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Vanessa McMahon

Vanessa is a novel writer, screenwriter, rep and a film producer. She shares her discoveries and film surprises. :-)



Interview with American Canadian Screenwriter, Filmmaker, & Entrepreneur Chadwick Pelletier @ 76th Annual Cannes Film Festival

Interview with American Canadian Screenwriter, Filmmaker, & Entrepreneur Chadwick Pelletier @ 76th Annual Cannes Film Festival

Chadwick Pelletier is an award-winning American Canadian screenwriter, filmmaker, and entrepreneur. As a WGA screenwriter, Chadwick has written, optioned, and sold film and TV content at the highest level in the industry. His work as a director and producer has earned him numerous awards, including the coveted Golden Eagle statue at San Diego International Film Festival for “For Blood” (2015) and two Red Poppy Awards “She Will Be Loved” (2017).

In 2017, Chadwick founded the DaVinci International Film Festival, which hosts an annual event at AMC Theatres, The Grove in Los Angeles, and is ranked among the top best reviewed festival platforms in the world. Chadwick is also the owner and CEO at Veritas Film & Television with offices in Los Angeles, California and Vancouver, British Columbia.


You are an actor, director, producer, and writer. Did you always know filmmaking is what you want to do?

CHADWICK: Not at all, in fact. I was a late bloomer. Growing up, I had my heart set on the Olympic stage as a competitive ski racer and martial artist. I was consumed by both for nearly two decades, but ultimately was never fast enough (in either discipline). I got close though …

Hollywood came into the picture in the late-90s.  I had decided to act on a dismissed fantasy of being in film and television despite zero knowledge of the business and packed up for Tinseltown. If Van Damme could do it, surely, I could. Or at least my ego thought so. I’ll never forget driving up to 1601 Venice Blvd. with my life in the back of a 4Runner — a country kid in a big city — eager to make my mark on the town. I had a new roommate, pager, and a few bucks for gas, though fueled by hope and excitement of what could be — unfortunately two of the first things to go after chasing the proverbial Brass Ring for an extended period.

I won’t bore you with the details of grinding it out in the business, but I will say there was a natural evolution of actor > writer > producer > director. And it wasn’t because I couldn’t or didn’t work as an actor, in fact, I did quite well early on, it was because I wanted more ‘control’ of my career, and what better way to do that than to make your own movies. I soon fell in love with screenwriting, and in time, went on to produce and direct, after all, writers are the closest to the story, so putting those words in the frame lines felt natural.

When you begin to create from start to finish the way we do as independent filmmakers, there is an intrinsic value, fulfillment, and purpose that (for me) hasn’t found its equal, save being a family man which is the driving force behind it all. It’s the closest I will ever get to birthing a child and is beautifully complex, challenging, and satisfies a deep need to be heard in all the right ways.


You've worked on multiple short films and TV series. Do you have something you are most proud of working on?

CHADWICK: I’m proud of most of my work, although we all have those projects that are pushed deeper on the shelf and chalked up to the learning curve. I pride myself, however, on putting in the hours to deliver strong material. I can only play at the level of my practice, which is why I keep working and aim to learn a little something from each film or script. But to answer your question, I am very proud of a lot of work that has yet to see the light of day — film and TV scripts that (God Willing) will find traction in time — but as for a published, locked-picture work, I would say my short film, “For Blood”.  This project was loosely based on an experience of mine, and filming it was every bit of what I had hoped for when I moved to California all those years ago. A collective film family of brilliant, fun, full-of-live, Creatives just wanting to make a kick ass movie. And we did. All the awards, including the Golden Eagle statue from San Diego Int’l Film Festival will always play a distant second to the actual making of that picture in my book.


Living between LA and Canada, does it make it easier for you to be a filmmaker living between both worlds?

CHADWICK: Easier is a tricky word. Nothing about working in this business has been easy per se, but having the dual citizenship is nice and certainly creates opportunity — Vancouver has a booming industry and as a sidebar, we’re excited to be hosting an all-new Film Canada event at DaVinci International Film Festival this year to discuss the incredible opportunities including tax breaks, production, and locations to film in “Hollywood North”. As for me, personally, it’s nice to create and develop properties that I can market to both countries with slightly ‘easier’ access.


You have a production company, Veritas Film & Television. Can you tell us about that?

CHADWICK: I formally launched Veritas Film & Television (VFT) after the WGA strike in 2007-08 when I was developing and producing unscripted content for major networks. We later expanded our slate to include narrative features and TV content, which is primarily what the company does today. VFT also operates as a holding entity for a few other brands, a multimedia division, and trademarks.


What kinds of stories do you look for and that inspire you when you take something new on?

CHADWICK: I look for (and create) stories that pull at the human condition. Narratives that are driven by complicated, messy, tortured, and engaging characters that are beyond broken and ready for repair — those who can be embedded into virtually any environment (story/genre) and beg audiences and readers for empathy.


You have won awards for your films called She Will Be Loved” (2017) and For Blood” (2015). Can you tell us about those?

CHADWICK: “She Will Be Loved” was a passion project with a strong call to action for those who suffer from wartime PTSD. I have a huge heart for the men and women who serve and sacrifice for our country and our freedom. This picture was for them. Among several awards and screenings, the film picked up two Red Poppy Awards and continues to serve the community. “For Blood” was a 10-minute western fantasy picture that played with the juxtaposition of a Wild West poker game — what happens above and below the felt as our characters stoically played their hands while prepping for battle just inches below. The short went on to win several awards including the coveted Golden Eagle from the San Diego International Film Festival.


You founded the DaVinci International Film Festival in LA. Can you tell us about this festival?

CHADWICK: DaVinci International Film Festival (DIFF) is the birth child of two decades in the entertainment industry and extensive work as an entrepreneur and creative director in brand development. I had been in the industry for a long time and had a good amount of experience in the festival circuit with my films and scripts. I enjoyed screenings and awards, but my career never really scaled coming out of a festival, and I was interested in changing that for the independent film community. My goal is and was to stay small with a heavy punch by delivering a high-end boutique festival, where our Selections would be known and celebrated — different from screening your film in front of audiences with little-to-no follow-through like many others.

It was important for our filmmakers and screenwriters to be known, not only for their incredible work, but as humans behind the work. This is even more important today as AI enters our conversations. The connection as creative humans have and always will be, part of our ‘secret sauce’ as festival owners; having been on both sides of this business I am intimately familiar with what it takes to get something on screen. And then we party and introduce them to movers-and-shakers in the business who can support future works. DaVinci isn’t a numbers game, it’s a people game.  And our family is growing.


Why are film festivals so important in the distribution life of a film?

CHADWICK: This is an easy one: film festivals are one of the only platforms available to independent creatives where a filmmaker or screenwriter can present their work to people who can change their career overnight. Period.  


In your opinion, why is it so important for industry professionals to attend markets like Cannes every year?

CHADWICK: Knowledge is power, and film markets like Cannes have their finger on the pulse of our industry. They are the industry. And if you want to be in the know with market trends, content — what’s selling and what’s not — new tech funding, AI and its play in the sector, or any other cutting-edge developments in our industry, markets like Cannes offer a highly-concentrated education. Separately, but equally important in my view, is socializing and meeting new people. I’m going to trademark this, so don’t steal it ;) but here’s a big hint for your next Cannes Film Festival trip. “Queue to the Loo” … it’s where most deals are made. 


What are you working on next?

CHADWICK: As a serial entrepreneur, this is a loaded question, but I’ll stick with the headliners: DaVinci is hosting its 6th edition this coming October 20-22 at AMC, The Grove, so that’s keeping us incredibly busy. I’m also writing a lot and prepping a slate of film and TV projects to go out on the flip side of the WGA strike. One project is taking me outside of my wheelhouse as an action-crime-thriller writer, and into a period drama, so that has been good therapy. I’m also hoping to go into production on a 12-cylinder fan film this summer, which we will be showcasing at DIFF later this year. And finally, I am in the early stages of writing my first novel. 

Interview with American Canadian Screenwriter, Filmmaker, & Entrepreneur Chadwick Pelletier @ 76th Annual Cannes Film Festival

Interview with American Canadian Screenwriter, Filmmaker, & Entrepreneur Chadwick Pelletier @ 76th Annual Cannes Film Festival

Interview with American Canadian Screenwriter, Filmmaker, & Entrepreneur Chadwick Pelletier @ 76th Annual Cannes Film Festival


Interview by Vanessa McMahon


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