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Pornographer’s Teen Lust

Blaine Thurier is certainly a prolific guy. Not only is he a member of Vancouver indie rockers The New Pornographers but when he’s not busy touring or recording with his musical family he makes movies — his latest of which will screen at the Black Carpet Gala at the Calgary International Film Festival.

“I’m really excited. I’ve never had a gala before” says Thurier during an interview ahead of the Calgary première of Teen Lust — perhaps the most ambitious of the filmmaker’s four features.

“I wanted to combine a teen sex comedy with something where (the characters) could have some sort of adventure as well” says Thurier of what may be best described as a satanic version of American Pie. “The higher the stakes the more exciting the story.”

Simply put the story revolves around an introverted high-school virgin named Neil (Jesse Carere) who sets out in desperation to pop his cherry after he discovers his Satan-worshipping parents have offered him up as a human sacrifice. Along with his horny best buddy (played by Daryl Sabara of the Spy Kids movies all grown up) the pair traverses Winnipeg looking for an easy score while being chased by cultists.

“The sacrifice motif is definitely something you see in ’70s exploitation movies and I haven’t seen it in a larger budget movie. It seems like a drive-in movie thing — which is fun and what we’re throwing back to” says Thurier. “One (early version) was a straight-up horror film but the premise is so ridiculous and ludicrous that it could only really work as a comedy.”

It’s also a premise rarely seen in Canadian indie cinema. Bold brazen and at times simply bizarre Teen Lust is bigger on scale than any of Thurier’s previous works which include the low-budget 2009 crime drama A Gun to the Head.

“The other films were all me sort of pulling myself up by my own bootstraps” says Thurier. “I would bring props to set I would find the music myself. I did a lot of camera work myself. On a larger scale you find that a lot of things are done for you and sometimes I didn’t know what I was supposed to be doing because people are rushing around reading my mind and doing things that I was used to doing myself.”

While Teen Lust may have allowed Thurier a few conveniences the comedy is ambitious for its still-modest budget. As much as the film developed over its dozen drafts ultimately the filmmaker settled on keeping the tone relatively intimate.

“I did do a version where we actually saw Satan and there was a big apparatus that involved this arcane machine that involved virgin blood that would bring Satan back to life and he would emerge as this monster… but it didn’t really work so well in a comedy so I just scaled it down because it felt more personal that way” says Thurier.

Essentially a side project to his duties behind the keyboards in The New Pornographers Thurier’s fascination with writing and directing keeps him grounded between the exhaustive and social atmosphere of touring — which the band is currently doing in support of the brand new album Brill Bruisers. Although it’s a much-needed break from the musician lifestyle writing movies definitely isn’t relaxing.

“I don’t find it easy at all. It’s a lot of sedate staring at a blank page full of self-doubt on a daily basis. You have to fight this doubt and just get words on a page” says Thurier who’s quick to point out that despite the challenges screenwriting is his favourite part of the process. “I enjoy solitude a lot. Writing’s very solitary but when that’s all over with it’s nice to go out and see people again. That’s when the music comes in.”

TEEN LUST directed by Blaine Thurier screens on Thursday September 25 at Globe Cinema as part of CIFF.

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