Jeff Coll partners with Chaz Thorne to produce Just Buried
by Dan MacCormac
Jeff Coll admits he’s a young player in the film business, but has intentions of making his mark on the industry.
Coll, 27, hails from Prince Edward Island and currently resides in Halifax where he is working as an associate producer with Nova Scotia writer and director Chaz Thorne. They recently completed Just Buried, an independent film written and directed by Thorne. The drama/ comedy screened at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) this September.
Coll’s role on the film was that of an associate producer, a career he prepared for by taking the Screen Arts program at the Nova Scotia Community College, after studying English and Theatre at the University of Prince Edward Island. Upon graduating from NSCC, he accepted a job as a director’s assistant on a television movie called Candles on Bay Street shot in Halifax by director John Erman.
With a reference letter from Erman in his hand, Coll applied for another job as a director’s assistant, this time with Thorne who was beginning work on Just Buried. After a 15-minute meeting in a coffee shop, Coll was hired and remains Thorne’s sole employee at his production company.
His duties on Just Buried ran from the somewhat basic during pre-production—making deliveries and buying supplies—to some challenging and newfound roles during post-production, mainly ensuring the film gets screened and distributed.
“With no previous experience, I was dealing with broadcasters, sales agents, distributors, government agencies to help make sure all contractual obligations were being met so the production wouldn’t run out of money.” he explained. “Ten months in, I’m still working on this aspect of the film, even though it has long been completed and has screened at several film festivals.”
Coll said TIFF was a great experience, and that despite the high-profile glossiness of the event, there was recognition available for filmmakers and players of all standing. “It’s saturated with Hollywood people who work behind and in front of the camera. But there’s also a lot of support there for young filmmakers such as Chaz and first-time feature filmmakers.”
Coll has busy recently preparing for a Halifax screening of Poor Boy’s Game, a film starring Danny Glover which was shot and set in Halifax. Thorne wrote and co-produced the film, and Coll is making sure the showing leads to more across the country. He said it was a unique experience to be involved in screening a film set in Nova Scotia by a Nova Scotian director.
Coll has found his first home in the Canadian film industry in only a few years, but is confident he’s found his passion and will challenge himself with production skills which he knows are an integral part of the art of filmmaking.
“I’m still pretty young for the film business, but I feel like I have to keep progressing and working my way up. I hate being stagnant. I always want to do more. I’d like to have a full producing credit on a feature before I turn 30.”