Newfoundland director Jordan Canning’s second feature film Suck It Up will premiere at the 2017 Slamdance Film Festival, happening in Park City from January 20-26th, 2017. 

Suck It Up was the only Canadian film selected to screen in the Festival’s Beyond program, which showcases films by emerging filmmakers who have already completed a feature.

Suck It Up is about two women grieving a young man who recently died of cancer; Ronnie’s (Grace Glowicki) brother and Faye’s (Erin Carter) first love. Ronnie is dealing with her grief by indulging in an epic bender when Faye decides to whisk her away to a cabin in the mountains of Invermere, B.C.

“They spend a couple of debaucherous weeks out in the woods trying to escape their grief but ultimately coming to face it head on and redefining their friendship in the process,” Canning explained.

Canadian actresses Carter and Glowicki worked with L.A. based writer Julia Hoff to develop the idea for Suck It Up because they weren’t happy with the types of roles they were being cast in. This project gave control over the characters they would play. When it came time to find a director, the Canadian Screen Institute suggested they meet with Canning who joined the team in 2013.

Suck It Up was filmed in May and June of 2016 and is currently in the final stages of post-production. The long development process paired with the fact that the lead actresses formed a relationship before going to camera gave the team time to meticulously refine the script and shape the characters before filming.

“By the time we started shooting we knew the script so well and we knew the characters so well, we could just focus on bringing it to life,” Canning said.

During the filming, the small cast and crew spent three and a half weeks living together in the mountains, completely engrossed in the film. Canning explained this process of filmmaking allowed them to get lots of extra footage, a luxury that indie filmmakers often don’t have because of tight scheduling.

“Sometimes on a Saturday when the light looked beautiful, myself and the cinematographer, Guy Godfrey would get together with the actors and be like, ‘okay, let’s go down to the beach to shoot some b-roll of you guys talking or drinking a beer or skipping stones’… and all those little things ended up making it into the film,” Canning said.

A lot of the film takes place outdoors and there were instances when the weather forced the team to switch locations unexpectedly. In almost every case, Canning felt like those unexpected, uncontrollable changes added something to the film.

“In this film it felt like there were actually quite a few of those moments where the universe seems to intervene. It sounds kind of corny but they all turned out to be amazing,” Canning said.

Canning is excited about the Slamdance premiere because it will bring the cast and crew, who are spread across the country and The States, together again.

“This is an amazing opportunity for us all to be back together in the mountains watching our film, it’s going to be a really nice reunion,” Canning said.