Humber’s first feature film Reign successfully reached U.S. theatres at the San Francisco Golden Gate Festival in February.
The award-winning Reign is about the powers that high school popularity and peer pressures hold over the friendship of two teen-age girls who have shared an intimate moment.
The relationship crumbles after the fleeting sex that was caught on camera is posted on social media.
The two friends have their lives completely twisted as Brooke, a popular girl, abandons girlfriend and experimental lover, Charlie, because she’s unpopular. One time buddy Brooke begins to bully her.
The film follows Charlie’s path in seeking revenge.
Reign is lead by two well-known Canadian-born actresses, Jordan Todesay, who’s had rich acting experience and plays Charlie, and Samantha Weinstein, who stars as the popular Brooke.
Weinstein previously worked with the co-executive producer of the film, Anneli Ekborn, on a film together 10 years ago. Ekborn’s co-executive producer is Eva Ziemson, the Film and Media Studies program coordinator at Humber College.
“Both Anneli and I are filmmakers and we really complement each other. I had to navigate everything related to Humber,” Ziemson said.
Recent Humber Film graduate Corey Misquita originally wrote the script for Reign as a short film until Ziemson advised her it should be a 70-minute feature.
Misquita said it wasn’t a difficult transformation.
“We were asked to write a short film and I made Reign,” Misquita said. “The Humber Community liked the script and it was voted to be made.
“I started to expand on details such as the characters, and Eva encouraged me to write Reign as a feature when I already was working on it as a feature,” she said.
Ziemson felt the short film couldn’t contain the themes being explored and advised her to change the direction of the film.
“The film was developed in second year, the script was written by Misquita and she developed it in a course that I teach in Humber College,” Ziemson said. “I convinced her to turn her short film to turn to a feature. It was a few years in the making.”
Reign began pre-production in early May 2014 and finished post-production during the May of the following year.
First Assistant Director Gino Sandoval said the film provided a grand learning experience to everyone on set.
“After the first couple days of production we learned to trust each other, and believe that we can do a great job on the film,” Sandoval said. “We had the best students and staff within the film and media program.“It wasn’t about skill, talent, or work ethic, it was just trusting each other, which was a learning experience for everyone,” he said.
Ekborn was confident during the post-production stage that Reign would reach American theatres. She said the themes of bullying and peer pressure would resonate with an American audience.
“I absolutely did, I knew it would be very attractive to the American market,” she said. “I’ve had many films make it to the States.” The film won two awards when it premiered at the Canadian Female Eye Festival on June 16, 2015. Corey Bizim won the Joey Award for best supporting actress, while Misquita won the Jury Award for Best Debut Filmmaker.
Misquita was amazed when she first realized the film will be shown in the United States.
“It felt really unreal, just to be able to play in the motherland of film,” Misquita said. “It’s weird to have people in other parts of the world such as North America that actually relate to the story and like it.”
Ziemson and Ekborn are currently talking with Avi Federgreen of Federgreen Entertainment on the distribution of the film through iTunes sometime in the next few months.