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Shadows of the Mind Celebrates 20 Years

This article was posted original on SaultOnline on  by Megan Pounder, reposted with permission.


The 20th annual Shadows of the Mind Film Festival kicked off Saturday evening at the Sault Community Theatre Centre with a gala and movie screening.

Giant Little Ones, filmed right here in the Sault, is a movie about friendship between two teenage boys, self discovery and the power of love without labels.

Director and screenwriter Keith Behrman said the inspiration for this movie came to him after he had a dream about five years ago where a young man was talking to his mother in the kitchen of their house.

“I got up and I started writing the dream out and I just kept writing and writing and eventually I realized there was a film that was waiting to come out,” he explained, “and I realized that I wanted to make a film that was about love and about family and about acceptance and just being true to yourself.

“There’s so much divisiveness around how people are, around sexuality or whatever in the world now and we just wanted to make a film that spoke to the wholeness of people and just people being who they really are and having understanding and compassion for each other.”

He also drew from his own experiences, growing up in a conservative prairie town in Saskatchewan where he said he felt uncomfortable and restricted by the “very hard lines around masculinity and what it meant to be a man.”

“When I was ready to make this film, that was one of the things that I wanted to express – the hard definitions we have around who we are and the labels we have for ourselves and the labels we have for everybody else and the way we’re supposed to be,” he said. “But, human beings are way more complex than that – way more nuanced and layered than can really be captured in all these categories we have. So I wanted to make a film that was about breaking out of those categories and being the whole, full person that you can be.”

Behrman said they chose to film in the Sault because of the greenery and nature. He said he wanted the two main characters – teenage boys – to be moving around the streets and riding their bikes in a warm, sunny outdoor environment. His producer had also shot two other films in the city before this one and had a good experience doing so, so they decided it would be a great place to make the film.

Giant Little Ones has been screened at film festivals around the world, which Behrman said has been an amazing experience. Because they travel with the film, he’s been able to meet people all over the world, who he said all have had a similar response to the movie and it’s message – being true to yourself and not conforming to the boxes people put you into – straight or gay, man or woman, etc.

“A lot of people are really appreciate the film, they’re really grateful for the film and the message of the film, and they’re really moved and touched by the film wherever we go,” he said, explaining that he’s even had kids come up to him and tell him the movie has changed and even saved their lives.

“It’s been very meaningful to people,” he said. “So that’s been really special.”

Behrman said it’s great to be back in the Sault screening the movie right where it was filmed.

“It’s really great,” he said. “We did have a really special time making the film here, and everyone was so helpful and cooperative and supportive so it feels really nice to be back here and sharing the film with people here.”

Shadows of the Mind started 20 years ago as a way to promote conversations by shining light on mental health, addictions and social issues that are important to the community, through the unique power of film.

The festival continues throughout the week, with a total of 28 films being screened in a nine-day span.

Giant Little Ones Director Keith Behrman (left) speaks to a gala attendee at the 20th Annual Shadows of the Mind Gala on Saturday evening. Photo by Megan Pounder/SaultOnline
Giant Little Ones Director Keith Behrman (left) speaks to a gala attendee at the 20th Annual Shadows of the Mind Gala on Saturday evening. Photo by Megan Pounder/SaultOnline

Filmmakers ‘worked so hard’ on Giant Little Ones

This article was posted originally in the Sault Star on Published on February 21, 2019 by Brian Kelly reposted with permission.


Giant Little Ones

Teens gave Keith Behrman and Allison Black a thumbs up when they readied Giant Little Ones for the big screen.

Behrman, the film’s director and screenwriter, shared his script with high school students in Vancouver. Heterosexual and LGBT adults were also consulted.

“We really worked so hard to get the script right,” Black told The Sault Star during a telephone interview from North Bay on Thursday. “Did this really feel real? Did this feel right?”

Reaction from a festival screening in South Korea helped answer those questions.

More than 40 young people thanked the filmmakers for the motion picture that is the gala screening at Shadows of the Mind on Saturday.

“More than one said ‘Thank you. I think this film is going to change my life,’” said Black. “One person even said, ‘Thank you. You’ve saved my life.’ These are young people who did not feel it was OK perhaps to have these feelings, to have an experience with someone of the same sex and to just be perhaps inquisitive and it’s all OK. We’re all human and it’s all OK. Love is love and that is the message of the film.”

The genesis of Giant Little Ones started with a dream Behrman had about a teenager and mother speaking. This was six years ago when there was “a tragic number” of suicides of LGBQT youth who were bullied, didn’t feel accepted or didn’t accept themselves.

“We wanted to do something,” said Black.

Giant Little Ones centres on two high school friends and how their relationship changes at a 17th birthday party.

The coming-of-age story was shot over five weeks in the summer of 2017 in Sault Ste. Marie. Locations include Bellevue Park, John Rhodes Community Centre, Superior Heights Collegiate and Vocational School and the former Cardinal Leger elementary school.

“What we really wanted to focus on was the energy and vitality and the aliveness of how teenagers feel,” said Black. “The gorgeous setting of the Sault provided that. Everything was in blossom. It just felt alive and vibrant … (Behrman) wanted it to feel beautiful and alive and a sense of growth.”

Behrman will introduce Saturday’s screening that launches the 20th annual festival. Screening is at 7 p.m. Film only is $20. Screening and party is $45. Tickets are on sale at the festival box office in the Dennis Street court at Station Mall.

Jennifer Mathewson, film, television and digital media coordinator for FutureSSM, will appear alongside Behrman.

Around the Circle This Week: February 22, 2019

This except article was posted original on Lake Superior Magazine on by and rereposted with permission.


An Amazing Survivor: This week at the Shadows of the Mind Film Festival in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, a Thunder Bay filmmaker will speak about her latest film, “Angelique’s Isle,” released last fall. The film is based on the amazing true story of Angelique Mott, who with her husband, Charles, was stranded over the winter in 1845-6 when a copper miner, who promised to pick them up, never came. The island today is called Mott Island, part of the Isle Royale National Park. Faced with starvation, the couple struggled and Charles became increasingly unhinged. He even attempted an attack on Angelique, but later came to his senses. Charles died, but Angelique, an Anishinaabe woman, survived thanks to incredible perseverance and skills learned during her upbringing. Writer/director Michelle Derosier, who also is Anishinaabe, describes the plot online as a harrowing tale of survival in which “Angelique is ultimately forced to face her inner demons and beliefs as the unbelievably beautiful, yet treacherous wilderness threatens to claim her.” Starring in the film, shot around Thunder Bay, are Julia Jones as Angelique, Aden Young as Charles and Tantoo Cardinal as Angelique’s grandmother. Michelle, a member of the Migisi Sahgaigan First Nation, will be at the 2:30 p.m. March 2nd showing of the film at the festival and will answer audience questions. Mikel B. Classen does a detailed retelling of the Mott story online, including quotes by Angelique after her rescue.

Another Local Cinematic Achievement: Also for its 20th anniversary year, the nine-day Shadows of the Mind Film Festival will kick off tomorrow with a Toronto International Film Festival selection, “Giant Little Ones” by director/writer Keith Behrman. In the coming-of-age story, teenager Franky Winter (Josh Wiggins) faces turmoil and a break with his lifelong best friend, Ballas Kohl (Darren Mann), after an incident at a party. Kyle MacLachlan and Maria Bello play Franky’s divorced parents. The movie was filmed in and around Sault Ste. Marie. Saturday launches with 6 p.m. gala, followed by the 7 p.m. showing of the film and 9 p.m. after party. The film was also nominated for People’s Choice Award and voted among the Toronto festival’s top 10 Canadian Features.

Photo & graphic credits: Angelique’s Isle; Giant Little Ones

Two films with strong Sault connections set to screen this weekend

This article was posted original on SooToday on by SooToday Staff. reposted with permission.


Laurie Holden is pictured in this 'Pyewacket' video still

The 19th annual Shadows of the Mind Film Festival wraps up this weekend with a number of highly anticipated screenings, including two with Sault connections.

In 2016, local zombie fans were all abuzz as news spread that actress Laurie Holden – AKA Andrea Harrison from The Walking Dead – was in town for a film shoot. That film, Pyewacket, is set to screen at 9:45 p.m. Saturday night at the Grand Theatre. Billed as a a psychological horror, Pyewacket premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival to great reviews and is director Adam MacDonald’s second feature-length film.


“…one of Pyewacket’s triumphs is the way it keeps its horrors grounded in reality, and its character in the forefront, proving you can be both smart and pretty scary; a good lesson for the genre.” – Chris Knight, National Post

The 2018 drama Prodigals is scheduled for a showing on Saturday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. at the Grand Theatre, and was co-written by former Saultite Sean Minogue. The film is set in Sault Ste. Marie.

Prodigals synopsis: Wesley, a law school flame out, returns to his hometown of Sault Ste. Marie for the first time since leaving five years earlier, at the request of his childhood friend Nina whose younger brother is on trial for murder. Having come back under the guise that he’s become a big city lawyer, Wesley falls deeper and deeper into the trial without making it known that he isn’t the beacon of success that everyone thinks he is.

Other films showing this weekend during this year’s Shadows of the Mind Film Festival include Meditation Park, Lady Bird, Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, and Lucky.

‘No longer the Sault’s best kept secret’

This article was posted original on SooToday on Marchby Darren Taylor reposted with permission.


Movie lovers have enjoyed the 2017 Shadows of the Mind Film Festival. Photo supplied, Shadows of the Mind Film Festival.

The Sault’s Shadows of the Mind Film Festival is enjoying what one of its organizers calls “a banner year.”

“This year we’ve had a really positive response from the community, we’re no longer the Sault’s best kept secret,” Shadows co-director and programmer Bill MacPherson told SooToday Saturday.

“We average about 3,000 people coming through the doors every year, we’ve passed that and we’re doing really well this year.”

“We’ve had four sellouts, three ‘almost sell outs’, really well attended, with a real rounding of both public and corporate sponsorships.”

This year’s festival, the 18th annual, began Feb. 27 and goes to Mar. 5.

Shadows consists of an annual series of chosen films that look at life through the lens of mental health.

The festival has grown over the years as awareness about mental health issues has grown.


“We look to reduce the stigma of mental health issues and addictions, and we look at social issues like homelessness as well,” MacPherson said.

The festival includes not only the films themselves but also panel discussions centred around a variety of mental health and social issues.

Panelists have included psychiatrists, social workers and police officers.

“We’ve been around for 18 years because we’re relevant and people want to see good cinema,” MacPherson said.

Shadows films come from various countries and have been shown at Galaxy Cinemas and The Grand Theatre.

This year, a gala screening was held at The Machine Shop, attracting 200 people.

This year’s festival includes 26 films, from North America and around the world.  

Three films were locally produced; Mean Dreams, Lost & Found and Heroes of a Different Kind: Rise of the Dark Panther.

“What we want most is people to talk about the films,” MacPherson said.

MacPherson estimated the cost of organizing this year’s festival to be between $20,000 and $25,000.

“If we break even we’re happy.  We’re a non-profit, charitable organization and we use some of our proceeds for our summer series at Bellevue Park.” 

“It’s worth it.  We’re all volunteers, and it’s powered by good will and people who love film.”

“People hear about us and then they become involved with us, a lot of it is spread by word of mouth.”

MacPherson said it is no small task for organizers to get hold of the films and organize a film festival when so many watch movies at home, either through cable or Netflix or other sources.

“(But) I think people still want to get together and watch films on the big screen, and talk about the films.”