The psychological thriller, about hope, redemption and letting go, follows the story of two teens forever linked by a tragic shooting. With the shared event from their youth changing the trajectory of their lives, things threaten to spin out of control again when they reunite.
In this Q&A with director Juanita Peters, we find out more.
This interview has been edited.
Jared Peters and Sergei Radic, two teenagers from vastly different backgrounds become forever linked in a split second with the four-pound trigger pull of a snub-nosed 38. Eighteen years later, that single moment still reverberates when Jared Peter is released from prison for the death of Sergei’s father, a convenience store owner. Deeply regretful, Jared tries to forge ahead into a better life. Conversely, Sergei descends into an abyss of revenge-driven obsession. As the story develops both men must face their sins and each other; where one man might lose his life while the other his sanity.
Tell us about 8:37 Rebirth. What can audiences expect?
Audiences can expect to meet some truly interesting characters, all impacted by one event over twenty years prior. It’s a bit of a ride, and it will be interesting to see how much of each story resonates with viewers.
What attracted you to want to direct the film?
The first thing, of course, is Hank White and Joe LeClair. These two have been crafting and creating stories for a long time. I’ve been a huge fan of their work and their ability to stay “in the game.” If you do this work, you better do it with folks you really like because it’s a very long process.
The next thing that attracted me to it, of course, is the story. These are the stories that don’t get told, and if they do, the emphasis is often not on the totality of the event or issue at hand. As human beings, we all carry stuff. It’s what we do with that “stuff” that directs our paths.
What was your biggest challenge in making the film?
COVID, of course, was a major challenge. Making sure that everyone took all the precautions necessary to ensure the cast and crew were safe. We also have two children as cast who are too young to receive the vaccination. These are the things that keep me awake at night. Another challenge was securing locations to film. Most businesses were in lockdown or had very restricted uses.
What will surprise audiences the most about 8:37 Rebirth?
I think audiences will be surprised to find out that not everything is as simple as we would like it to be. Life is full of dominos.
What do you hope audiences walk away talking or thinking about after seeing the film?
First, I hope the audience will love the journey we take them on. Then I hope they are challenged a bit about the choices made by these characters as children and then as adults. What would you do? I don’t know if we really truly know what we would do until we are there at that moment of decision.
Now that you have your first feature film under your belt, what’s next?
I had the pleasure of directing an episode of Diggstown season three as well. That was also a major treat. I’m hoping to do more of this kind of work. I want to continue being a part of storytelling that impacts and opens the doors to important discussions.
8:37 Rebirth will be available online as part of FIN Stream from September 16 through September 23. The film will also screen in person at the Cineplex Cinemas Park Lane on September 17. Visit finfestival.ca for tickets and information.