Jailbait: a Canadian love story
Filmmaker Ben Sainsbury's latest project
MARK THOBURN | Mar 15, 2004
Filmmaker Ben Sainsbury is a creative contradiction. He's living in Los Angeles but is struggling to make a Canadian film. The Toronto native moved to L.A. to complete a master's of professional writing at the University of Southern California. While working on his degree, he has spent a great deal of time studying his favourite Canadian movies, including Kissed, Live Bait, The Sweet Hereafter and Videodrome. These quirky, often morbid, flicks influenced Sainsbury's own screenplay, Jailbait, a coming-of-age story in which a teenage girl falls in love with a fisherman who rescued her from a dumpster when she was a baby.
The writer/director scored a major coup when Peter Dinklage -- the American star of last year's indie hit The Station Agent -- agreed to play the fisherman. The dwarf actor's involvement in Jailbait has generated interest with The Station Agent's producers, who are hoping to repeat its success. "I have these assets that I've secured in Hollywood," says Sainsbury, 31. "But I desperately want to make a connection to the Canadian film industry. Canada has darker, edgy dramas, which is what I wrote."
Meanwhile, Sainsbury keeps racking up connections away from home. The soundtrack is a who's who of the U.S. underground rock scene, with Rob Trujillo of Metallica and members of the Queens of the Stone Age and Tool donating their songs free of charge. And Sainsbury has also joined forces with Austin, Tex.-based animators Jason Archer and Paul Beck, who've infused Jailbait with the lush arty look of the recent cult classic, Waking Life. On March 14, Sainsbury and the animators will be discussing their work-in-progress at the South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival in Austin.
But Sainsbury's goal remains the same. Bring his big-name, small-in-stature actor north and make Jailbait a Canadian affair.