Local filmmakers Monica Walsh and Emily Bridger are shooting their short film “Lamenting Pluto” in St. John’s this weekend.
Walsh wrote “Lamenting Pluto” several years ago, and will star in the film, playing a woman who goes through a breakup at the same time that Pluto loses its status as a planet.
The protagonist becomes obsessed with having Pluto re-instated as a planet. What begins as a distraction from her heartache grows into a genuine love of astrology and a fulfilling relationship with the astrological community.
“I wanted to explore that feeling when you go through a break up … of your universe being completely shaken up, she’s just trying to find out where she belongs in her own universe,” Walsh explained.
Walsh is known as an actress for her performances in the feature length films, Love and Savagery, Crackie, and Newfoundland cult-classic Anchor Zone, as well as her roles in several short films and television shows (including Republic of Doyle). However, this will be her first time acting in a film she has written.
Breakup stories are common fodder for the big screen, but this one is unique in that the woman protagonist finds solace by investing time and energy in a new interest instead of in a new relationship.
Walsh felt it was important to have lots of women working in behind the camera on this story of a woman’s post-break-up-self-actualization. In 2015, she teamed up with producer Christina Steele Nash and director Emily Bridger to bring the script to life. Bridger is a recent winner of the Michelle Jackson Emerging Filmmaker Award and has experience as a screenwriter, director, and producer.
“My job is to make the film visually interesting … I want to explore colour a little bit. I think when you’re going through a grief period, things can seem and feel really weird. Almost like when you’re hungover and you need sunglasses because things feel too bright and too strange, I’m hoping to explore that in the film’s look” Bridger explained.
In addition to designing the film’s aesthetic, Bridger has been working with Walsh on developing her character and finessing the script.
“There’s a lot of voice over in the film so we’re working on how to give her performance depth without any dialogue,” Bridger said, “Monica is a really strong actress and an excellent collaborator so it’s been a really cool couple of years working with her on this.”
Walsh and Bridger have been working on the script and gathering funding for “Lamenting Pluto” for almost two years; they are thrilled to be getting ready to go to camera this weekend. They are aiming to have the film finished by the end of the summer.
“I would love it if [“Lamenting Pluto”] screened here in town at The St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival and at The Nickel Independent Film Festival. I’d also like to send a copy to the International Astronomical Union because they’re who originally decided Pluto isn’t a planet,” Walsh said.