Feature by Harmony Wagner premieres at Atlantic Film Festival
Kooperman, the first feature film by Prince Edward Island director Harmony Wagner, is making its world premiere at the Atlantic Film Festival in Halifax. The film debuts September 19 at 9:45 pm at Cineplex Cinemas Park Lane.
Winner of the 2014 Telefilm Micro-Budget Production Fund, this comedy tells the story of Griffin Kooperman, the owner of a struggling comic book store, in a small town he has never left. When the store, his security blanket from the world, faces eviction, he must snap out of his fantasy world and become his own hero in order to save his store, his friendship and himself.
Co-written by Harmony Wagner and producer Jason Rogerson, Kooperman is what they describe as a “character-driven bro-mance that blends rich visuals with a driving laugh-out loud plotline, while commenting on society’s obsession with superheroes in an age of apathy.” Shot on location across the Island by award-winning cinematographer Jeff Wheaton, the film stars Dylan Miller, Andrew Murray, Sharlene MacLean, Matt Harper, Tamara Steele, Carl Peterson, Jeremy Larter and Adi Vella, and showcases an all PEI soundtrack, including North Lakes, Paper Lions, Coyote, Racoon Bandit, Nudie, Catherine MacLellan, Count and the Cuban Cocktail, and Whaleskin. Sound design was crafted at The Hill Sound Studio by Adam Gallant.
“Kooperman is both an absurd romp and little commentary on our times,” says director Wagner. “If you just want to laugh and forget your life for 76 minutes you are in for a fast-paced ride, but there is a deeper layer of meaning threaded through for those who want to look for it. Jason and I felt the comedy genre has been kind boxed in lately so we had fun stretching the boundaries of what you expect from a comedy.”
Charlottetown’s Lightning Bolt Comics was transformed into Kooperman Comics last September during the 15-day shoot. Local illustrators Troy Little, Brenda Hickey, Sandy Carruthers, Tyler Landry, Jeff Alward, Ramon J. Sierra and Pete Murphy provided a wealth of original comic book art to set the scene. “We aim to cross-promote the existing projects of the artists and musicians as well,” says Wagner. “The level of talent here defies logic given our small population and it’s important that the whole culture sector thrives if we want to make more film and television here.”
“It feels great to kick things off at a festival of such high repute,” adds producer Rogerson. “We are dedicated to building an industry for PEI and the Atlantic Film Festival is a great first step to launch the movie. So many talented people worked on this and we are so grateful to them and for the support of the community. There are too many to list here, but special mention should go to the Island Media Arts Co-op, PEI Council of the Arts, and The Guild.”
Tickets for the film’s world premiere are available online now at the Atlantic Film Festival box office. Kooperman will screen on PEI in October to open the Charlottetown Film Festival.