Past president of Women in Film + Television Vancouver and long-time member Robyn Wiener is an energetic, committed film producer who loves a challenge—and with over 50 professional credits she has obviously risen to many of the trials and tribulations that filmmaking can bring.
Robyn had known Jason for a number of years and they talked about working together on other projects. Then Black Fly came along and she knew right away she wanted to be involved.
“I read the script and knew it would make an awesome film. The script has a great story, is extremely well written and has great characters—and as obvious as that sounds, none of it is easy,” she says. “You have to have all of the elements, and the thriller aspect kept me on the edge of my seat. Not to mention, I loved Jason’s sensibility and how he wanted to direct it and was keen to join the producing team working with award winning documentary producer, Ken Frith – the three of us had an instant bond and great chemistry.”
Wiener adds she has to be really excited about a project to inspire other people as well. “There has to be a hook to draw people in. You’re with the project for a long period of time so you can’t possibly stay with it if you don’t really love it or the team that you are going to partner with.”
Wiener is thrilled about the film’s world premiere at VIFF and the opportunity to celebrate with friends in her home city of Vancouver.
Filmed in Pitt Meadows, Langley, Maple Ridge and Hornby Island, Black Fly was shot in just 15 days. “Our first day of principal photography, we had blowing snow, but it turned into a beautiful cinematic accident,” remembers Wiener. It’s easy to tell that Robyn loves producing—she puts a positive spin on every anecdote she tells.
“I love the creative challenge of making films and love working with creative people. It’s my job to take what is on the page and the vision in the director’s head and support that vision with the resources you have—which can sometimes be very limited. I love seeing the words that you read eventually projected on the screen. Every movie has its own particular challenge . . . they’re like snowflakes, every single one is completely different.”
While she enjoys the creative producing and working with artists that script development offers, Wiener also thrives on set: “You throw together a hundred people on a film set and they have to become a family—it’s kind of like a flash mob, then they disperse…”
She recently returned from the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) where she was honoured to be invited by the senior Canadian programmers as part of the Irving Avrich Film Fund which bestows an industry pass to 10 emerging Canadian filmmakers. She was thrilled to be selected and knows how important is it for producers to go to TIFF—“Your presence is significant. It’s all business; it shows you’re current, and people get to know you.” Her visit to TIFF is just one example of Wiener’s growing national presence as a producer to watch. She is also a the co-producer on the acclaimed comedy, Lawrence & Holloman, which just won Best Comedy Feature at the Canadian Comedy Awards & will be airing this week on Super Channel.
Wiener’s production company, Synergy Cinema Inc. has been successful receiving development funding from Telefilm Canada, and is in development on several feature film projects. After doing a horror film (American Mary) and a thriller, she’s looking for a great romantic comedy to produce.
Touted as a Canada’s Winter’s Bone by Telefilm, Black Fly is a thriller about two estranged brothers with a haunted past, starring Matthew MacCaull, Dakota Daulby, and Christie Burke. For show times and tickets go to http://www.viff.org/festival/films/f13097-black-fly .
By Roslyn Muir
Roslyn Muir is a screenwriter, story editor, instructor and former programmer of the Vancouver Women in Film Festival— find out more about her on http://www.roslynmuir.com
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