by Tom Sasvari, March 22, 2019
GORE BAY—Dylon Whyte was genuinely surprised when he found out that he had won the Best Actor Award at the recent Berlin Underground Film Festival (BUFF), which bills itself as a “new way of consuming culture.”
“I recognized the number on my call display as Jayson Stewart of Massey,” explained Mr. Whyte. Mr. Stewart is writer and director of ‘The Philanthropist,’ a crowd-funded independent short film which was shot in Gore Bay and Massey in the spring of 2018.
“We first met formally while I was volunteering in August of 2015 as a zombie in Jayson’s short film REZilience,” continued Mr. Whyte, who would later discover that Jayson had first seen him perform as Mitch Albom in ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’ onstage at Manitowaning’s Burns Wharf Theatre in 2008.
“At first I thought he was calling to discuss a role I have in his most recent independent production entitled ‘Overdue, a “pregnant” comedy written by screenwriter Marla J. Hayes which we will be filming next month in Massey,” said Mr. Whyte.
“It was either that, I thought, or a call regarding the documentary we’re co-developing about my father’s unique studio home,” Mr. Whyte said, explaining, “he then told me that he had some news to share before it ‘officially hit the internet.’ I was intrigued, puzzled and downright stunned when Jayson explained that I had won an acting award for my titular role as the Philanthropist.”
“I honestly thought I was being bamboozled by a clever practical joker,” admitted Mr. Whyte, but as he was about to discover, the accolade received from BUFF, which focuses on different, innovative and modern films and their directors, was real.
Mr. Stewart told the Recorder, “he spooked us in this film, he took the role and did things we were not expecting—he shocked us, which is exactly what you look for in actors.”
“I love that the BUFF website features Berlin’s diverse graffiti art while describing the city as independent, underground, cosmopolitan and most of all open,” said Mr. Whyte, continuing, “other than bragging rights, there was no other remuneration, gold statues or certificates associated with the award. I find this fitting for a crowdfunded project created by a collective of talented individuals. All of whom donated their time, effort and various skills because they love what they are doing. Especially since independent short films such as ‘The Philanthropist’ simply wouldn’t exist without the dedication of everyone involved.”
“Encountering support for independent passion projects such as ‘The Philanthropist’ is fantastic,” Mr. Whyte said with an enthusiastic smile. “It proves that anything is possible.”
Currently on the film festival circuit, ‘The Philanthropist’ made its world premiere at Sudbury’s Northern Frights Festival this past October and Mr. Whyte was in attendance. “It’s quite something to see your face on the big screen at a place like the Sudbury Theatre Centre, it’s almost impossible not to notice all your flaws,” he confessed with a laugh.
‘The Philanthropist’ was also an official selection and merit award winner at the Canada Shorts Canadian and International Short Film Festival 2018 held on December 15 of last year in St. John, New Brunswick.
“It’s amazing that makers of independent productions today have access to an entire world of festivals through resources such as Film Freeway which encourages and facilitates electronic submissions. When my father and I were first involved with film festivals in the late 90s and early 2000s things were far more complicated. Submissions often involved the laborious process of physically shipping hand copied video cassettes in a variety of formats,” Mr. Whyte explained.
On the only sad note, Mr. Whyte’s father, Gore Bay artist Jack Whyte, never saw the completed film. “Dad was always a fan of my acting, but the timing just didn’t work out,” said Mr. Whyte.
“He did however receive a humorously glowing review of my performance that left a proud smile on his face.”
“My goal is to remain humble through the accolades,” said Mr. Whyte, concluding thoughtfully, “in my experience awards come and go; real fun is found in the doing.”
To learn more about ‘The Philanthropist,’ as well as other productions from Laps in Judgment Films, including the upcoming independent comedy ‘Overdue’ (in which Mr. Whyte will be an actor) please visit www.judgementfilms.com.
“Our next project is ‘Overdue,’ a comedy which we will start filming in Massey in April,” said Mr. Stewart. “Marla Hayes is an award winning screenwriter and author from North Bay. Dylon is one of the four main members of the cast,” he said. The 15 minute comedy film focuses on pregnant couples. The comedy centres on a happenstance meeting in an obstetrician’s office between two very different, very pregnant couples.
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