Following its World Premiere in September at the Raindance Film Festival in London, MAJOR ARCANA will have its North American Premiere, in competition, at the Austin Film Festival on Thursday, Oct. 25 at 8 p.m. at the Hideout Theatre, 617 Congress Ave. in Austin, TX.
MAJOR ARCANA is the first film for writer/director Josh Melrod, a successful editor whose previous credits include the Austin-based short film SKUNK, produced by MA producer Sarah Brennan Kolb and a First Prize Cinefondation winner at Cannes.
The result of their new collaboration is MAJOR ARCANA, an intimate, evocative film about Fate and the quest for Redemption, as well as a vivid depiction of the rural working class. The story, both universal and resonant to our uncertain times, reveals the struggles of Dink, a long-troubled, itinerant carpenter who returns to his home in the backwoods of Vermont and begins the desperate struggle to build a log cabin by hand, hoping in the process to prove to the people closest to him that he has turned his life around.
The cabin that was actually constructed over a grueling 22-day production schedule in the resulting 82-minute film is, in builder’s terms, known as a post & beam construction. This method of building foregoes easier-to-use nails in lieu of finely crafted mortise-and-tenon joints and relies on gravity to hold the structure together. This kind of construction also relies on skills and mindfulness on the part of the carpenter, leaving little to no room for errors. This methodology becomes a metaphor in Dink’s efforts to regain his core self.
In casting Barnard, VT-native and first-time actor Ujon Tokarski as Dink, Melrod says: “So much of the story involves the physical act of building a cabin, and I knew we needed an actor who could handle that. Ujon was the only person who not only had the experience of chopping down trees and dragging 600-pound logs through the woods, he wanted to do these things! More importantly he had life experience and scars that were so much a part of Dink!”
This subtle, nuanced and deeply moving film also revolves around rising star Tara Summers (Mercy Street, AMC’s Dietland), film and Broadway veteran Lane Bradbury (Scorsese’s Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, the original Dainty June in Gypsy). Tokarski, who actually is a carpenter in real life, plies this trade in a star-making performance. The film also benefits from an original song by Gary Lightbody of the band Snow Patrol.
Writer/director Josh Melrod, lead actor Ujon Tokarski and producer Sarah Brennan Kolb will be on hand for a Q&A following immediately after the premier. A repeat screening will be held Wednesday, Oct. 30 at 3:15 p.m. at Galaxy Highland screen 8 at 6700 Middle Fiskville Rd. in Austin.
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This film is produced by General Store Films, LLC in association with Tal Vez Entertainment.