The Bonner brothers are probably best known for their individual additions to New Brunswick’s music scene as the drummer for Right Shitty (Pat Bonner) and the guitarist for Cellarghost (Colin Bonner). Bad Noise, a short film created through Flourish Festival’s artist residency, is their first joint effort.
Alex (played by Motherhood’s Penelope Stevens) is a musician paralyzed by performance anxiety. After attempting, and failing, to sing during her band’s first gig, she recruits a wizened karaoke singer (Marc Bragdon) to front the band for her. Dissonance emerges as the rest of Alex’s bandmates struggle with the addition of this middle-aged muddled man. His albeit undeniable stage presence doesn’t change the fact that he really doesn’t get their music.
“[It started] at the Peel Pub on Union St,” says writer and producer, Pat. “There was this older man who gave a super exciting and heartfelt karaoke performance where he was almost like a prophet, and I was like, ‘He’d be good in a band.’ Then I thought that was a pretty bad idea for real life, but great for a film.”
“Pat asked me to put together music for the film sometime in mid-December,” shares composer, Colin. “He said that it was some movie about a twenty-somethings band with an offbeat and far-older frontman, some hybrid of goth and punk.”
The whole project came together quickly over last years’ holiday season. “The songs came supernaturally with originally five demos soon narrowed down to three, composed as brooding driven songs that Pat and I began working on when I came home to Saint John from Fredericton over Christmas.” By January, the band that would be cast in the film was already rehearsing and was ready to start shooting.
“I think the songs, shamelessly, are catchy and the instrumentation is idiomatic which helped the practices go as smoothly as they did. Penny, Jane, Marc, and Pat nailed them so fast. It is without a doubt relieving and uncomfortable to completely step back from my own songs and such a treat to hear other players’ personalities emerge while I enjoy a certain degree of anonymity.”
A labour of love, Pat received a lot of support from local musicians to complete the project. Most helpful was getting the Film Co-op on board as a sponsor, as they leant the film equipment that made this possible. On top of that, the film was co-produced by independent filmmaker Jillian Acreman, a Silver Wave Film Festival award winner . Cameos from local musicians, such as Jerry-Faye Flatt and Gavin Downes (Little You Little Me), are further evidence of the community effort in putting together the film.
“Michael Mohan, the D.O.P., suggested black and white after he read the script and we talked about it. I’d seen some of his black and white work before and thought it was great, so I was into it. I think it sort of gives it a timelessness, there’s nothing in the film that would suggest it’s NOT set in 2007. We also didn’t have much control over a colour scheme as we shot a lot indoors and on location, wherever would have us.”
With the song Worm already released through Bad Noise’s Soundcloud, Colin is working on recording an EP with the rest of the soundtrack. “This has been an amazing part of the process as its given me the chance to bring my home-tracked songs to life with vocals from the films cast and finally work with some pal producers Chris Maclean for drum recording and Dylan Ward for mixing both teaching me more than I could ever ask for.”
Bad Noise is having its second screening at the New Brunswick Short Film Showcase at Callahan’s Pub in Saint John on June 8th at 7pm. For more info click here.