A&E » Arts

The Last Cigarette lights Burbank agent’s fire



WSSF’s short film winner lands distribution deal

The butt doesn’t stop here.

The Last Cigarette, a short film about a smoker trying to quit, from Ryan Harris (who also stars), Lorna Carmichael (of Whistlers Cable 6) and Martin Prihoda (of Vancouver’s Mirrorball Productions) has found a distributor.

David Russell, sales agent at Big Film Shorts of Burbank, California, let the ink dry on an exclusive rights contract with the film crew this past week.

"What I liked about the film was the humour – although it’s definitely the hardest commodity to sell," says Russell, who will search new markets for the film this summer.

The Last Cigarette was shot, edited and produced in 72 hours during April’s World Ski and Snowboard Festival. It was the winning film from 24 entries in the inaugural Filmmaker Showdown.

"We accept and watch every submission we get. Part of our role is building relationships with future buyers," says Russell, who recently returned from Toronto’s Worldwide Short Film Festival this past month. He heads to Crested Butte, Colorado and Spain for the next set of conferences.

Big Film Shorts will sell The Last Cigarette without exclusive rights. The company is strictly in sales, leaving Web film streaming, festival promotion and marketing to the filmmakers.

The filmmakers couldn’t be more elated with the distribution deal. They say they plan to shop the film around at different festivals.

"It’s flattering, really. You don’t get a distributor contract every day," says Harris.

"Everyone who has seem it seems to have some sort of relation to it, even if they are not a smoker. And we like that it brings exposure to the Whistler area (because of the contest win)," he adds.

"It feels good, we’ll see how this one goes," says Prihoda, who has been making short films with his own production company for several years.

The distributor takes 35 per cent as sales agent for the film, with the remainder going to the crew.

"It’s also a good way to feel out (the film industry)," adds Prihoda, whose film Stutter, was screened at Pacific Cinematheque in 1999 as part of the Straight 8 independent films showcase.

Carmichael, who assisted with editing on the film, en route to the Banff Television Festival, could not be reached for comment.

The Last Cigarette was also screened in Toronto last month with the William Hurt vehicle, Rare Birds (an adaptation from Edward Richie’s novel), from director Sturta Guunnarsson.

The short film can be seen online at www.ifilm.com .

Add a comment