author: kaitlynn nordal | former staff writer
Looking at True Fiction / Courtesy of 775 Media
Look out for this one. You won’t regret it.
True Fiction is a psychological thriller from writer/director Braden Croft about a young woman named Avery Malone who gets a job helping her favourite author, a recluse named Caleb Conrad, write his next book by being part of an experiment to study fear.
Croft got the idea for True Fiction from movies such as Hard Candy and The Haunting.
“[They] relied heavily on suspense storytelling and character driven action. I felt it would be exciting to see two people locked in a house playing mind games that spiraled out of control, mounting the tension and stakes as high as possible,” said Croft
Upon completing the script, Croft approached 775 Media Corp, a production company based out of Calgary, Alberta, about working together on this film with him as director and them as producers.
Croft first got introduced to Mike Peterson of 775 in 2012 when they both had films premiere at Fantasia International Film Festival. Croft later met Julian Black Antelope, Peterson’s production partner, while they worked on another 775 film called Knuckleball.
Croft shared his idea for True Fiction with Peterson and Black Antelope, and after working on revisions together, 775 agreed to take the film on as one of their productions and started filming in early 2018.
Black Antelope decided to be a producer on this film, as he believes Croft is an up and coming director with talent and wanted to give him a chance and see what he could do with a bigger budget.
Black Antelope would go on to also act in the film playing Conrad’s agent, Peter Lavigne.
“[He’s] all about money,” Black Antelope said. “Peter wants his cash cow to start bringing in the bucks again and is willing to play along with Caleb’s game … doing whatever it takes to get the balls rolling and the juices flowing in the creative field he’s got one goal in mind, ‘how do I get my guy to start making more money?’”
Sara Garcia, who plays Avery Malone, first heard about the film after receiving a call from her agent and was drawn to it not only because of the twists and turns of the script, but also because of the underlying storyline about consent.
“The ‘Me Too’ movement was coming to a head when I first got the script and the message just jumped out at me,” Garcia said. “Avery is put in this position with Caleb and she doesn’t even think twice about it. She just goes right on in, says yes, and hopes for the best … she does find herself in this position where she gives her consent to be a part of this experiment and, halfway through, realizes there’s something off and she revokes her consent, but it’s not heard, and she spends the rest of the film fighting for what she believes is her life … she found herself in this horrible situation where this man that she trusted and looked up to is now taking full advantage of her, and I think that theme was prevalent and is still prevalent right now.”
Although Garcia does feel pressure being the protagonist in this movie and being Latina, she feels it was forward-thinking on the part of Croft and 775 to cast someone of mixed heritage as the lead. She hopes eventually things such as race, gender, and sexuality will not play as big of a part in the casting process and the part will go to whomever is best for it.
Black Antelope agrees with Garcia.
“It was very critical, and it was nice to put a few actors that are ethnic out front for a change,” he said. “And it’s a win for an aboriginal producer too because this really has no aboriginal element in it.”
Croft is thankful to everyone at 775 for taking this chance on him and feels True Fiction is a stronger movie because of their involvement.
“My time on set was fantastic … I had the privilege to work with a very talented, hardworking team in Calgary and Edmonton that brought their expertise and skill to push True Fiction even further than I could have wished for. Sara Garcia, John Cassini, and the rest of our cast are insanely gifted professionals that I’d fight to work with again. But, I feel my relationship with 775 was truly the defining difference with my past films. It was amazing having a team that supports you 110 per cent … True Fiction felt ‘right’ and renewed my confidence in how I’d like to continue making independent features in the future.”
As producer, Black Antelope hopes to have the film in festivals such as Cannes Fantastic Fest, Fantasia, Toronto After Dark, South By Southwest, and festivals of the sorts.
Croft currently has scripts that are being written and is in the stages of putting final re-writes on them.
Black Antelope and his production company, Herd of 1 Media, partnered with the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network to make a show called The Secret History of the Wild West. The show will look at the mystical and metaphysical influences behind western Canada’s most influential historical icons such as Jerry Potts, Red Crow, Big Bear, Louis Riel, and Tom Three Persons. The show will most likely air in the fall.
Garcia is currently working on a short film called The Red Ribbon and is hoping to submit it to the TIFF Instagram Shorts this year.
Black Antelope expects to have True Fiction out for general viewing in late fall 2019.
[EIC’s note: In an interview after publication Black Antelope noted that he hoped that the show would be released in fall, 2019, but that the decision ultimately lies with the network, APTN]