June 5, 2007
I was at the National Film Board last Monday for the screening and wrap party for this year's Hothouse (more on that later) and after more than a year of effort the stars aligned and I was able to stop by Martine Chartrand's office for a peek at her latest film, MacPherson.
Martine's been working on MacPherson since 2003, and doesn't expect to be finished for at least another two years. Part of the reason is technique—as with her previous film (the astonishing Black Soul) she works by painting on glass—but mainly it's because of the research involved. Inspired by a Félix Leclerc song about a black log driver, Martine has unearthed a history of Frank Randolph MacPherson that bears only a passing resemblance to Leclerc's song. It turns out that MacPherson, a Jamaican immigrant to Quebec, was in fact a good friend of Leclerc's and, as they used to say, a man of letters.
Martine showed me a test of MacPherson, and it looks as if she'll be sort of combining both stories—using the fictional MacPherson to tell the story of the friendship shared by the real MacPherson and Leclerc. As ever, the visuals are gorgeous, and I can't wait to see them fully realized and in motion. While I can't show any of that test footage, I did take a few photos of the MacPherson storyboard, and you can see some of Martine's reference images and concept drawings in the picture of her office above. You can click on all of the images in this post to see larger images with more detail.