Post-apocalyptic Ottawa film brings new perspective to global pandemic

(Ottawa film producer of Pragmatopia – Pixie Cram. Photo: Pixie Cram)

Pixie Cram is a live-action filmmaker and animator who lives in Ottawa. Her stop-animation short, Emergency Broadcast, created during a residency at the Diefenbunker Museum, screened at over a dozen festivals world-wide including Interfilm Berlin, Beijing Animation Week, and the Ottawa International Animation Festival. Pixie works as a freelance director, cinematographer and editor, in addition to her own art practice.

Around the time I began to write the script for Pragmatopia, an earthquake struck Japan and the Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown captured global attention. The timing of this event strengthened my desire to tell this story. I have wanted to create a film where the breakdown of society ultimately leads to a new paradigm,” shared Pixie Cram.

Pragmatopia, a post-apocalyptic film plays at Manitoba’s Gimli Film Festival (GFF) on Thursday July 23, 2020 at 6:30pm CDT and will be live streamed as part of GFF’s “From the Streets” shorts program. The GFF takes place from July 22 to 26, 2020. In the midst of COVID-19, the dystopian world of the film takes on new relevance, imagining another reality for when our current world as we know it becomes uninhabitable.

In Pragmatopia, two young women journey from the outskirts of the city to a radioactive area deep in the woods. Along the way they encounter a young drifter. As they travel together they are forced to confront their new reality and eventually experience a return to innocence. Take a sneak peek at the film’s trailer here.

“While many films in the post-apocalyptic genre focus on the darker side of humanity, I wanted to take a more optimistic approach with this project,” says Cram, who filmed Pragmatopia in Ottawa and the Gatineau valley with a local cast and crew, including many pro foragers. “When the travellers leave civilization, they do at first have to focus on their own survival, but once they embrace their new environment, they discover a world they didn’t even know existed.”

In 2008, Cram’s short film, The Factory of Light, was screened at GFF. Pragmatopia previously played at the 2019 Mirror Mountain Film Festival in Ottawa and Echo Park Film Centre in Los Angeles in 2018.

“Pixie Cram’s film presents a vision of a ruined future that is markedly different from current media trends in post-apocalyptic fiction. Instead of the usual fear, mistrust, paranoia and violence, Cram’s approach to the genre is an embrace of hope, community and the small joys of living simply. Although the film has its fair share of darker moments, Pragmatopia is a rare breath of optimism in uncertain times,” says Christopher Rohde, Director of Mirror Mountain Film Festival.

Written and directed by Pixie Cram, Pragmatopia features local actors Sage Wright, Matthieu Halle, and Katrina Bray. Cinematography by Ben Hoskyn. Sound by Kevin Komaranski. Music composed by Jeff Morton and performed by Heather Sita Black and Katrina Bray. Editing by Kara Blake. Costumes by Jo-Ann Oosterman. Original Artwork by Carl Ruttan.

The filmmaker adds that she is grateful for the support of the Ontario Arts Council, the Canada Council for the Arts, the City of Ottawa and SAW Video Media Art Centre.



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