At this week’s Frontières Market with buzzy project “Worm,” Montreal-based Type One Films will produce the sequel to 2022’s “The Diabetic,” with director Mitchell Stafiej back at helm.
Playing Fantasia last year, “The Diabetic” was well reviewed by most critics who caught it.
“It was one of the few Canadian films about disability made in recent memory. It not only explores disability thematically, but looks and feels ‘disabled’ as well: Shot with Hi8 cameras and transferred to 16mm,” Stafiej said.
“I realized, after watching it a little while ago, that I am not quite finished with these characters. I’m very curious about where they might end up if they see each other again. I also think that Matt [played by Travis Cannon] deserves some more attention and development. The first film is all about what Alek wants. But what about Matt?”
In “The Diabetic 2,” Alek (James Watts) and Matt go on a cross-Canada trip to connect Matt with his newly single love interest, while Alek plans to make a documentary about their expedition. Maica Armata will also return as Becca.
“[It will have] the same main characters but be a bit wider in scope, more ambitious and more chaotic,” explains Stafiej. Also mentioning the likes of Ti West’s “X” trilogy, Richard Linklater’s acclaimed “Before” series or “Uncle Kent 2.”
“I am really interested in the idea of indie sequels. We are used to blockbuster sequels, but why should these stories be the only ones we can follow over a long period of time? If I care about the characters, why not check in to see where they are a few years later?”
For Stafiej, who also suffers from type 1 diabetes, it has been a personal journey.
“It was about time to make a film that would explore my relationship with my disability. It was so important, in fact, that almost all the films I am hoping to make in the future will deal with similar themes. It’s important to try and fill the space where you feel representation is lacking,” he admits, calling the first part “one of the highlights” of his life so far.
“I haven’t had an experience like that in cinema before. I think everyone on set had a similar feeling. There is something a bit selfish about this decision to make a sequel. [It was like saying:] ‘Let’s get that feeling back. Let’s reunite’.”
At the moment, Type One Films is also busy developing “Workers Leaving,” a “21st century reimagining” of a pioneering short black-and-white silent documentary by the Lumière Brothers “Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory in Lyon.”
“Whether they knew it or not, they took a poignant snapshot of the working class in 1895. How has work evolved? In what insidious ways are workers still exploited?”
“It’s a film that takes their idea, an image of workers leaving their job, and extends it all around the world and into a feature film,” he stated.
The company will also present a new project “Worm” at Frontières Market.
Directed by “The Diabetic” star Watts, it focuses on a former teen star who swallows a tapeworm in hopes of losing weight ahead of her return to the big screen. But the worm begins eating away at her sense of reality, making her ravenous for food, fame and flesh.
“It’s an intense, gory body horror film conceptualized through a feminist lens,” assured co-writer and co-producer Kelly Kay Hurcomb, describing “Worm” as “violent, disgusting and deeply cathartic.”
“The film also has a good sense of humor about it, like a lot of the great psychological thrillers from the late 1970s or early 1980s. We have written a dangerous and compelling protagonist: it’s the kind of role you don’t see very often. We can’t wait for the right actor to make it their own.”
“I keep pushing Kelly and James to go as graphic as they can be. Some of the imagery will be horrific and disgusting on a purely biological level,” promises Stafiej.
“I’m very excited to make a horror that’s uniquely Canadian.”