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Canadian writer and comedian Evan Rissi is on a mission: to rescue a friend from the clutches of a ruthless drug lord and underworld kingpin… in a movie, but not just any movie. Rissi wants his feature film debut to end up a cult classic, and possibly your favourite Canadian movie ever. Going In will be made by Canadians, set in Canada (like Canada Canada, not Canada pretending to be America), and with a little support from fans, funded by Canadians. We talked to the first-time filmmaker about what it’s like to make a movie here and why Canada deserves it’s own classic ‘80s action/comedy.
That’s an excellent question. We definitely have a problem in this country with Canadian content because people think a film or show has to “try to be Canadian” when that’s just not the case. There’s a way of thinking that in order for something to be Canadian, it has to be blatant and riddled with stereotypes: hockey, maple syrup, over politeness, etc. Is that what this country is really about? In my opinion, no… and this is a problem that’s being talked about a lot these days. What makes my film “Canadian”? The answer is everything. It was made in Canada, by Canadians, for Canadians.
I have a huge affinity for the ‘80s and always will, most of my favourite films are from that era. To make a long answer short, Canada never got a great action/comedy film like Lethal Weapon or 48 Hours… and I want to make one. It’s a film that this country needed in 1989 but never received. Plus, I live in Toronto and it’s the nation’s biggest city—it makes sense to have it here as an urban centre. A lot of classic 80s movies were shot here anyway, just under the guise that it was New York City or Chicago. A lot was happening in 1989: the Sky Dome was just being finished, the Jays were battling for their first AL east title, and Brian Mulroney was Prime Minister. We’re hoping to get Ben (his son) to play him in the film.
To be perfectly fair, this is my first attempt at making a full feature film. I’ve done a bunch of other things (web series, short films, TV pilots) but haven’t ventured into this realm until now. Filmmaking in Canada is unique because the majority of funding comes from the government, whereas Hollywood productions are funded by giant studios and corporations. In most cases, Canadian movies aren’t looking to make profit—whereas with Hollywood movies it’s their only objective. It’s unique because it’s so different in that regard.
It’s hard to list classic movies that are Canadian, because even if they’re written, directed by, or star Canadians, often times they were made by American studios and money. For example, David Cronenberg’s The Fly (1986) is fantastic and was shot in Toronto, but technically you can’t consider it Canadian. More recently, Denis Villeneuve’s Incendies (2010) was really great and Cube (1999) is a hilarious comedy that’s also 100% Canadian.