Inside Maxime Desmons’ Telefilm-backed micro-budget feature

Sally Karam and Damon D'Oliveira are producing and exec producing, respectively, What We Have, the first feature from Telefilm's micro-budget production program (Desmons pictured).
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Maxime Desmons’ What We Have is the first feature from Telefilm Canada’s micro-budget production program to get in front of the cameras.

Desmons (pictured), who shorts include Bonne Mere and D’Une Rive A L’Autre, has cast Roberta Maxwell, Alex Oserov (Blackbird) and Kristen Thompson for his feature-length film directorial debut, now shooting in Toronto and North Bay, Ont.

The dramatic feature stars Desmons as a French stage actor finding refuge in a remote town in northern Canada, and tutoring French to a shy 15-year old student, played by Oserov, who struggles with his gay identity while reluctantly auditioning for a local French live theatre production of Molière’s The Miser.

After landing the lead role in the stage play, Desmon’s character puts everything on the line to protect his young student from a relentless bully.

What We Have producer Sally Karam and executive producer Damon D’Oliveira (The Book Of Negroes) had already been developing the film with Desmons when Telefilm Canada a year ago unveiled plans for the microbudget production program to support emerging filmmaking talent.

So Karam and D’Oliveira successfully applied to the Telefilm Canada program, and partnered with the Canadian Film Centre to produce What We Have from coproducers Les Films de Jacquot, Sixth Avenue Enterprises and Flimshow Inc.

Karam describes the project as next-generation filmmaking as a dedicated cast and nomadic crew complete Desmons’ passion project.

“We have a young crew and I laugh because it’s a new way of filmmaking. They’re like the travelling caravan, they set up anywhere, they set up laptop and use travelling internet connections and cell phones. There’s no overhead or comforts,” she explained.

Cinematography is by Daniel Grant, editing by Kye Meechan, while production design by is Martin Watson and Chris HMicroatcher is line producing.

The film has the financial participation of the Canada Council for The Arts and The Harold Greenberg Fund.

And there’s additional support from Technicolor Creative Services, Tattersall Sound & Picture and the Canadian Film Centre, which partnered on the submission for What We Have to the Telefilm Canada micro-budget production program.