If good luck comes in threes, that’s certainly the case for Yellowknife filmmaker Andrew Silke, whose short film “Amelia” is scheduled to make its third festival appearance and American premiere at the New York Horror Film Festival this October.
The 14-minute film’s world premiere screened at the holy grail of film festivals this May in France at Cannes as part of a Canadian shorts program put together by Telefilm Canada, and will make its Canadian debut on home turf at the Yellowknife International Film Festival on Sept. 30.
Though the trip to France was an honour and a chance of a lifetime networking opportunity, Silke said this latest bout of good news is even sweeter.
“I almost feel slightly more proud of that acceptance than Cannes because it’s an official selection of the festival,” he said. “It’s nice – it’s been to Europe, will be playing Canada after Yellowknife…but then actually in the States, so it’s kind of nice to be able to do that, especially in a niche genre festival.”
While “Amelia” is not a horror film in the truest sense of gore and zombies, it is a psychological thriller that tells the story of a sleep-deprived, postpartum mother who becomes increasingly concerned that her 10 year-old daughter Amelia is out to get the newborn baby.
“With ‘Amelia,’ it actually came out of a dream,” Silke said. “I woke up one day and I had this 10-second dream, this image that was kind of disturbing me, so on a Sunday I just sat down and wrote a really rough outline.”
“Amelia” is Silke’s third film in a short chain of successes. His first short, “Bellweather,” shot while in film school, won an award at the 2009 Alberta Student Film Festival when it was released.
“It was a huge boost of confidence as a student from the Northwest Territories going to school in Alberta to be recognized,” Silke said. “It was a huge stepping-off point.”
His second project, a 2011 feature-length comedy called Love/Hate shot with some friends out-of-pocket – or from sweat equity, as Silke puts it – was picked up by Super Channel and will air again this November.
“That was my second production, so I was like, ‘Woah!’ That was really nice,” he said.
Though Silke would love to attend both the Yellowknife and New York screenings of “Amelia,” he said he recently sold everything to move to Vancouver where he is working on his second feature film, which he will produce and direct with the same team that did Love/Hate. The film, called Ruby Starfish, is in its developmental stages.
“It’s a drama with a touch of comedy,” he said. “It’s about an old winemaker named Eckert who’s kind of on his last legs, and for the last five years, he’s been taking the local wine competition…In his final year, his daughter convinces him to take on some help around the vineyard and this help comes in the form of two small-time crooks that are trying to rob him.”
Silke said the new film will be significantly different from the dark and disturbing tale of “Amelia.”
“I have a kind of track record when I’m writing and producing my own, they’re usually pretty dark,” he said with a laugh. “But I like to produce people’s comedies and direct a comedy script. It kind of gives me a break every now and then.”