Ian Foster’s Keystone

Singer-songwriter Ian Foster is set to present his sophomore short film Keystone at this year’s Nickel Independent Film Festival

Ian Foster told The Herald in a recent interview that he’s worn a different amount of hats in his artistic career in Newfoundland and Labrador. Quite so.

Foster is a notable singer-songwriter, an ace producer, an author of short stories, and more recently can boast that he has completed his second award-winning short film. Many hats indeed!

Sci-fi Drama

Ian Foster’s KeystoneIan’s second short film Keystone, a sci-fi drama, follows Jack, a man beginning to lose grip on his memories, who visits Keystone, an organization with an unlikely mandate: making your most important memories truly ‘unforgettable.’ When Jack begins to recount moments from his life in an interview, he reveals the bond he formed with one particular woman, and the importance he has placed on their story.

The film will screen at the Nickel Independent Film Festival in St. John’s, which takes place from June 14-18. 

“I’m really psyched about it,’ Foster shared. “It’s been in nine festivals so far and this is the first one that will be at home. We started in September in Calgary. We’ve been sort of talking about this for a long time, but it’s our first chance to show people at home what we did a year ago.

“Calgary was our premiere and it couldn’t have been a better premiere for us in terms of the slot in the festival,” Foster added. “They called it one of the 10 best shorts of the year, which was incredible to hear something like that about the work. It’s definitely very affirming and validating so early in the stage.”

A Short Story

Foster originally created Keystone as a short story, submitting the work to Riddle Fence in St. John’s. After a time he began pondering the idea of adapting the story into a short film.

“I started to adapt it because I really liked the story. I could visualize it as a film,” Foster said. “I started to adapt the script and it got accepted into the Picture Start Program. We set out on the process of pre-production and casting and everything that leads us to production and it was shot in April of last year. There was a certain sweet poetry to it perhaps that it had been written as a short story two years before, written as a script a year before and literally we shot it April 1-3 and the short story was published in the April issue of Riddle Fence … It existed in the world for awhile, but ironically the two forms of it kind of came together in those two weeks.”

Foster shared that his appeal of the short film can be linked to songwriting or poetry, modes of artistic expression that require concise thought and planning, but pack an emotional punch. 

“I think that shorts are sort of like a poem or a song in a way,” Foster said. “You’re telling a very specific and concise story in a medium where you can perhaps experiment a little bit more than a typical feature process … there still has to be an arc of events that happen, but there’s perhaps a little bit more direct intensity because it’s 10-15 minutes long. The story has to move at a pace that pays off in that amount of time. I enjoy that aspect of it.”

Nickel Film Festival

Foster was nothing but complementary when discussing the Nickel Film Festival, and the impact the event has had on local filmmakers. Foster’s first short, One More Song, won Best Screenplay at the 2013 installment of the festival. 

“I think the Nickel was very good to me in my first year involved,” he recalled. “One More Song was really the first time I had attended the entire festival as a filmmaker. It was great. That film won Best Screenplay at that event and for me at that point making my first film it was an amazing incentive to continue to develop that part of what I do now. It was a nice first step and element of encouragement for this because it was the first place it had ever been seen by anybody. I think it’s an important part of our community and an important part for our support of filmmakers.”

A Common Thread

Foster acknowledged that while the life of a singer-songwriter is truly his first love, he is more than happy to continue to tie in other mediums of art, since they all share a common thread. 

“For me there’s a certain different amount of hats that I’ve come to wear over the last number of years and I love that it feels like it all feeds into one another … I suppose the common thread for the different things that I’ve done over the past few years has been writing. Some of my earliest memories was writing things and loving writing, whatever that is, short stories when I was a kid and poetry and all of that stuff. That of course goes into music, writing for film and short stories. 

“To me its a common thread. I’ve always loved the interaction of music and imagery. That’s how I got into the film community here a little bit, scoring for some friend’s projects and scoring for some other projects that come my way. To me it’s always been this grassroots progression of saying that this seems to be an interesting door and it feels like the right avenue for this particular creative idea so lets go that way. So far I’m really enjoying the film process and it’s certainly lit a fire on another way to express certain creative ideas.”

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