Beautiful Accidents

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Film

Beautiful Accidents is a 2018 Canadian feature-length comedy metafilm docufiction adapted and directed by B. P. Paquette from an original screenplay by Amanda M. Darling and starring Greg Carere, Dave DeBorde, Mary-Alice Farina, Trish Rainone and Ilan Ben-Yehuda. Blurring fact and fiction, the film concerns an indie film crew shooting a cheesy rom-com.[1][2]

Plot

The film-within-a-film concerns Henry, a young man who invites his girlfriend Charlotte to his family cottage for the winter holidays. As a surprise for Charlotte, Henry also invites his eccentric mother Sally and Charlotte's overbearing father Gordon. The surprise, however, is the truth about Sally and Gordon. [3]

Cast

  • Greg Carere as himself as Henry.
  • Dave DeBorde as himself as Gordon.
  • Mary-Alice Farina as herself as Sally.
  • Trish Rainone as herself as Charlotte.
  • Ilan Ben-Yehuda as the director.

Production History

A Lot Like Marriage

Neophyte screenwriter-producer Amanda Darling spent more than 20 days in the winter of 2014 shooting her feature script A Lot Like Marriage. The project, which was self-financed and crowd-sourced, was shot entirely in Greater Sudbury with a small and inexperienced cast and crew — in fact, it was most everyone's first feature film. Unfortunately, Darling was forced to abandon the project when the movie just couldn't come together during the editing stage. Darling was resigned that her pet project resulted in an unfinished film.[4] [5][6]

Project Resurrection

In mid-2016, Paquette was discussing the incomplete project with his colleague Matt Séguin, who was the director of photography on the movie. Séguin confirmed that they had over dozens of hours of recorded material but numerous attempts by various people, including the film’s director Ilan Ben-Yehuda, failed to put it together in any satisfactory way. Intrigued, Paquette requested to view the raw material. "I started going through the movie just to see if I could help them, because what a bummer that all this time, effort, and money was put into it and you get to the final stage and it doesn't work," says Paquette. "So I went through it, and they were correct, the movie wouldn't cut." According to Paquette, there were problems on both the narrative and the technical sides that could not be fixed at this stage; however, Paquette has a bucket list of kinds of movies he would like to make, including taking footage shot by someone else and turning it into something different from what was originally intended. "What filmmakers know is that a movie is actually written three times," Paquette explains. "So from the script, then the way you shoot it -- it can change completely, and then in the editing it can change completely." Drastically re-cutting a movie into a final product that what was not envisioned during production is rare but there are many precedents. According to Paquette, one of the best examples of this is The Big Chill. It was supposed to be Kevin Costner's breakout performance. The original script was split between the present day and 10 years earlier and was shot with an even 50/50 split. Costner was featured heavily in half the film. However, when it got to the editing room, it didn't work. The editor made the decision to cut all of the flashback scenes so as to allow the audience to use its imagination. The director Lawrence Kasdan agreed as did audiences and critics alike. Paquette also cites Oscar-winning American director Steven Soderbergh, whose website www.extension765.com features recut versions of several films by other directors, including a mashup of Alfred Hitchcock's and Gus Van Sant's versions of Psycho retitled Psychos, Michael Cimino's controversial Western Heaven's Gate, Steven Spielberg’s action-adventure hit Raiders of the Lost Ark and Stanley Kubrick’s sci-fi classic 2001: A Space Odyssey. [4][5][6][7]

Inclusion of Material Never Intended for the Production

A Lot Like Marriage was shot digitally, which allowed for the cameras to continually roll between takes. "So as they're there trying to figure out a scene, the director might say cut, and he did, but the cameras just kept rolling," says Paquette. "So I have all of the footage that is before action and after cut and that material is actually longer than stuff that is on camera, that is meant to be in the film." There were also times they seemed to forget the camera was recording, and footage for what was intended for a behind-the-scenes feature for DVD. "The basic story that had been written, the one called A Lot Like Marriage, that very basic storyline is still intact in the film, but now the movie is about the making of this movie," he says. However, Paquette removed numerous scenes that were shot that were significant in the original screenplay, including those featuring supporting characters, like Sally’s husband (and Henry’s father) and Charlotte’s roommate. In fact, the character of Sally’s husband appeared throughout the climatic scenes as scripted and shot, but is absent in Beautiful Accidents. Furthermore, Paquette rearranged the order of, and pruned, the scripted scenes that he retained. Paquette estimates that a quarter of Beautiful Accidents contains the intended scripted material, while the remainder of the movie consists of non-scripted material, including the insertion of expository intertitles, performers’ improvisations and bloopers, technical errors, cast and/or crew gags, behind-the-scenes footage, on-camera interviews with crew members during production, archival footage, etc. "And when you watch it you don't think it's a documentary, you think it's a fake documentary, that it was all planned this way." Paquette notes that in the behind-the-scenes footage, the actual filmmakers discuss the fact that some movies start but are unfortunately not completed for various reasons. "They actually have that freakin' discussion," says Paquette. "It's ironic because they're one of those movies."[4][5][6][8]

Transformation and Completion

Although not acquainted, Paquette contacted Darling in early 2017 and offered to partner with her if he was permitted creative freedom to do whatever he wanted with the recordings made for A Lot Like Marriage. She enthusiastically agreed. Darling, however, was unaware to what extent Paquette would re-envision her project. It was not until Beautiful Accidents was accepted as a work-in-progress at Cinefest in 2017 that he informed her of the movie's transformation. Darling was pleasantly surprised with Paquette's creative solutions. Paquette and Darling met in person for the first time at this screening.[4][5][6][9]

Controversy

There has been speculation that Beautiful Accidents is actually 100% fictional and that Paquette has invented an elaborate backstory as way to better publicize his film, all of which he denies.[4][5][6][10]

Festival recognition

At 80 minutes, Beautiful Accidents screened as a work-in-progress at Cinefest in September 2017.[1]

External links

References