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Skogland bound for Belfast

By Cheryl Binning, published on May 23, 2007

But before heading to Belfast in October, Skogland's focus right now is the world premiere of The Stone Angel, which was shot in Manitoba last fall with Winnipeg's Buffalo Gal Pictures. She hopes to premiere the film, about an elderly woman looking back on her life, at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Skogland is calling the picture her "breakout film," and says her distribution partners -- Odeon Films in Canada and HandMade internationally -- feel the $8-million movie will not only be a critical success domestically, but has huge international potential.

It features a well-known and bankable cast -- including Academy Award winner Ellen Burstyn (The Wicker Man), Dylan Baker (Fido, Spider-Man 2 and 3), Ellen Page (X-Men: The Last Stand) and Kevin Zegers (Transamerica). Furthermore, Skogland says the story itself is exportable.

"I did the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll version of The Stone Angel," she says. "I tried to stay true to the spirit of the piece, but I think I uncovered the passion that was bubbling just below the surface. I didn't take the precious approach. The film has humor and great sex scenes. The emotions are electric and the pace is relentless."

A test screening for general audiences in Toronto was "extremely positive," says Skogland, and a six-minute trailer screened at the AFM sparked the attention of several American distributors.

"We are putting a toe in the water and talking to one or two companies to see if they will come to the plate with a strong enough offer now," she says. "But if not, then we will go into TIFF without a U.S. distributor, knowing that the audience screening will be strong."