Artificial Intelligence hits the Kingston Canadian Film Festival

‘Den Mother Crimson’ was filmed entirely in Kingston

Image by: Curtis Heinzl
Branded to Film founders J. Joly

The vibrant film community of Kingston had five days filled with cinema over the weekend hosted by the Kingston Canadian Film Festival. Last Friday, Den Mother Crimson premiered at the Kingston Grand Theatre where the cast and production team walked the red carpet. 

The Journal had the opportunity to chat with stars Saad Siddiqui and Daniel Kash, as well as director Siluck Saysanasy  and Branded to Film (B2F) founders J. Joly and George Assimakoupolous about film in Kingston, AI, and what sets this film apart. 

“[Den Mother Crimson] shifted my perspective [on Artificial Intelligence] in a slightly more paranoid way; the questions and concerns we need to answer about this technology are endless,” Kash said in an interview with The Journal.

Having worked on the remake of Robocop, Kash valued Den Mother Crimson’s commitment to challenging the normative views of Artificial Intelligence in contrast to the dilution of the subject matter in other sci-fi movies. 

The film follows three scientists who have been brought onto a project without knowing what it truly is—what brings them in is a “handsome” payment. As the project unravels, the researchers are confronted with sentient of artificial intelligence.


The Journal‘s Rida Chaudhry interviews Saad Siddiqui on the red carpet. Photo: Curtis Heinzl

“The shortest scene in this film is eight or nine pages,” Saysanasy said.

“When working it out with the cast, it was approached almost in the sense that it was a play. For [the production team], we treated it more as achoreography—the camera was part of the scene rather than directing it.”

As the three leading characters get to know each other and the project, it becomes clear something more sinister is at play. This feature is the first of its kind to be entirely shot in Kingston by local production company B2F. 

Two longtime friends, Joly and Assimakoupolous, came togetherto fill a hole in the city with a vibrantcreative and film scene when they started B2F.

“Twenty-two years ago, we used to get together when we were juniors on film sets and talk about how to make movies with private investment,” Assimakoupolous said.

“I went off to become an assistant director in Toronto and [Joly]—like the entrepreneurial spirit he is—ran off and created a path for private investments in film.”

Joly is a Queen’s alum who ventured across Canada to work on film sets before ultimately finding himself back in Kingston, the city that got its hooks in him during his undergrad. 

Twenty years later, the two got together during the pandemic and knew it was the right time to start Branded to Film and explore high-concept genre movies. 

“I’ve shot movies in Toronto, Vancouver, Saskatchewan, Northern Ontario, but I’ve always thought that Kingston is the next great hub for Canadian film,” Joly told The Journal. 

“There’s a lot of young creative people, central location, and a love for film. Kingston is the absolute perfect spot for domestic film production in the future.”


AI, canadian film, Film Festival, KCFF

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