‘The Philanthropist,’ a film shot in Gore Bay, nominated for two awards

In photo, from left, is Gore Bay actor Dylon Whyte (who played the role of the philanthropist), actress Liliane Chretien (of Sudbury) and film writer/ director Jayson Stewart.

MASSEY – The short film-movie ‘The Philanthropist,’ which was partially shot in Gore Bay in 2018, has been nominated for two awards for this year’s Northern Ontario Music and Film Awards (NOMFA).

“It is quite exciting that we are being nominated for these awards,” stated Jayson Stewart, director and screenwriter of the film. “Even if we don’t win, it will have been an honour to have been nominated.”

Mr. Stewart of Massey (and Lapse in Judgement Films), told the Recorder  last week, “I have been nominated for the Outstanding Screenwriter Award and the movie is up for Best Short/Mid Length Film through the NOMFA which has announced the nominees for this year’s awards.”
The quality of the nominees for this years’ NOMFA awards is “mind-blowing,”  Jen McKerral, music outreach officer for Music and Film in Motion, the organization presenting the awards, was quoted by Northern Life in its April 18 edition as saying. Awards will be handed out May 25 in 13 categories for excellence in music, film and television/video on demand.

The cast of ‘The Philanthropist’ includes Gore Bay actor Dylon Whyte, who played the title role of the philanthropist in the film.

“I had been looking for a place for awhile to shoot the film and this came about,” Mr. Stewart, writer/director of the Indie film, told the Recorder during shooting of the film in Gore Bay last May. “The story for this film had come as a dream in my head and I knew I needed to do this film. I had been telling a colleague at work (Espanola High School), Marti, who told me about Gore Bay and the house that Glyn (Madill) owns and how it would tie in with the film so well.” 

Filming of ‘The Philanthropist’ took place in Gore Bay and Espanola in one weekend last May. 

“I needed an indoor Victorian style smoking room for one of the main scenes and I had posted this request on many Facebook pages and my options included Sudbury funeral homes,” said the director. “This was the perfect house to shoot some of the film.”

“One of Jayson’s and my colleagues had been here before and told Jayson to go check it out,” said Mr. Madill. “The house has a lot of character.” He noted the house had been built by the Purvis family in 1901.

Inspired by such cinematic aesthetics as David Lynch’s ‘Twin Peaks,’ ‘The X-Files,’ and Stephen King’s short stories, ’The Philanthropist’ has been sent to film festivals around the world. 

“I have always been attracted to surreal stories that peel back the pretty façade of reality and poke what’s there,” said Mr. Madill. “Sometimes what you find is horrible and sometimes you find beauty and truth.”

The principal cast consists of four main actors: Heather Stevenson (Sudbury), Liliane Chretien (Sudbury), Autumn Buratynski (Espanola) and Dylon Whyte (Gore Bay). The three-way storyline focuses on three women as they plead their cases to a philanthropist (Mr. Whyte) and pose the question, ”will they walk away with their fortunes or never leave his office at all?”

“The film is based on an actual dream that I had and I wrote a full narrative and story of the dream the day after I had the dream,” said Mr. Stewart. He said it is a horror film more in the vein of Stephen King without the blood and guts. “It is a version of reality peeled back.”

For his role in the film, Mr. Whyte won the Best Actor Award at the recent Berlin Underground Film Festival.
NOMFA, running May 23-25, is held every two years, and attracts about 1,000 participants. Besides the awards evening, the event includes industry panels and professional development workshops.