After a bad breakup, a seasoned wedding photographer decides to start shooting divorces.
Writer/director: Christine Buijs
Producer: Shannon Fewster
Divorce Photographer is a comedy about a wedding photographer and her inability to find happiness in relationships. It explores the flip side of relationships – breakups, anxiety and trust issues. My vision with this short film is to question our automatic assumptions about relationships – that they are the be-all-end-all of happiness – and turn that concept on its head.
Despite its comedic tone, Divorce Photographer comes from a personal place for me, and I’ve drawn on some of my personal experience to help guide the story and the actors’ performances. My goal has always been an honest humour – one that makes people laugh because they recognize some truth in the comedy and in the characters’ struggles. My hope is that we still feel real empathy for these characters, as much as we also recognize and laugh at our own plights in them.
The main reason I’ve written this film is because I’ve grappled with feeling like an outsider for being a mostly single woman in her late 20s. I find there are very few positive single female role models in the media – single women are often depicted negatively rather than positively. Many of the seemingly strong female characters still focus their lives around their relationships with men, despite being accomplished career women in their own right.
The character of Carla of course feels this way at first – though she is accomplished on her own, she feels like her life is not complete until she finds and marries the perfect guy. Her journey is one of discovering that perhaps she doesn’t need a relationship to feel complete and happy, and perhaps she can find fulfillment in her own passions, dreams and friendships.
I also think this is a confusing time for romantic relationships in my generation, as traditional marriage and family values erode and couples experiment with many different types of relationships. We no longer follow the cookie cutter ‘Go to college, get a relationship, get a job, get married, have kids, retire’ template. Relationships are varied and experimental and often confusing. We don’t really know how to define an ideal relationship any more. Divorce is quite common and becoming less and less taboo. This flexibility is a good thing but can also cause problems as people struggle to define their relationships with each other.
My goal with this film is to connect to the audience of today – the audience who has been through a bad relationship (or several) and had to overcome it to become a stronger person. The audience who has realized their quest for a relationship may in fact turn into a quest for self-realization, and that love can come from more than just marriage.
About Christine Buijs
Christine is a director of photography and director based in Toronto. She is a graduate of the Women in the Director’s Chair program (2013), was a recipient of NSI Drama Prize (2014) and a finalist for the Cayle Chernin Award in Media Arts (2015).
Her short film Divorce Photographer has played at numerous festivals including HollyShorts, Calgary and Whistler, and has garnered awards and attention worldwide winning the Special Jury Prize at the Canadian Film Fest in 2016 before selling to Air Canada and CBC.
She attended the Reykjavik International Film Festival Talent Lab (2016), and shadowed on season two of the hit Disney show Backstage. She is currently developing her first feature film. She is also a member of Women in Film & Television (WIFT) and an honorary member of Film Fatales Toronto.