“The best way to describe it would be Love Actually meets Tales from the Crypt,” said local filmmaker Darryl Merpaw of his 90-minute brain-child Hybrid Moments.
The feature film is split into five parts, each representing an already stressful time in five different relationship and then casting it into absurdity — like a man, after much agonizing, finding the perfect time to propose to his girlfriend only to learn that the world will end in a half-hour.
“A lot of the stories have the underlying theme of the urgency of love and not kind of waiting or letting your insecurities hold you back from being the person you can be in a relationship,” he explained.
Despite the film’s strange and often dark narratives, Merpaw intended it to be of broad enough interest for everyone, citing the slightly less intense relationship trope of a couple going to a movie store only to disagree with each other on what they should watch — though it has plenty to offer single folk too, he added.
Merpaw began filming Hybrid Moments two years ago, fully understanding how hard it is to wrangle up enough funds for a project like this, but unaware that it would give him a sense of freedom and independence.
There were practicalities, though, and they were part of what split the film into fifths. Short films within a larger whole meant he didn’t have to keep cast or crew for long periods of time or worry about paying them and working with their schedules.
It also lets a filmmaker protect his or her work — there’s no producers looking over shoulders and no creeping deadlines except for the ones they set.
“There’s a real freedom to it that I don’t think I otherwise would have had if we had a budget or a professional crew in that sense,” he said.
The film is cast from local actors who Merpaw has seen in other productions around town, including a few fellow filmmakers.
Through the process of shooting with different groups, he began to grow more secure in Edmonton’s movie production community, seeing his own and his co-worker’s networks grow.
“As the shooting went on for the two years, the family around the movie really grew, and now it’s at a point where a lot of people who have worked together in this movie are working together in other movies. It’s really kind of neat to see how a small, little community has kind of built itself out of this movie for the last couple of years,” Merpaw said.
“Obviously Edmonton doesn’t have an international stamp, but it’s a great place for people to cut their teeth, whereas if you’re a filmmaker in Vancouver or Toronto, just the idea of making a short film or a feature film, you’ve already got to have money because you need permits and every actor that you meet is union and everyone is kind of there specifically for career purposes, whereas in Edmonton, everyone just wants to get their stuff seen.”
Merpaw is hoping his film will air at some major festivals this summer, and is waiting to hear back from a few of them. Hybrid Moments will be shown as a part of NextFest on June 9, 8:30 p.m. at the Roxy Theatre.
Go to facebook.com/HybridMomentsComedy