A film created by a Calgarian, shot in Calgary, using Calgary talent is coming to CIFF
The Calgary International Film Festival (CIFF) will feature over 175 multi-genre feature and short films from Canada and around the world
DROP. Filmed around Calgary and created with Calgary talent, is an authentic Calgary film. // Submitted
Celebrating its 24th year, the Calgary International Film Festival (CIFF) will feature over 175 multi-genre feature and short films from Canada and around the world. With a large group of Alberta talent, filmmakers from across the province will be celebrated at the festival. Ramin Eshraghi-Yazdi is a Calgary filmmaker who will be presenting his new feature narrative, DROP. Filmed around Calgary and created with Calgary talent, DROP is an authentic Calgary film. The film follows the story of Christopher Clare, also known as Clip, as he ages out of his art form as a professional performance artist. We caught up with Eshraghi-Yazdi to learn more about DROP and what audiences can expect at the screening.
Tell us about your film.
DROP is a humble little film with big dreams. I wrote the film for my longtime collaborator Christopher Clare who is an actor, dancer, and choreographer, playing to his talents. The film is fiction but I based the scenarios and other key characters loosely on people I had met in my life. Outside of the second lead character in the film, Shemar Herbert, I had someone in mind to play each role. The vast majority of actors in the film are first-time actors who went over and beyond my expectations. I am thrilled to debut the film at CIFF as the project was filmed entirely in Calgary with an almost all-Calgary cast and crew. We made this film with a tiny budget.
What role did Calgary play in the creation of your film?
Calgary has always been my playing ground for film. Even though I spend a lot of time in Montreal, I always opt to film my work in Calgary for a variety of reasons that are well-known in the film industry as evident from huge productions calling Calgary home. But for me, it’s where all my main collaborators are. It’s also where I grew up and continue to call home so it's comfortable and familiar. I know where to look and who to talk to. DROP does not necessarily take place in Calgary as we tried to forge a generic big-city urban vibe, but I could not imagine filming this movie in any other city. There are little Calgary-based easter eggs for when the film plays in other cities.
How has the making of DROP challenged you?
I have made a handful of documentary features in my 17 years of filmmaking, but a narrative feature is a different beast. We made DROP because I was tired of pitching and waiting. My practice has always been very DIY, and the years of wearing multiple hats and working on challenging budgets has given me the tool kit to make a tiny budget look much better than a tiny budget. So, our goal was to make the film on whatever resource we could round up and as soon as we got one green light we were running. The challenges of this film were many, but the strengths far outweighed them. The locations and general vibe we were able to construct far surpassed my already optimistic expectations. Yes, this film nearly killed me, but I have learned so much that I can’t wait to apply to my next film.
In what ways might Calgarians relate to the film?
Calgarians will get a kick out of seeing their city portrayed as a slightly different city than they may know, as I always do when watching things that are shot here. But the biggest takeaway will be the Calgary dancers and dance communities featured in the film. The through-line of the film is supported by dance. Dance is used not just as the backdrop of the film but also as a mechanism that propels the characters and story. That dance is performed by some of Calgary’s most talented dancers from the community and at different stages of their practice.