Toronto-based Ed Gass-Donnelly has several projects in the works to follow up his festival hit Small Town Murder Songs (which premiered in Toronto and this week screens in Rotterdam).
He has two films that will be set up with US companies (even if they will ultimately shoot in Canada). They are supernatural thriller Lavender and “modern noir western” The Two Deaths of Henry Baker.
Lavender, with a budget of $15m-$20m, is a ghost story “about a woman who is haunted by her past.”
Henry Baker is based on a script by Sebastian Piggot that Gass-Donnelly optioned and updated. Of that film, he says: “It’s about four generations of violence, a kind of Hatfields-and-McCoys story that stretches from 1920s to contemporary times.”
These films are moving ahead as Gass-Donnelly has recently signed with a new management company, Untitled Entertainment; and agency, ICM, after the strong reception for his second feature Small Town Murder Songs.
“We’re deciding which of these is the best followup to Small Town Murder Songs,” Gass-Donnelly told Screen in Rotterdam.
He will also shoot a smaller budget eco-horror film called Permafrost in Canada next winter.
Gass-Donnelly was at Rotterdam’s CineMart pitching another project, more likely a European co-production, entitled The Feast, which he hopes to shoot in 2012. The film, a rock musical about a mute girl who sells her soul to the devil in exchange for an amazing singing voice, will feature new interpretations of classic blues and gospel songs, including some by Blind Willie Johnson.
Gass-Donnelly said of his work: “Stylistically I’m driven by strong character driven work, I like exploring genre, but only when looking at the human conditon.”
Meanwhile, Visit Films is handling international sales on Small Town Murder Songs, and has two market screenings planned for Berlin’s EFM. The film has already sold to Scandinavia (Scanbox), Israel (Lev Films), Turkey (Irfan), and Canada (Kinosmith). Paradigm is handling US rights.
Small Town Murder Songs, starring Peter Stormare, Martha Plimpton and Jill Hennessey in the story of a conflicted policeman investigating a murder, is also headed to festivals including Goteborg and Istanbul. Gass-Donnelly produced along with Lee Kim.