Hanging Garden, Tale of Teeka) of Montreal’s Galafilm.

The shoot represents a major step up, at least in budget terms, for director Paramagian, whose earlier lower-budget credits include Because Why and the six-part Max Films anthology Cosmos.

Gelbart says the director ‘makes comedies which are attuned to our times. He has a feel for the kind of filmmaking that’s rare in Canada, it’s cinema in the tradition of Jacques Tati, Charlie Chaplin and Woody Allen.’

According to the producer, Turturro (Quiz Show, Barton Fink) was drawn to the project because of the strong script, written by Paragamian, while international distributor Pandora Cinema (Shine, Kolya, Tango) came in because of the actor’s participation.

Pierre Brousseau of Behaviour Distribution facilitated Pandora’s participation by backing off on world rights, which effectively helped to raise the stakes, with Pandora picking up a full third of the negative cost. Behaviour will distribute in Canada.

Cast includes Katherine Borowitz, Oleg Kisseliov and Vanya Rose as an irresistible young woman who has an affair with Turturro’s dying character.

Selected craft credits go to production designer Anne Pritchard (Snake Eyes, Affliction), dop Noraryr Kasper, line producer Ian Whitehead and editor Alain Baril of Bureau de Poste.

The film was produced with the financial participation of Telefilm Canada, the Canadian Television Fund, sodec, both tax credit programs, Citytv, Super Ecran, TMN-The Movie Network and Superchannel.

Two Thousand and None is Pandora’s first Canadian feature film pickup. Pandora will sell the film in the u.s. once it is completed, says Gelbart. Delivery is set for mid-December when a release strategy will be announced.