Static

A heartbroken man gets a second chance at redemption when he’s able to deliver his wife’s dying wish to another longtime companion, his faithful TV.

Creative team

Writers: Tanya Lemke, Robert Shearman
Director: Tanya Lemke
Producers: Sonya Di Rienzo, Aeschylus Poulos

Filmmaker’s statement

The story of Static is a charming one – funny, sweet and just a little bit twisted. It’s also deeply poignant, and ends with a powerful breakthrough for its protagonist. Ernest, this lonely man who has somehow put all of his emotional eggs into this basket – a dusty, burnt-out hunk of electronics – is finally able to face his feelings of pain, guilt and loss and move beyond them.

The word ‘static’ of the title refers to both the crackling snow on the screen of the ailing TV, but also to the profound stillness after death, and in the same sense, the emotional paralysis of someone who is frozen in both fear and denial of that death.

The main character, aside from Ernest, is actually the TV itself. We’ll be able to read its ‘face’ as it’s being tended to by Ernest in its suffering, after it’s smeared with blood, and finally as the reflection of trees, clouds and sky travel across the surface of its screen at the end of the film. Even though it’s too far gone to broadcast them itself, the TV has the chance to have beautiful images move across its face again at the last. What Ernest couldn’t do for his beloved wife, or even his dog, he’s able to do at least for this faithful friend.

Following along from my first short film Happy Pills, Rob Shearman’s story Static struck me as a new and interesting take on the theme of that work, a theme that has persistently fascinated me as I’ve developed as an artist – that is, the things we don’t say. We’ll do anything to avoid saying them, even (especially) within our most intimate relationships, within our families and within ourselves. In this way, we can keep our hardest truths safely in the realm of not real.

The way I see it, when difficult feelings are suppressed for too long it creates a kind of pressurized fermentation, like the distillation of a potent liquor. It’s when this pressure finally splits a seam in our defences and the liquor starts to seep out that this sticky metaphoric ooze, this emotional ichor, has the most powerful burn.

I was thrilled to find in this story a darkly beautiful and quite literal illustration of this concept. Static affords me a wonderful new opportunity to explore the effects of ’emotional ichor’ on a family – how it poisons, and how it can provide catharsis, and hopefully growth and healing, on its release.

About Tanya Lemke

Tanya Lemke

Tanya Lemke’s first job in the movie business was at the age of twelve, slinging popcorn at the local drive-in. Now based in Toronto, she has over 20 years experience working in the production trenches of this city’s vibrant film and TV industry.

As a writer and director, Tanya started with experimental short films at the Ontario College of Art and Design, and in 2005, graduated from the renowned Canadian Film Centre’s Prime Time Television Writing Program. There she created two television series: female-driven supernatural drama The Fates and diverse workplace comedy Security Complex. In 2016, Tanya attended the prestigious Corus and NSI Diverse TV Director program, first completing the rigorous bootcamp mentored by director Gail Harvey, then shadowing director Norma Bailey on the set of the hit CW series Reign.

Tanya’s first short drama Happy Pills aired on HBO Canada in 2010 as part of the anthology Little Films About Big Moments, after screening at respected film festivals worldwide. The script for her next short film Static, based on the story by award-winning UK author Robert Shearman, won the screenplay giveaway prize at the CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival in 2012.

The film, starring Canadian screen legends Eric Peterson and Yannick Bisson, has won awards at several film festivals: Best Actor In A Short Film for Eric Peterson at its premiere at the Canadian Film Fest in Toronto, Best Emerging Short Filmmaker at Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal, and Best Canadian Short Film at the Vancouver Badass Film Festival in Vancouver. Static was broadcast on the CBC in April 2017 and is now streaming globally.

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