Bessai bets on Repeaters

Carl Bessai hopes his latest feature will be his most accessible yet, enlisting young up-and-comers Dustin Milligan and Amanda Crew for the thriller Repeaters, now shooting in Mission, BC.

The busy B.C. director has had success on the festival circuit with recent titles including last year’s TIFF drama Cole, the award-winning Mothers & Daughters, and 2007’s Normal with Carrie-Anne Moss. Still, Bessai reckons he has yet to prove himself at the box office.

‘I’m trying to make a commercial movie… a movie that I believe in artistically and that connects with the audience,’ Bessai tells Playback Daily while on break from shooting. The director is again collaborating with his Cole team of producers, Jason James and Irene Nelson, and exec producer Melanie de Klerk.

He says the combination of Repeaters‘ talented cast and the fast-paced story — about three young people whose days strangely repeat, as they struggle against personal demons and addictions — give the thriller a ‘mainstream touch.’

Carl Bessai

Repeaters is violent and ugly in some ways, and yet it’s a film about moral choice,’ Bessai explains. The script was penned by Arne Olsen (Red Scorpion). Milligan of the new 90210 and Crew, who just wrapped The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud with Zac Efron, star with Richard de Klerk (Cole).

Bessai says the script helped get the cast on board the $1 million Repeaters, which has a tight 20-day shooting schedule and is set to wrap on Jan. 31.

‘We’re having to move quickly and there are a lot of stunts and action sequences… some of it is hard to do well on a shoestring, so you have to make choices,’ the director says of his biggest challenge. But he credits his young cast’s energy and enthusiasm for the film, adding, ‘They really put out.’

The director has plans to screen Repeaters for organizers of the Toronto film festival. Sales are being handled by Andrew Herwitz of New York-based Film Sales Company, while Repeaters has yet to lock a distributor.

Bessai also recently wrapped Fathers & Sons, the follow-up to Mothers & Daughters, and hopes to shoot a third film in the series, titled Brothers & Sisters.