Hopeless Romantic a feature film that began shooting in Halifax last week, showcases the work of four local directors: Deanne Foley, Martine Blue, Latonia Hartery, and Ruth Lawrence, as well as Halifax-based directors, Stephanie Clattenburg and Megan Wennberg.
“I’m delighted to be a part of a film that brings so many talented East Coast female filmmakers together,” co-producer and director Latonia Hartery said. “These women have some of the brightest creative minds in Atlantic Canada, and they have woven a tapestry of stories that give a fresh perspective on love in the modern world.”
Hopeless Romantic is an anthology film, it tells six interwoven stories, which are all connected by the film’s protagonist, Anna (Linda Boyd of Republic of Doyle). The movie dispels the Hollywood myth that there’s one true love out there for everyone, by giving the audience a glimpse into the love lives of several women.
“We’re calling it a romantic comedy but it certainly has moments of drama too, and sentiment, and deeply felt emotion,” Hartery said.
Hartery says that many romantic comedies are written and directed by men, this movie will be unique because it looks at the genre through a woman’s eyes, or several women’s eyes; a different director will tell each of the film’s six storylines.
“The film has a certain look and a tone but the individual directors all bring their point of view and their own personal style which will be very apparent,” Hartery said.
In the very early days of the project the producers put out a call in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia for women-centered scripts. They selected the six they felt were the most engaging (and funny) and than began shaping them into one coherent whole.
Margret Atwood, author of The Handmaid’s Tale and Alias Grace, was a consultant on the project. Atwood has been celebrated for decades as an important feminist voice in Canadian literature and Hartery was excited to get her input on the script.
“Working with Margret Atwood is a pleasure and an honour, it’s actually thrilling, I could try to contain my excitement, but I think I have to be truthful,” Hartery said. “She’s essentially one of the best storytellers on earth, she’s certainly a Canadian icon.”
It’s no secret that the Canadian film industry is dominated by men. Women in View’s most recent On Screen Report showed that only 17% of feature films that received Telefilm Canada funding in 2013-14 had women directors.
Many people feel that in order to see more complex and believable women characters on screen, we need more women behind the cameras – especially in the roles of writer and director. Projects like this one, which prioritize women’s perspectives, are what the film industry needs right now.