Ashley Mackenzie’s debut feature film Werewolf, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, is a gritty story about a young couple struggling with a methadone addiction, and the lengths they go to for survival.
Mackenzie shot the movie in her Canadian hometown of New Waterford in Cape Breton, working with two newcomers as her leads.
“A basic approach we had was to put our lead actors — Bhreagh [MacNeil], a 19-year-old studying theater but she had never [been in a film before], and Andrew, who had acted in a short film I made prior to this, but he’s not a trained actor — into live environments as much as possible,” Mackenzie tells The Moveable Fest. ” Like when Nessa went to the Tasty Treats Ice Cream Shop, [in real life] the shop was open at the time, and while it was, we had her in the kitchen, we had [the employees] train her, and we just filmed it. We’re always searching for authenticity and on a micro-budget and shooting with this skeleton crew that we shot with, we’re blending documentary and fiction out of necessity. But also it’s the most interesting direction to go I find because you get a lot of really poignant stuff that you wouldn’t really get [otherwise].”
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