Thursday, March 5, 2015

Mavis In "The Sixth"

I am currently co-starring in a gloriously-unique independent feature film in production here in Toronto.

The movie is called Love in the Sixth and it's the off-beat, grassroots brain-child of my favourite lady-friend, Judith Klassen. Jude is the writer, producer, director, and star of this feature film and she's an inspirational and collaborative talent to work with.

Love in the Sixth is a film described by Jude as "a character-driven musical comedy, a love story, an environmental angst story, a cheeky fearless indie adventure with kick-arse muthafucking songs".  The film is produced on a low budget, and it's beyond impressive how she makes it work.

Judith Klassen and the female cast perform "Fucking Love" (Klassen/Ettinger)

Love in the Sixth's soundtrack features original songs composed by Judith Klassen, Asher Ettinger, and TC Folkpunk, with additional tracks from Natasha Nouveau and Collette Savard-- and they are real gems. It was an honour to pepper tracks such as Fucking LoveHere from the Future and Mancation with my background vocals and British-inspired punk rantings.

As an advocate to dance like everyone is watching, I contributed my moves and choreography to a few scenes.  The incredible task of directing a shoot for the final musical number starring the entire cast required my booming voice and my natural love for leading.

Baby & Mama Bird (Laura Lind) in front of green screen

I stuffed my petite body into the costume of "Tar-Sand Baby Bird" for the video shoot of my personal favourite music number: Dirty Lies, a duet with Jude and famous environmental activist John Lefebvre. It's a riot of a music video with costume design by Mama Bird, Laura Lind.

The female cast and director of photography Rob McGee

The cast encompass the non-cis/cis gendered straight, bisexual and gay men and women, the bi-racial, the realistic body type, the wig-wearers, the ambiguous, the small, the tall, the children and youth, and the main characters are all mostly over the age of 40.

And we are all damn interesting and have a voice.

You can read my performance bio here, but in a nutshell, I met Jude at the schoolyard, we hit it off, she cast me in her upcoming movie as a small bit actor (probably amazing woman at a party #2) and then she saw something big in me. She re-wrote the script and made me her character's bestie. We have been rolling with that ever since.  I play Mavis to her Dani.

We invented Mavis based on ....well, me.

And there is homage to the famous Euro-Canadian short-story writer, Mavis Gallant who was a hero to the single woman's rights to independence (with apparently an amazing ability to separate love from sex).

Canadian author, Mavis Gallant

In the Sixth, wise and witty Mavis is a divorced, single, working mother of two young boys. She's a vibrant, cheeky polyamorous feminist whose position in the storyline is to fluff and pump up the hero's motivations and development. 

Mavis fucking rules!

Aesthetically, she rocks edgy short hairstyles, goes without and with a face full of makeup, and because of all the rad outfits I have in my closet, Mavis gets to be dressed in all kinds of funky.

Mavis is in a sexual relationship with two men at the same time (who are brothers) and she likes it very much. OK, that part is a bit of a stretch for the real me, but the idea came comically and Judecast decided to go with it. One brother gives Mavis depth, the other is a fun fuck. Both brothers care deeply for Mavis. 

Mavis longs for true love and intimacy for optimal survival just like everybody else. But will young Mavis reach out and take it?

A scene shot in my apartment with Jason Butler as my lover

The friendship between Mavis and Dani is an absolute organic development of the real-life behind-the-scenes chemistry between us. Those laughs, tears, and super-tokes are real -- so voila, a script was born! We often went off-road with the script, having no hard-and-fast rules.

Dani and Mavis talk sex, motherhood and mental health

Mavis is an interesting counterpart to the interesting female lead -- She teaches her favourite female friend to follow her Feminist Buddhist approach: "Do no harm but take no shit."

Ultimately, Mavis is written as a character who holds the key to her own happiness. She is free to be sexual without being called a 'slut' and free to get angry without being called a 'bitch'. Her choices are driven by her and not the fate and circumstance of her male counterparts. When the shit hits the fan she REACTS and does IMPRESSIVE things.

Mavis brings sex-positive feminism to the Sixth

To read more on Love in the Sixth and to stay in the loop on the upcoming release date, visit Jude's Blog!

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