Blackbird (2012 film)
|Directed by||Jason Buxton|
|Written by||Jason Buxton|
|Running time||103 minutes|
Blackbird is a Canadian drama film, released in 2012. Written and directed by Jason Buxton, the film stars Connor Jessup as Sean Randall, a socially isolated and bullied goth teenager who befriends his "puck bunny" classmate Deanna (Alexia Fast), but is falsely accused of plotting a school shooting after he makes a threat against Deanna's boyfriend in an online chat.
The film's cast also includes Michael Buie, Alez Ozerov, Craig Arnold, and Tanya Clark.
Sean Randall (Connor Jessup), a goth teenager, is a friend of classmate Deanna (Alexia Fast) (they daily ride the same bus). Her boyfriend plays in a hockey team, and she is friends with the members. Sean's father has a gun collection. Sean sometimes joins him when he goes hunting. One day he films a deer slaughtered by his father, and shows this to his schoolmates, which, in addition to his goth look, makes them think he is creepy. One day the members of the hockey team bully Sean for being weird and for being friends with Deanna. Sean is angry. His teacher advises him to write down his feelings. He writes a revenge story and publishes it on internet; it is about using his father's guns against the hockey team and Deanna, although he has no real intention to harm anybody. He is put in juvenile jail, where inmates also bully him, especially their leader Trevor (Alex Ozerov), who has been longest in jail, after years ago killing a man playing Santa Claus who seemed to have pedophile interest in him. Sean is hurt for lying about why he is in jail, the others steal part of his food, and he has to return the ball all the time when Trevor plays ping pong with one of the others. Tired of the latter he crushes the ball, after which Trevor threatens to kill him. Therefore Sean deliberately commits an offence (withholding some cutlery) to be put in the isolation ward.
To be released from the jail sooner, he reluctantly follows his lawyer's advise to plead guilty for really planning a school shooting, even though he did not. He is indeed released, under the condition that he does not have any contact with Deanna or the hockey team members. He avoids a goth look now, but the people still consider him weird and dangerous, and his car is vandalized.
He violates the condition of having no contact with Deanna, and is arrested again. With his father's support he decides to dismiss his lawyer and tell the truth, after which he is sentenced for perjury in the previous trial. He is returned to jail, where Trevor uses a henchman for a murder attack on Sean, which fails. It is around Christmas, which makes Trevor uncomfortable. Sean angers Trevor by suggesting that the Santa Claus he killed might have thought that Trevor looked gay. This results in a fight, and both are put in the isolation ward. Trevor is still very angry and hurts himself, causing increasing measures by staff. Sean is relieved that Trevor is no longer in a position to bully him. One day he does not have to stay in the isolation ward any longer, but prefers and is allowed to stay while Trevor is still there. Sean begins to feel sympathy for him, and they reconcile.
Awards and nominations
The film garnered two nominations at the 1st Canadian Screen Awards, for Best Original Screenplay (Buxton) and Best Editing (Kimberlee McTaggart). The film was also a co-winner, alongside Brandon Cronenberg's Antiviral, for the Best Canadian First Feature Film award at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival. The film won three awards at that year's Atlantic Film Festival: Best Atlantic Feature, Best Atlantic Director, and the Michael Weir Award for Outstanding Atlantic Screenplay (sponsored by the Michael Weir Foundation for the Arts). and Vancouver International Film Festival award for Best Canadian Feature Film.
- "TIFF Preview #1". Cinemascope.
- "Chester filmmaker wins TIFF award for Blackbird". The Chronicle Herald, September 17, 2012.
- "Winners of the 32nd Atlantic Film Festival announced!" (Press release). Atlantic Film Festival. 2012-09-20. Retrieved 2013-03-04.
- Nemetz, Andrea (21 September 2012). "Blackbird continues to soar with three AFF awards". The Chronicle Herald. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
- "Blackbird director Jason Buxton earns Claude Jutra Award for debut film". Toronto Star, January 29, 2013.
- "Blackbird director Jason Buxton wins first-film honour". CBC News. 29 January 2013. Retrieved 30 January 2013.