By; John Michael Bennett
A new film explores Newfoundland, gutter-punk, and loss
Martine Blue has been a filmmaker for twelve years and her upcoming film, Hunting Pignut, is a culmination of all those years of experience – plus all her life experience leading up to writing the script for the film.
Blue grew up in Toronto, but has lived all around the world – including New York, Australia, New Zealand, and parts of Europe. She has spent the last eight years living in Newfoundland.
“I had friends from Newfoundland and I came to visit in 2002. I fell in love with the culture,” Blue said. “We bought a house in Grand Bank. It was far cheaper than anything we could have bought in Ontario.”
While Blue had been making films for twelve years, she describes her early work as “do it yourself,” where she fulfilled many of the roles required – writer, director, audio, video, producer, and more. It was once in Newfoundland that Blue pursued a professional career in film.
“I started applying for grants and went through NIFCO and their different film programs,” said Blue. “I started learning how to work with larger and larger crews. I discovered story editors and I received a lot of mentoring through NIFCO, the Women’s Film Festival, and the Nickel Film Festival. I started honing my craft.”
Besides her work with the Newfoundland Independent Filmmaker’s Co-Op (NIFCO), Blue pursued other programs in PEI and Halifax, and it was during these projects she developed the script for Hunting Pignut.
“It is a gritty coming-of-age drama. The story revolves around a young girl from rural Newfoundland and she’s a misfit. Her estranged father dies in town and a group of gutter punks come to his funeral to steal his ashes,” said Blue about her new film.
“So she goes on an odyssey to hunt down his ashes. But basically it’s to discover her sense of place in the world and her sense of family and community,” said Blue.
For Blue, the project represents a lot of aspects of her own life. Having lost her father a few years ago, she describes the movie as a way to find herself. Her father was a musician, and often times found herself listening to his music at important points in her life and felt as if he was sending her messages.
“That was the basis of the film,” said Blue. “When somebody suddenly passes away, it’s an unfinished relationship and I was always searching for signs of him.”
Hunting Pignut explores two types of culture – Rural Newfoundland and the gutter-punk subculture. “I live in rural Newfoundland now and I lived in the punk squatting scene for a number of years. They were the only two times in my life where I actually felt at home. So the film melds these two worlds.
“They had the biggest sense of community. They are so eclectic, vibrant, and colourful and fun. It’s just a joy to be in both of those worlds. They are both extremely different but I think that they are the unifying aspects of them,” said Blue.
The film stars Taylor Hickson, who was recently in Deadpool, along with well-known Newfoundland actor/director Joel Thomas Hynes, and Amelia Manuel, along with many other talented cast and crew.
Now living in Epworth, Blue is excited for people to see the film – which is now on the film festival circuit, with plans for a theatrical release in February 2017.
Hunting Pignut will be featured at the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival on October 22 at the LSPU Hall, and will also be shown at various other festivals including the Charlottetown Film Festival and the Whistler Film Festival in British Columbia.
“I’m really excited about the St. John’s screening. We shot the film in St. John’s and Witless Bay and almost all the cast and crew haven’t seen it yet. So I’m really excited for them to see it,” said Blue.
“I personally love the film. You know it’s not always the case in filmmaking that you will end up loving your film in the end.”
For tickets to see Hunting Pignut at the LSPU Hall, visit rca.nf.ca/box-office.