An iPhone obsessed gym-rat overdoses on a muscle relaxant and makes an unlikely connection with a stranger.
Writer/director: Hannah Cheesman
Producers: Mackenzie Donaldson, Alexander Ordanis, Christopher Yurkovich
Emmy came to me at a time when my father was in hospitals and medical centres for long stretches of time. Not surprisingly upon watching, the film came in images first and story second. I think there’s a reason for this: as a filmmaker, I wanted to push into areas I was less comfortable with.
I tend to gravitate toward dialogue-heavy, quippy and comedic genres. So, Emmy was an attempt to create a world of minimal dialogue, nuance and visual storytelling. For me, this film was a master class in using beautiful and rich imagery to take advantage of filmmaking as a visual medium.
At its heart, however, Emmy is about how ‘true’ connection can change a person for the better. At the centre of the story we have Emmy, a gym rat whose obsessions are narrow at best. Emmy is not a person who will likely change the world, but – and here’s my personal thesis for the film – even the most mundane or problematic of people have the ability to change for the better. It’s a rather optimistic statement in the end, if not a simple one.
Of course, true to form, we’ve got a punch of comedy in the story. I can’t help myself! But it’s also one of my favourite beats in the film.
I learned a lot in making this piece and consider myself so lucky to have been able to capitalize on the now-defunct bravoFACT fund. With that fund I was able to take a chance and try something I might not have otherwise been able to, taking a diversion from what I consider to be my ‘norm’ or taste as a filmmaker.
In this experiment I was able to work with the likes of Amanda Brugel, Clare Coulter, Matt Murray and Ronnie Rowe; director of photography Catherine Lutes; editor Bryan Atkinson and countless other talents. I’m grateful for the opportunity and for the sweet peach of a film we created together.
About Hannah Cheesman
Hannah Cheesman is a CSA-nominated filmmaker, writer and actor.
Named a Playback Five to Watch and a TIFF Emerging Canadian Filmmaker, Hannah’s hit digital series Whatever, Linda is currently in development as an hour-long television series with Bell Media, alongside executive producer Graeme Manson (Orphan Black, Snowpiercer), and recently scooped up the top prize during Cannes’ inaugural ‘Canneseries In Development’ competition (2018).
Hannah has directed and written three short films (Emmy, Cheese and Brunch Bitch) as well as co-directing her first feature film, The Definites (Whistler, Cucalorus), and has written on such shows as Workin’ Moms and Find Me in Paris.
Currently, Hannah is writing her second feature film Boring Girls with Aiken Heart Films, and is developing her forthcoming 30-minute cable dark comedy, Badger, co-producing alongside Patrick O’Sullivan (High Dive Media) and with her own company, The Long Reach Company.