By Meaghan Lawrence
CALGARY — After three weeks on the road with his third feature-length film, Spaces and Reservations, Calgary-born filmmaker Brendan Prost has returned to his Vancouver home.
After his first two movies Generation Why and Choch, Prost, a recent grad of Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C., finally had the time and the tenacity to take Spaces and Reservations on the road.
The plot of Spaces and Reservations surrounds a young couple (Zach White and Taylor Hastings) in a long-term relationship who gradually fall out of love and must deal with their evolving feelings for each other.
His tour began in Vancouver, where the film was shot. Prost then premiered in Calgary – an “electric” screening.
“It was so nice – I feel like I’ve been away for such a long time and haven’t shared my work [in Calgary] in a really long time – I thought they would forget about me,” Prost said.
“They were so excited. The most wonderful thing is having people come and tell you that they saw their own experience reflected.”
He then went eastward to Winnipeg and Toronto and finished at last in Victoria.
Like the title Spaces and Reservations suggests, Prost’s experiences on tour were both liberating and limiting.
“[The film] was inspired by two separate experiences that [I] had with two very different people,” Prost said, “and I had to reconcile those two experiences…because you can’t carry your past around with you.”
Prost’s desire to emotionally distance himself from his past relationships mirrors the spacious physical distance he covered while promoting the film. Prost said he carefully considered what cities and venues would be appropriate for screening his film.
Not only did the tour allow the liberty to occupy new spaces in new cities, the film also encouraged an emotional space for the audience to discuss their own experiences amongst each other and with Prost.
Prost recalls a gratifying experience post-show in Toronto, when he had a drink with some audience members and they opened up, speaking candidly about their own relationships.
“No matter how many people we got out or whatever struggles we had, it felt like there was a consensus amongst the audience that it’s a genuinely very affecting film and engaging film.
“People felt that it was realistic, and it felt as if they were seeing their own lives on screen, and portrayed in such an honest and vivid way.”
Despite successful showings in Vancouver and Calgary, promoting in unfamiliar cities like Winnipeg and Victoria required Prost to hit the pavement and approach strangers.
“Truthfully, it was an encounter with my own limitations,” he said. “I wanted to do it because I think our story was inspiring, but I think my own personal limitations kicked in, and I found it difficult to do the cold sale.”
Prost notes Spaces and Reservations is targeted specifically to a young audience – and convincing this crowd to embrace alternative cultural avenues of content is tricky.
“Young people don’t have a lot of disposable income,” Prost said. “And they’re inundated with cultural demands of all kinds. They’re not familiar with the alternative avenues in which there’s a lot of cool stuff.”
Prost, through the space of a long nationwide tour, gained insights into his own reservations as a filmmaker – but opened doors along the way.
“I showed it to a few film programmers and they suggested it would be a disservice to not enter it into a few American film festivals,” he said.
“That is the big decision I am toying with now.”
Despite the hesitations Prost may have, there should be no reservations about the bright career ahead of him.
For more information on the film, visit http://www.spacesfilm.com/AB, Alberta, Brendan Prost, Spaces and Reservations