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BRAD'S STATUS

Northern Lights
Brad's Status is set primarily in Boston, with some additional scenes in Sacramento and Hawaii. While many of the exteriors were shot during a short stay in Boston, Montreal stood in for a majority of the city's interiors. "We went to Cambridge to get iconic spots like the quad at Harvard, the bridge and the scullers on the Charles River," says White. "But most of the stuff in Boston was shot in Montreal, which turned out to be a fun city. It was a real pleasure to shoot there."

It was familiar territory for Bernad, who, like his father and brother, graduated from McGill University. "I knew it would cover well for Boston, plus it's a great city to be in," says Bernad. "I felt like my college experience was research for this movie. A lot of the scenes on campus are actually McGill. We were struggling to find a place that would stand in for the Harvard alumni room. I asked my brother and father for ideas and they suggested the McGill Medical Library. It turned out no one had ever shot there. I had to cash in all my McGill chips to get that location."

A fast-paced 33-day shoot was aided by a lucky break in the weather, says the producer. "That aspect of the shoot was charmed. Montreal and Boston in the fall are notoriously rainy. Even in Hawaii, we filmed during rainy season. Every day we flew into or out of a location, it was raining, but it almost never rained on shooting days."

White says he worked with cinematographer Xavier Grobet to create a very active, almost frenetic shooting style that reflects the restlessness of Brad's mind. "I felt like the movie should not ever feel still," he says. "It has many short scenes and fantasy sequences that are quick blips interwoven with longer conversational scenes, some of them really long. We used a handheld approach, which I don't do often, but it gives a sense of movement that feels like an expression of Brad's thoughts. By the time we get to the end where he's building to a revelatory moment about himself, it slows down a bit. The idea is that consciously or unconsciously the audience starts to feel those changes and feel the emotion of the scene in an unexpected way."

Being part of Amazon Studios sweeping slate of original films was crucial to making the film that White envisioned, both he and Bernad agree. The company was, both men say, the ideal partner for an unusual and ambitious movie. "Amazon's been amazing," says Bernad. "As a producer, I salivate over the opportunity to have a partner that is so involved. It's really rare to work with a studio that gives you total and complete freedom. They have complete trust in the filmmakers and in the process."

White adds that as a filmmaker his dream is to sit across from the people who are willing to take a chance and say make the best version of the thing that you envision. "Sometimes people are afraid that things will be too edgy or too unusual, but they never tried to water it down or neuter it. For that I'm very grateful."

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