Last September, a Filipina-led Canadian movie, I Propose We Never See Each Other Again After Tonight” had its theatrical run in Edmonton and Calgary. Directed by Sean Garrity, the movie is a romantic comedy about a Filipina girl and a Mennonite boy, and about love, and loss, and winter, and banana sauce.
The film had an ‘unexpectedly successful’ run - held over 10 consecutive weeks in Winnipeg; 7 weeks in Edmonton; 4 in Vancouver. It was screened in 17 cities at 19 cinemas. Last November, it was released online, on Rogers, Shaw, Telus, Bell, Vubiquity, Cogeco, iTunes, Sony, Cineplex, and Google. And at Hoopla, close to the end of December.
The film was directed and written by Sean Garrity, best known for his 2001 film Inertia, which won the award for Best Canadian First Feature Film at the 2001 Toronto International Film Festival, and Best Director at the 2001 FilmCan Festival, and his 2012 film My Awkward Sexual Adventure. His works have been selected in festivals in Toronto, Busan, Austin, Shanghai, Mannheim, Torino, Singapore, Melbourne, Mar del Plata, Taipei, Santa Barbara and Sao Paulo - and have been translated into 15 languages. Sean has been recognized for jury and audience awards.
I Propose We Never See Each Other Again After Tonight, is Sean’s 8th feature film. “I set out to make a Winnipeg movie and the Filipino community is important”, Sean explains. With a cast of 29, 20 of which are Filipino-Canadians, the film is a groundbreaker in its major representation of our cultural community in the landscape of Canadian films. Sean realized the gravity of this in the process of making the film.
When his regular casting director only had five Filipino actors, Sean scoured the city - asking his Filipino friends and teachers in high schools for potential Filipino actors; going to Filipino events, particularly Karaoke; and combing through groups and profiles in social media. And this is how he found Hera Nalam, the lead actress and whose debut performance is widely credited for the success of the film. Also in the cast is Andrea Macasaet, who went on to make her Broadway debut playing Anne Boleyn in the production of Six the Musical.
In order to provide a framework for authentic representation and depiction of the characters, Sean filmed Filipino events in Winnipeg (with permission, of course), allowed the actors to improvise in their scenes and with dialogue (speaking interchangeably in English and Filipino with no subtitling), and screening film clips to a test audience of Filipino immigrants and Canadian-born. To quote Hera Nalam in an interview with Winnipeg Press, “I like how Sean was very respectful of showing how warm but also how tough it can be in a Filipino household or the Filipino community where everybody seems to know each other.”
“You’d think that people would have had enough of silly love stories, but look around you and you’ll see it isn’t so. ‘Cause here they go again. And it’s wonderful.” - Chris Knight, National Post
“If you enjoy stories about culture and the complexities and hilarity that life can bring then please check this one out… If you enjoy realistic portrayals of love and relationships that, when all is said and done, emphasize happiness through the struggle I think you will really enjoy this.” - Emily Mody, CalgaryMovies.com
“...a stunning achievement for a low-budget Canadian rom-com. Freshman actors pull off this simple story of two strangers meeting and taking a chance on each other to turn this film into a sometimes delightful, sometimes heartbreaking examination of a young relationship.” - Film Gate Reviews
Sean credits the huge success of the film to the reception and support of the Filipino community across the provinces. This confirms the hankering for representation of Filipinos, who have generally been delegated to supporting roles and non-speaking parts, in the industry.
Some projects in the works are a drama, a comedy, and a musical, which will embrace both his roles as a musician and filmmaker. With this, he plans to work again with the Filipino actors, who majority have musical careers as well. Having started his film career through music videos, Sean is keen in using the visual language of music videos in this movie.
Sean Garrity, who set out to make a movie that would reflect his hometown Winnipeg, finished with a banner work of representation of the Filipino community in Canada. He is regarded as “kuya” in his Filipino circles. And this movie, I Propose We Never See Each Other Again After Tonight, has been propped up by Filipinos across Canada. We now have the opportunity to see this film in the safety of our homes.
This article was published in the December 2020 issue of the Alberta Filipino Journal.