Saturday will mark the end of a more than three-year road for Carli Robertson.
The filmmaker, who hails from Prince Albert but now lives in Saskatoon, has spent those three years writing, directing, shooting and producing her first feature-length film, Run Wolf, Run.
The film stars local actors Adreanna Boucher and Thomas (TJ) Hugo. Other names involved in the project include Lisa Risom, John McDonald, Cara Stelmaschuk, Janice MacGregor, Greg Krywulak, Thomas Smith, Trilian Reynoldson, Maureen Pepper and Ian Dickson.
The story follows Amelia as she goes through tragic events and struggles with substance abuse.
“She starts fabricating her perception of her life and starts lying to herself and others to cope,” explained Robertson, the film’s creator.
“She lives in a numb state, forgetting what’s happening because she keeps blacking out. She wakes up … lost and in danger.”
Robertson said the character’s story came from trying to portray a feeling of powerlessness.
“I wanted to give a character a situation where they didn’t have power and have them change that for themselves. Having somebody who has had bad things happen able to turn their life around and get out of their situation,” she said.
“It was a lot of work to organize everything and being not only the writer and director and cinematographer, but also casting and finding outfits and organizing everything was a lot. I tried to keep it as simple as possible, but even with the few changes I had to go through took a lot of organization.”
The work paid off. Run Wolf, Run was nominated for best feature film at the Saskatchewan Independent Film Awards.
Although it didn’t win, Robertson said it was a good experience.
The project was also a first for Boucher, who plays Amelia.
“I’ve never done a movie before,” she said.
“I’d done a commercial prior to that, and that was a one-day thing in one room. Most of my experience is on stage rather than on screen.”
She described the experience as, at times, quite tough.
Some days filming went from as early as 8 a.m. right to 4 a.m. the following morning.
“There were some really exhausting days. It’s an independent film so we only had a small group working on it and a limited amount of time available.
“You have to do the same thing over and over and over again. Given that it’s quote an emotionally-charged film, I had to be in a sad state and I found that difficult,” she said.
Still, Boucher says she likes to be challenged artistically. “I enjoyed the challenge,” she said.
Boucher said she’s “excited” to see the film for the first time.
She’s seen a rough version, but Saturday’s premiere will be her first chance to watch the completed product.
Robertson said anyone who enjoys thrillers or mysteries would likely enjoy the film.
“Anyone who wants to see it for the characters and the story and writing, it would be a really good fit,” she said.
Boucher said Robertson put in a ton of hard work.
“I loved working with Carli,” she said.
“It was great watching her wheels turn. She made everyone feel really comfortable.”
The film premiers at the Broadway Theatre in Saskatoon at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15.
Boucher said supporting the project means supporting independent film in Saskatchewan.
“We would love for people to come. Carli funded this whole thing basically by herself. There’s no Saskatchewan film credit anymore,” Boucher said.
“I’d like to bring that up because anyone who wants to do film in Saskatchewan essentially has to do it on her own. She got one really small grant and she had a GoFundMe page that made a little money, but the rest of it Carli did on her own dime and in her own time. She’s got to really be applauded for that.
“By coming to the premier, people are supporting Carli. It’s sending out the word that people do want more of this type of thing in our area. Keep going. People will come out and support you.”