The Broker

Maxime Labrecque

Artist Statement

My piece explores themes of the afterlife and greed through a surrealist narrative. I have sought to bring a world to life where the afterlife has been commodified. I approached world building through special effects, sound design, and performance to connote a grounded yet fantastic world to audiences. With this project and within the current restrictions of a pandemic world I developed an interest in monster design and practical effects. These have been incorporated in my character design and storytelling to explore the handmade quality of films from the past, as opposed to the digital effects that we are accustomed to.  

Logline

An afterlife insurance broker gets betrayed by his associate. Now, hunted by an other-worldly creature, he must either escape or face the consequence of his greed. 

Synopsis

The Broker enters his office and finds Mr. Banks, his associate, waiting for him. Banks takes an interest in the Broker’s latest client who has just passed away. The Broker seems uncomfortable with Banks’ curiosity. Banks proposes they play a coin game to pass the time, where they each take a turn to add a coin and the first person to overflow a cup of whisky loses the bet. Banks offers a valuable client in exchange for the soul the Broker has just retrieved. The Broker accepts the bet, and the game begins.

Unbeknownst to the Broker and Banks a creature hunts them in the night, trying to stop their for-profit soul collecting scheme. It is drawn to the Broker’s newest retrieval but cannot seem to get a beat on the two associates. The rings on the Broker and Banks’ hands protect them from being seen and tracked by the creature. As the gambling progresses, Banks’ true intentions shine through when he begins to question the Broker’s newfound success in the business of souls. The Broker laughs in Banks’ face, offering no answer to his questions and swiftly wins the gamble. As the Broker prepares to leave, Banks steals the protection ring from the Broker’s hand. The Broker leaves none the wiser, but is ambushed by the creature without his protection. The Broker escapes in his car, speeding through a remote forest while the creature pursues him, causing the Broker to crash into a tree.

Morning dawns and Banks sits in the office, believing that the Broker has perished. However, to his surprise the Broker returns, seemingly having survived his encounter with the creature. The Broker mocks Banks, who removes the rings in frustration, calling the Broker’s bluff. The Broker smiles as ghostly light washes over Banks’s face, revealing the true form of the creature.   

Cast

Mark James
Dean Dawson

Crew

Written, Produced, and Directed by Maxime Labrecque, Director of Photography Tamas McGillivray, Editor Maxime Labrecque, Art Director Tanvi Kapoor, Music Composer Lucas Raimbault, Casting Director Paige Hunter, 1st Assistant Director Anna Anaka, Nicolas Orska, 2nd Assistant Director Daniel Yoo, Supporting Cast Gord Parsons, Conceptual Creature Artist Flora Xia, 1st Assistant camera Hwa Pyung Lim, 2nd assistant camera Lauren Olson, Sound Mixer Kenny Welsh, Graham Connell, Re-recording mixer Doug Paterson, Sound mix studio Big world sound, Model maker Jean Labrecque, Grip Sam Bailey, Finlay Moylan, Medic Carol Hunter, Special Thanks Carlito Ghioni, Christine Stewart, Emily Carr Media Resources, Film, Media, and Screen Arts Technicians, Harry Killas, Lindsay Mcintyre, Tarique Qayumi.

Maxime Labrecque

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Maxime Labrecque is a Vancouver-based writer and director. After studying drawing and painting for 5 years Maxime transitioned his practice to media arts and has now directed 6 short narrative films exploring identity and ethics through a surrealist approach to writing and directing. The Broker is his most recent film and capstone project at Emily Carr University, and will be released May 2021.
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