Angst & ammo

Queen’s alumnus brings coming of age war movie to Kingston Canadian Film Festival

During the filming of Jason Lapeyre (above) and Robert Wilson’s movie I Declare War, real machine guns were used as props.
During the filming of Jason Lapeyre (above) and Robert Wilson’s movie I Declare War, real machine guns were used as props.
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Smaller is sometimes better, according to Jason Lapeyre.

The Queen’s alumnus and his co-director Robert Wilson are bringing their feature film I Declare War to this year’s annual Kingston Canadian Film Festival (KCFF), which runs until Sunday.

With their latest film, the co-directors are looking forward to airing their film to a tighter crowd of viewers.

“[The KCFF] really makes you feel appreciated as a filmmaker. There was lots of attention paid to us,” Lapeyre, ArtSci ’95, said. “There was a great little lounge where all the filmmakers could hang out and meet people. As wonderful as TIFF was, you really felt like a giant machine.”

While it’s Wilson’s first time at the Kingston festival, KCFF offers Lapeyre the chance to return to his old stomping grounds.

He recalled one instance when he got to have drinks with one of his old professors, Blaine Allan.

“It was a sense of full circle and satisfaction, getting to talk to [my former professor] about these movies I’d dreamed about as a student that came to realization,” Lapeyre, who completed a degree in film studies at Queen’s, said.

Lapeyre and Wilson’s film, which centres around a game of war among children in a forest, is a popular coming-of-age story told from a darker perspective.

“I thought it would be a cool combination to tell it in the form of a war story because when you’re at that age, your emotions are always very intense. When a girl tells you she doesn’t like you when you’re 13, it’s the end of the world,” Lapeyre said.

Using real machine guns as props, the kids and directors had an eventful summer shooting the film.

“It’s a smaller budget independent feature that’s outdoors with no rain cover for 20 days in the summer. So it was challenging all the way through for all kinds of reasons — but lots of fun,” Wilson said.

While airing the movie at this year’s festival in Kingston is exciting for both of the directors, Wilson said he sees this as a chance to escape from his day-to-day life.

“I’m super excited to get away from two screaming newborn infants and see as many movies as I can and maybe see a beer outside in the world,” he jokingly said. “Any movie without babies in it will be fair game.”

What’s most rewarding for both directors is the opportunity to keep pursuing filmmaking, a career that they both truly love.

“Once you try it, you either love and keep doing it, or you go back and work at the bank. It’s never really the same thing, it never really pays, it’s never really boring.”

The Kingston Canadian Film Festival runs until Sunday at various locations in Kingston.

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