Moose Jaw Duo's Film to be Screened at RIFF

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Nick Murray

"Super stoked."
That's how Dustan Hlady describes having his film, The Young Wife, being selected for the Regina International Film Festival.

"I'm an experience junkie and the experience of being at a legit festival is something I'm really going to enjoy" he added.

His short film, The Young Wife, he says, is "a story of a Saskatchewan housewife that married young and feels like she is missing her 20s; that her identity depends on others. She isn't able to find her identity within because she's constantly tethered in by her family responsibilities. It's really about personal freedom, how we strive for it and how unromantic and ordinary it is when we get it."

This anxious take on life is a common theme in Dustan's writings.

 Dustan Hlady's Film,  The Young Wife , was selected for the Regina International Film Festival

Dustan Hlady's Film, The Young Wife, was selected for the Regina International Film Festival

In the past, Dustan has written stories and scripts. But he has also written stand-up comedy routines, songs and even political speeches.

He released an Album with Friend Friend, the band he fronts alongside his wife. He also ran for a seat in parliament once as well. Filmmaker is only the latest title on his otherwise extensive resume; and he really isn't all that new at it either. He's filmed videos in the past; including the music video for Johnny 2 Fingers' Moose Jaw classic "Singin' Outta Tune".

Dustan admits that although he was certain the film would eventually find an audience, he was also surprised by this particular invite, "the short got rejected by even lesser festivals" he said, adding "It can make you paranoid. Did I make a horrible film and not know it?"

For Dustan, this festival is an opportunity not only to present his art to its appropriate audience but to make valuable connections in the film industry.

"The festival is pretty international" he said.  "It was partially created to help Saskatchewan filmmakers mingle with other filmmakers from around the world".

 From left to right: Dustan Hlady, Jeremy Ratzlaff, Christina Persson (the lead actress)

From left to right: Dustan Hlady, Jeremy Ratzlaff, Christina Persson (the lead actress)

For the creation of The Young Wife, Jeremy Ratzlaff acted as Dustan's creative partner.
Jeremy is a talented freelance film director with 7 years of experience under his belt. He has done films, music videos and fashion photography and has even logged many hours behind the camera for CBC Arts.

He has also made his own short films as well: like this one here called The Scavenger

"He's amazing to work with" Dustan said. "We synch well and he lets me know when I'm doing something stupid."

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Jeremy also had high praise for Dustan, saying he "has an incredible talent for networking talented people, and everyone involved in the shoot had an immensely positive attitude and that makes all the difference on a multi-day guerrilla shoot. It was honestly the most fun I’ve ever had shooting a narrative project."

Christina Perrson played the lead role, Dustan said, adding "she's in Shrek right now at The Globe".

"Brian Dueck played the Newfie on the bridge. Doctor Booty Quiver was the band and Sarah Harrison kept things pretty organized" he added.

Jeremy said "I’m just really excited to see this project that we worked so intensely on a year ago finally have its moment on the big screen"

Dustan is currently producing a full length film for which he wrote the script.

"Wilf Dieter is directing. It's about a teen boy who leaves a reserve in the throes of a suicide epidemic. He is sent away to Ft. Qu'Appelle, where he befriends a quirky girl and a residential school survivor."

Filming for that begins in August.

At the moment, Jeremy is producing a series of short profiles of artists for CBC Arts and he is about to relaunch "Creation's Flame", a project of his highlighting artists from Saskatchewan; only this time it will be a web series.

The Regina International Film Festival  and Awards Ceremony runs from August 14-18. For further information and updates on independent events check out their website