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Babiarz returns home as headliner at FLIKS

Nelson Daily Staff
By Nelson Daily Staff
February 10th, 2011

Emerging Canadian filmmaker and former Nelsonite Michael Babiarz’s gritty and visceral Indie drama about the violent and drug addled underbelly of youth trapped in the mill town of Trail is one of the headlining films at this weekend’s Canadian FLIKS Fest.

The Nelson premiere of the award winning first feature film from Babiarz (and co-writer and director Soren Johnstone), Play With Fire, will be showing at Capitol Theatre this Friday at 9 p.m.

Coming home with a feature film in hand and to be headlining a festival is reason for celebrating, Babiarz said.

“We are so proud to be part of The Canadian FLIKS Fest in Nelson. It is a great festival that actually gives back to the filmmakers. We can’t wait to bring our film back to the Kootenays,” he said.

Play with Fire follows the unsettling life of 28-year old Christian. Having never left his small town, he wastes his days with meaningless activities and selling drugs to get by. His girlfriend, Melody, encourages him to come to the city with her in order to start over with a clean slate.

Just as she leaves, his longtime friend Joel comes back to town bringing with him a risky plan that will help him fatten his wallet. All Joel needs is Christian’s help. This is where a story of twisted loyalty, love and loss begins.

Play With Fire is an experiment in micro budget filmmaking. Using natural light, non-actors, and locations of the town, the lens captured something that was not only raw and visceral, but something beautiful; something that transcended its location and touched the audience.

The beauty and grit of Trail inspired Johnstone to tell this haunting tale. In 2006 he wrote the screenplay with the intention of producing a low-budget film. He teamed up with his longtime collaborator, Babiarz, and the pair set out on a mission to create the film with minimal gear and budget.

In May of 2007 shooting began, and carried through until July of 2008. The film became an obsession for the filmmakers who were determined to tell the story no matter how long it took, no matter the obstacle; nothing could derail this massive undertaking.

After shooting wrapped the post production continued for nine months. In June 2009 the film premiered in Toronto at The ReelHeART International Film Festival and was awarded Best Cinematography.

Since then the pair have set up a small theatrical release tour for the film and self released it on DVD which they are selling off the website

Doors open at 8:30 p.m. and the film starts at 9 p.m. This screening is rated 18+ due to strong language, violence and drug use.

Tickets: $10 or $30 for full fest pass available at the door or at Otter Books.

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