He wanted to tell a hockey story, but Jeff Wheaton didn’t want it to be a film about the sport.
“I wanted it to be a mythology of hockey, and the whole sense of it as a fairy tale,” says the filmmaker.
“I am more interested in telling human stories; our relationships with each other and how we respond to each other.”
Wheaton is the director of The Lullaby of Mike Bossy, a short film airing on CBC television this Friday night. It is about a young girl whose dad wants her to be a figure skater but who actually yearns to be a hockey player.
“There is this confusion, because her older brother used to be a hockey player and then became a figure skater, so this is a story about the relationship between the father and daughter, and her trying to get him to understand what she values in her life.” The film stars Haley Burgess and Jenny Kirkpatrick, along with Thomas Cormier, Margurite McNeil, Drew O’Hara and Kathryn McLennan. It debuted at the Atlantic Film Festival last fall, and was part of last month’s ViewFinders International Film Festival for Youth.
Wheaton came up with the idea for Lullaby during a skiing trip with friends three years ago.
He and his friends were talking about tossing hockey cards, a kids game where cards would be flipped and the winning player would get to keep them.
“It was like card collecting, but it was almost like a currency,” he said.
“People would flip and toss them. But, once hockey cards had a value, once Wayne Gretzky came about, and a five or ten cent hockey card got a dollar value to it, people put a stop to the game.” It was the difference between the two views of playing cards — how young people valued them differently from adults — which Wheaton pulled from for the story.
“The card flipping game was a tool, an element to help me tell the story,” the director said.
“It was like the Titanic becomes an element for a love story.”
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