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Martin Glegg on the magical realist film with a western twist, Unicorn Code

Martin Glegg, Partner and Director at Wallop Film is a writer-director based in British Columbia. Passionate about impactful storytelling, Martin draws from unique perspectives and an education in Human Ecology to immerse himself into the art of storytelling.

 

Photography by Matt Lawrence Dix

 

Wallop Film has collaborated with celebrated brands, agencies, and crews such as BBC, Monocle, lululemon, Destination Canada and more. Martin recently brought the award-winning script for Unicorn Code to life, a story about two teenage girls who discover an escaped unicorn in an abandoned lumberyard site. The animal is distressed and the girls quickly have to decide what is in the best interest of the creature. The story rapidly unfolds to become a tale about human empowerment, the boundaries of genetic engineering, and ‘our’ sacred relationship with nature. We spoke with Martin about the upcoming project.

 

How did you get into filmmaking?

My journey to becoming a filmmaker started when my dad would bring home his work’s VHS camera on the weekends. I’d force my younger siblings to act in these mini “masterpieces” on non-union rates. Around the age of 21 I saw a film at the theatre by the director, Ken Loach. I loved the realism and it felt so different from Hollywood. Loach showed me how it was possible to tell impactful stories about people who usually aren’t seen on the big screen. I hadn’t really watched anything like that before and it kind of blew my mind. It was a very emotive experience and that made me want to tell stories.

 

Tell us about Unicorn Code, how did the story come to you?

Unicorn Code is kind of hard one to describe but let’s say it’s a magical realist film with a western twist. I was born in Scotland where the national animal is a unicorn, which is pretty amazing on a number of levels. I wrote the screenplay after researching mythological stories around how unicorns would be lured and captured. I also loved how unicorns perfectly represented all that is sacred about nature and I realized there was an opportunity to re-tell these old fables, but with a contemporary twist.

 

Photography by Matt Lawrence Dix

 

Who is the team behind bringing Unicorn Code to life? 

Our producer, Katherine Koniecki and the team at Wallop Film brought together the most incredible cast and crew for this shoot. Farhad Ghaderi, our cinematographer was heavily influential in bringing the vision to life. Nahéma Ricci and Julia Sarah Stone played the story’s leads and I couldn’t have asked for more from them. Although, I have to say our star player was Regalo the horse, he stole the show.

 

You produced Unicorn Code this past summer, can you tell us about how you adapted during this time?

As a filmmaker you get used to having to adapt to unforeseen circumstances, it’s part of the game, but planning an indie production during a pandemic was one task that pushed our team to our limits. After a lot of postponing we were eventually one of the first productions out the gates and this was key to us securing such a talented crew. Wallop Film learned a lot about how to film in this new COVID safe environment.

 

Photography by Matt Lawrence Dix

 

How do you stay creative?

I try to stay creative by allowing myself time to read and spend time with inspiring people. In some ways, being creative has never been a problem for me. It’s allocating the energy in ways that can keep me focused on one particular project. There are so many distractions out there and sometimes you can forget about why you wanted to become a filmmaker in the first place. Slowing down and taking time to focus can help me align my creativity with my mission as a filmmaker. It’s a work in progress.

 

What’s your filmmaking mission? Name the most important thing you want viewers to experience when watching your movies.

For me, cinema is about stepping into other people’s shoes. As a filmmaker, I have always gravitated to telling other people’s stories. Filmmaking is a way to intimately explore different characters’ stories and through that I can expand my interpretation of the world. I think visually, so films have been a vital way for me to learn about life and what is important. I hope my work can do that for others.

 

 

Photography by Matt Lawrence Dix

 


 

Website: www.martinglegg.com | wallopfilm.com

Social: @wallop.film

Kat Jayme, Filmmaker, Finding Big Country

You could say that Kat Jayme was destined to become a filmmaker. “I’ve had a camera pointed at me all my life. My grandfather was a director in the Philippines, and so everything was documented.”

 

Kat grew up in Vancouver, where she was the point guard for her high school basketball team.  When she got her first video camera, she started documenting her friends in their day-to-day life. Capturing moments was something she innately knew how to do, and when she graduated from high school, she naturally gravitated toward film. She studied film production at the University of British Columbia and then interned with the National Film Board for three years, learning the ropes. “That experience was invaluable,” she reflects.  

While she was at film school, she knew that she had to tell the story of her childhood heroes, The Vancouver Grizzlies. “I had a feeling that I had to make this film, so I started to do some research. Bryant ‘Big Country’ Reeves was the only player people couldn’t track down, it was like he was missing, and so I set out to find him.” 

Kat documented her journey in Finding Big Country, and she learned so much along the way. “He had become the scapegoat, the guy people blamed for how terrible The Grizzlies were. As a little girl, I loved them, even though they were terrible, and I wanted to find my long lost hero. It was the perfect recipe – you couldn’t have written a better storyline.” Yet, it wasn’t always easy. As a young, female director, Kat knows how lonely it can get, working by herself all day. Finding a group of like-minded individuals was a game-changer for her. “I’m really lucky I found my film family. We’re all female documentary makers, and we lift each other up.” 

In a genre heavily dominated by white men, Kat was often the only female in a room full of male sports reporters. They assumed she was lost, or that she didn’t belong, yet she would use that to her advantage. “I believe I got access to Bryant and his family because he wasn’t as guarded with me as he might have been with someone else. No one else had been able to do that except me.”

Kat believes her basketball training helped her become a better filmmaker. “Being a point guard is very similar to being a director. You’re a leader on the floor, the one trying to bring out the best in everyone.” She also knows that nothing great happens without a strong team. “When it comes to producing an independent film, you need all of the help you can get. Creative BC was nothing but supportive. Without their help, I wouldn’t have been able to complete this film the way I wanted. We are so lucky to have organizations like this supporting emerging filmmakers, helping to bring their dream projects come to life.”

As for Kat’s grandfather, he was able to fly to Vancouver to see her film premiere at the Vancouver International Film Festival. “That’s something I will always be grateful for, to see him there opening night. He was so proud that I was following in his footsteps and keeping the family tradition of filmmaking alive.”

Kat Jayme
Finding Big Country