by shael stolberg for FILMbutton

At times she has been called the DIY Queen of Independent film and with her new film, Ingrid Veninger really lives up to that moniker not only in the creation of this film but it’s fundraising and distribution strategy which includes her indigogo campaign, festival screenings and special live score performances.

According to Veninger herself, as with many scripts over the year’s in cinematic history, her new film was born from a single image. Veninger states that ‘I could not get the image of Pedro out of my mind travelling in a red truck from the north of Chile to the south’ and hence we have this visually beautiful, quiet, engaging film He Hated Pigeons.

In essence, its one man’s journey to try and make sense out of loss and try to understand what truly happened when the facts are unclear. Being the film takes place in Chile and the partner was not only a foreigner (Canadian) and gay it echoes the past history of Chile’s many ‘disappeared’ and how ,as a person or country, one can deal with loss when no one really seems to know or want to admit what happened.

In recent years, their have been a lot of films with bigger budgets and story’s where the lead actor needs to carry the film and , at times, it may seem like just an acting exercise because the story does not hold up. Therefore, aside from the great performance(s) (P.T. Anderson’s film The Master may fall into this category) the film is ultimately unsatisfying. This is not the case with He Hated Pigeons.

Newcomer Pedro Fontaine gives a quite, yet engaging performance as the man who feels compelled to take a journey to deal with his grief, loss and, perhaps, guilt. Veninger makes sure to keep the focus on Pedro with only a few other characters in the film, one being herself which can be seen as serving two purposes 1. to keep the focus on Pedro and 2. to keep the budget down. As Veninger states, ‘ I was the cheapest actor available with a Canadian flag on my hoodie’.

The above is one of the many tidbits that Veninger states during her Q&A at the special screening of He Hated Pigeons w/ a Live Score Performance at the Hot Docs Bloor Cinema in Toronto on October 18, 2015.

If you want to see a film that encompasses the universal themes of love, loss and grief told in a cinematic vision with limited dialogue and beautiful but ,at times, haunting visuals, a live performance and ‘great’ Q&A check out He Hated Pigeons on the big screen, hopefully, at a theatre near you!

Shael Stolberg has previously written 3 books, moderated panels at film festivals, gave seminars at film schools, hosted a film based radio show, occasionally appears on HuffPostLive, works as a film & distribution consultant and, for full disclosure, presently runs & FILMbutton Follows….

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