Three in a Bed is Jason Filiatrault’s first submission to a film festival. It was selected for the Shorts Package: People are Strange at this year’s 11th Calgary Underground Film Festival, among nine other shorts.
“Maybe I got lucky [in] that they needed Calgary shorts and I [happened to be] there,” says Filiatrault in his soft-spoken sarcasm.
But, upon viewing Filiatrault’s short, it’s clearly potential, not just local convenience.
Three in a Bed is a clever, six-minute comedic short that sticks to simplicity and witty dialogues for a good-natured laugh. It stars local artist Mandy Stobo, known for her Bad Portraits, local stand-up, Sarah Adams, and local comedian, Evan Wilson.
“I knew Evan, Sarah and Mandy from work I [had] done elsewhere and [have been] wanting to do something with them for awhile. So, I had the idea of the three of them in a situation. I basically sat down and wrote a script. [I] didn’t touch it again until we shot it,” he says.
Three in a Bed was shot in one day in Stobo’s bedroom by cinematographer and Filiatrault’s friend, Dan Dumouchel.
“The scheduling worked out really well. Dan came [from Vancouver] and he was really great. He can set things up really quickly so everything was smooth as silk,” says Filiatrault.
Three in a Bed marks Filiatrault’s second time directing. Shots were laid out with Dumouchel and post-production was wrapped in a couple weeks time on Filiatrault’s Macbook Air.
“[Three in a Bed] is pretty basic in the direction. For me, it was far more about getting people together with a script and see what they [could do] together. I had a feeling they would be really funny – and they are,” he says about his cast and his improv-like approach to production.
Filiatrault pursues screenwriting on a full-time basis and operates under his own production company, Feel Canadian. There’s already a sequel-like short to Three in a Bed, called Three in a Car, to be potentially shot end of April with the same cast, followed by a couple features to be shot by summer.
He also writes for the blog Calgary Is Awesome as a way to stay involved with the local film community.
On being a full-time screenwriter, Filiatrault says it wasn’t an overnight success.
“It was eight years of making hardly any money at all before I got to a point I thought I could maybe try it without a day job,” he says.
I bring up the subtle Wes Anderson influence I see in the simplistic, yet evocative shots for Three in Bed. Even the stylized font chosen for the title and credits bring Anderson’s imaginative world to mind.
“Bottle Rocket, Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums are almost perfect films. Rushmore is definitely one of my favourite films,” he says.
But, lately, Filiatrault’s been inspired by a lot of the older comedies, such as Preston Sturges’ work from the ‘40s and Billy Wilder’s from the ‘50s.
“There were times where there was larger emphasis on comedic writing as opposed to directing. Since I’m primarily a writer, I gravitate towards that stuff, back when writers had a bit more power,” he says.
Three in a Bed will debut at this year’s Calgary Underground Film Festival as part of the People Are Strange series of short films. April 12, 4:30 p.m. Globe Cinema.
By Claire Miglionico