Local filmmakers are making waves with their breakout movie, Chesterfield.
Aptly named, Chesterfield is a movie about a couch. Much more than that, however, it is a movie about friendship, adventure and the opportunities that come out of saying yes.
Chesterfield takes audiences on a trip through Toronto. Lead character, Lewis, is new to the city and has found a couch on Kijiji to furnish his new apartment. When the only person that Lewis knows in the city is unable to help, he resorts to moving the couch from one end of the city to the other on his own.
From the kindness of strangers, the places he sees and the friends that he makes along the way, Lewis ends up with more than a couch, but a feeling of home in this new city.
The film was derived from a true story. Florence B, Director, says that when they shared an apartment with their brother, who suffered from a neurological disorder and was unable to walk, they found a perfect couch online.
“I had to figure out a way to carry the couch from downtown Hamilton to our home in the North end of the city,” said B.
B began imagining all the ways in which transporting their new couch could turn into an adventure.
“I loved the idea of carrying a couch across town. My imagination got away with me and I thought of all the exciting times that could be had; making pit-stops to visit friends, taking coffee breaks, inviting people to come sit and talk. I could imagine a whole day of good times.”
When B asked their friends for help, however, they weren’t interested in the adventure that could take place.
“I got nothing but negativity and I remember feeling so taken aback by their responses,” said B. “No one saw the adventure that could be had. You really find out who your friends are when you got to move a couch. That moment really inspired me to tell the story I knew existed.”
The team behind the film, which consists of local filmmakers Christoph Benfey and Gabriel Patti, launched Chesterfield on May 14 at Toronto’s Future of Film Showcase where they won awards for Best Film and Audience Choice. They also won an award for Best Film at Hamilton’s Fringe Festival this past July.
“We really didn’t know how well this film would do,” said B. “We put our hearts into it and just hoped that people would connect with our message. The response we got truly blew us away. People loved our film. Everything that we hoped to achieve with our film seemed to hit a home run with the audiences we shared it with. People approached us with amazing positivity. The reviews were outstanding.”
The team has submitted the film to other festivals to take place throughout the year, and will continue to submit the film to various festivals until next summer.
Chesterfield has also been selected for two upcoming festivals, including Toronto Independent Film Festival and the Toronto New Wave Film Festival.
“Having the opportunity to make a film with my best friends has been incredible,” said B.
“We’ve grown so much through this project and we’ve made so many amazing connections. I feel like we’ve found our footing and a place in the industry, and I’m so excited to see what we can do next.”