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WENDY ROSE: "A Fire in the Cold Season" sizzles

A Fire in the Cold Season" stars local actor Stephen Oates as Scott, an introverted trapper reeling from discovering a dead man's body, with Michaela Kurimsky playing the role of Mona, the soon-to-be mother of the dead man's child. This loss unites this unlikely pair for a wild and bloody adventure. CONTRIBUTED
A Fire in the Cold Season" stars local actor Stephen Oates as Scott, an introverted trapper reeling from discovering a dead man's body, with Michaela Kurimsky playing the role of Mona, the soon-to-be mother of the dead man's child. This loss unites this unlikely pair for a wild and bloody adventure. CONTRIBUTED

"A Fire in the Cold Season" hits the silver screen Friday,

Local filmmaker Justin Oakey is kicking off this month with exciting news regarding his latest feature film — “A Fire in the Cold Season” is coming to a theatre near you.

From Friday until Tuesday, Oct. 6, the film will be screening at the Mount Pearl Cineplex, its first leap onto a local silver screen.

Though “A Fire in the Cold Season” was featured at the 2020 Nickel Independent Film Festival, this year’s festival was delivered virtually, with audiences viewing from home.

“We work on these projects for years, and sometimes it feels like they are released against all odds, despite their small budgets, and niche content,” Oakey shared.

Justin Oakey is the director of “A Fire in the Cold Season.” CONTRIBUTED
Justin Oakey is the director of “A Fire in the Cold Season.” CONTRIBUTED

“It feels especially great to be able to show it in a theatre, even if it's a limited run — given what's on the go this year.”

It’s been a helluva year for filmmakers touring new works.

Oakey was invited to Reykjavík, Iceland, to premiere the film at the invite-only (no submissions) Stockfish Film Festival, but the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled his plans to attend. Still, a milestone was marked — “A Fire in the Cold Season” was the first Newfoundland and Labrador film to premiere at the Icelandic festival.

The 2019 film gets its official Canada-wide release today as well, available on-demand through iTunes and other video-on-demand platforms for local, national and international viewers, including any and all Icelanders who missed out.

The consistently sharp delivery of local language and accent never felt forced or faked, or hell, even acted — likely because the cast consisted of a slew of homegrown talent.

It’s a film that will especially appeal to lovers of all things Newfoundland and Labrador.

Set in Newfoundland, filmed in Conception Bay South, St. John’s, Avondale, Petty Harbour-Maddox Cove and Swift Current, and featuring local actors.

This thriller — which weaves together the story of an expectant mother (Michaela Kurimsky) grieving her recently dead partner and the introverted trapper (Stephen Oates) who found his body — features gorgeous scenery and clever use of locations one might just recognize.

For this reviewer, it’s the elements of the island that Oakey omits that leaves a lasting impression.

“A Fire in the Cold Season” could have had a completely different feeling, had the director opted for traditional jigs and reels tunes over an ethereal, haunting instrumental soundscape, composed specifically for the film by Finnish musicians Mat McNerney and Kimmo Helén of Hexvessel.

The stereotype of the jovial happy-go-lucky Newfoundlander is also left out of this film, and with good reason.

The conflicts and confrontations rarely employ any kind of humour.

The facial expression on "A Fire in the Cold Season" protagonist Scott Rose, played by Stephen Oates, encapsulates the intensity of this fight scene, which left the viewers wondering if the "good guy" was going to make it out alive. CONTRIBUTED
The facial expression on "A Fire in the Cold Season" protagonist Scott Rose, played by Stephen Oates, encapsulates the intensity of this fight scene, which left the viewers wondering if the "good guy" was going to make it out alive. CONTRIBUTED

Watching (Coyote) Terry Ryan stare down Scott (Stephen Oates) while gruffly saying, “I could eat you whole,” would have sent a completely different (and much less menacing) message if said with a smile.

The consistently sharp delivery of local language and accent never felt forced or faked, or hell, even acted — likely because the cast consisted of a slew of homegrown talent.

“I think "Fire in The Cold Season" is the first film to really deliver on the idea of Newfoundland Western, which is no surprise because Justin is so excellent at building these worlds of tension and dread out of the provincial landscape,” Nickel Film Festival’s Devin Shears said.

More than 150 Newfoundlanders and Labradorians ordered the film during its one-day festival stream, making it one of the Nicke’s most popular films of 2020.

I’m betting it’s going to be one of the most popular films at the Mount Pearl Cineplex this week.

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