(Still from film / Courtesy of Joe Rule)

If you’ve been searching for an inspiring story of a young creative mind, look no further!

19-year-old Joe Rule is a local independent filmmaker, paving his way through the industry’s many challenges, all the while maintaining an upbeat and excited attitude. 

He just completed his first feature film, A Reel Heist — and it’s shot almost entirely in Victoria! 

In fact, Rule along with their production partner, Connor Nyhan, uprooted their lives in Vancouver in hopes of participating in the budget-friendly filmmaking community that Victoria offers. 

And with a production budget of less than $20,000, they were going to need all the support they could get.

(Left to right: Connor Nyhan (cinematographer/co-producer) and Joe Rule (director/co-producer))

“We were attracted to the giant community of people who love to do volunteer work on films,” Rule said in an exclusive interview with Victoria Buzz.

Luckily, Victoria is home to a highly-renowned program called the CineVic Society of Independent Filmmakers — an artist-run society that encourages and supports young filmmakers.

They implemented a credits system to support location productions, allowing for some flexibility in cost. 

“You can use credits to rent out gear…so that is very beneficial for a production that has no money behind it.”

Funding was not the only obstacle Rule highlighted. The overarching challenge was a lack of credentials and previous work that could be viewed by potential locations they were hoping to shoot in.

Rule talked about having to learn the lingo to prove that his team was operating at a high standard and were not just a bunch of rogue teenagers and young adults. 

“Getting anyone to take you seriously is quite a big challenge…especially [because] I was 18 years old,” Rule confessed.

(Still from film / Courtesy of Joe Rule)

Not only was it a concern when reaching out to filming locations, but also with his own crew at the beginning of the project’s launch.

“I had lied to the cast and crew, telling them that I was 20 hoping they would take me more seriously…I maintained the ruse until I told them post-production,” Rule laughed, and confirmed no one was disheartened by the news. 

The film was finished at the end of May and he’s now waiting to hear back from festivals — the team likely won’t receive word until mid-July.

(Still from film / Courtesy of Joe Rule)

“It’s a scary period in between…you can’t do anything, you’re just waiting to hear back.”

Rule and his team feel a huge sense of accomplishment now that it’s been completed and can’t wait to share it with their supporters and a wide audience of curious people.

“Once you put aside the fear of criticism and you’re confident in the project, and you put aside perfectionism, then you feel that it’s not a big deal to push through,” Rule said.

“You’ve gotten this far, you might as well finish and see it through.”

Rule describes the film’s plot as a homage to their frustrations when it comes to filmmaking, amplified by humour and the added drama of an elaborate crime.

(Still from film / Courtesy of Joe Rule)

“There’s a lot of humour in it…it’s a bit of fun. We hope if it gains any traction…that whoever [views] it will see that [we] do some pretty cool stuff.”

Rule also hopes that it might inspire people like his younger self, striving to make a career out of filmmaking and pushing through despite the difficulties and fear of rejection or disappointment. 

“You can accomplish a lot without a budget and without a lot of outside support.”

If you’re interested in checking out this major creative project, you can watch the trailer here:

Additionally, the film celebrates the innate diversity of Canadians — featuring trans, Indian, and Indigenous cast members, and LGBTQ2+ crew members.

If you’re looking for more information on  the minds behind this project, check out their Instagram and website.

(Courtesy of Joe Rule)

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