Updated: Jan 24, 2020
February's Dog starring and created by,
PAUL J. CHINOOK IS BREAKING THE STIGMA OF MENTAL HEALTH AND BRINGING AWARENESS FOR ALBERTA OIL FIELD WORKERS AND PEOPLE IN CANADA
PHOTOGRAPH BY BRYCE CHINOOK
The film stars Paul J. Chinook, Quinn Teechma, Kevin Davey, Will Webster, Sarah Wheeldon, Dan McDougall, Doug Wilson, Felipe Paredes and more.
Chinook has been in the Calgary television and film industry as an actor and writer since 2013 and wanted to take that next step.
“It’s really challenging as a Calgary or an Alberta actor to land those auditions, because nine out of 10 the production already has a Vancouver or a LA actor established for that role before you even go in there.” I started writing this story to keep busy and what a topic it was to write about. So many people have gone through this, losing their job in the oil field.”
“It’s got a very strong mental health aspect to it. We watch two of the characters go through some extremely challenging situations and sadly are far too real in Alberta right now with losing work and struggling and bills piling up.”
He has written five screenplay ideas and this is the first one that went into the production.
“It’s kind of all been surreal,” shares Chinook. - Regina Leader Post
A FIRST LOOK AT FEBRUARY'S DOG
February’s Dog takes place in Alberta in modern time and is set against the beautiful and iconic back drop of the Canadian Rocky Mountains under a shroud of winter snow. It follows 2 uniquely different, yet typical men. Dale Walters, played by Paul J. Chinook is a very charismatic and lighthearted man that works hard to enjoy a life of adventure and excitement.
Nigel Loggins, played by Kevin Davey is a military veteran that is quiet and calculated in his approach towards life. The film opens with these two men as they are finishing up work on a Friday. They get called into the office at the end of the day and are laid off by their boss Arthur Newbury, played by Doug Wilson; a very clean cut, to the point, middle aged manager. They are told abruptly by Arthur that this is just temporary, and that they will be back at work in 3 months as soon as market oil prices recover.
LAST DAY OF SHOOTING FEBRUARY'S DOG WITH MOST OF THE CAST AND CREW
Starring and created by Paul J. Chinook as (Dale Walters Writer/Producer), also starring Kevin Davey as Nigel Loggins, Quinn Teechma as Emily Walters, Doug Wilson as Arthur Newbury, William Webster as Jedd Wilson, Sarah Wheeldon as Kate Carter, Jill Maria as the Store Clerk, Sheridan Peirens as Tamara, Dan McDougall as Pastor Frank, Felipe Paredes as Jimmy Walters, Scott Dumas as Fertility Doctor, Stephanie Wilson as Marv’s Diner Waitress and Marianne Hutchings as Nurse Jean.
Production: Jose Luis Gonzalez Cinematographer, Directed by Candace Gonzalez and LnC STYLE as the 1st AD. Paul De Toit Schreve Sound Technician, Camera Operator Derek Wilder and Mardell Chinook Executive Producer.
February's Dog Directed by Candace Gonzalez and created by Paul J. Chinook, will be in Alberta theatres this year. Stay tuned for the trailer!
KEVIN DAVEY AND PAUL J. CHINOOK
Dale (Paul J. Chinook) and Nigel (Kevin Davey) leave and begin their own unique journeys in the world of unemployment. The Alberta economy turns very bad and the downturn lasts longer than anyone anticipated.
FIRST TABLE READ FOR THE CAST
Dale and his wife Emily Walters, played by Quinn Teechm, live out in the country on a beautiful property. Emily is the brains of the family and takes great joy in caring for her man child Dale when she is not verbally sparring with him with her comically sharp wit. They have worked hard and played hard in the past to achieve and maintain the lifestyle of their dreams complete with trips and toys. Emily really wants to have the Walters first child, and Dale is struggling with the continued joblessness and the maturity required. Dale continues to fill his days drinking and amusing himself, while Emily continues to work long days at the hospital as a nurse.
Nigel meets a contractor named Jedd Wilson, played by Will Webster who hires him for some casual construction work. Nigel thinks very highly of him until Jedd reveals that he is not doing nearly as good as everyone thinks. Jedd’s family life is a mess because he is always working, and his finances are a mess because of escalating business costs and shrinking profits to complete the work he does. Jedd is a very quiet man and does not expose his troubles to many. Nigel is offered a very rare insight into Jedd’s life which causes some alarm. Nigel’s employment with Jedd is suddenly halted when Jedd goes missing and an offhand comment causes unbearable regret.
Dale and Emily’s lifestyle is burning through what money they had put aside. Dale is sinking quickly into a very moody depression while Emily scrambles to adjust to Dale’s volatile new temperament. She struggles with the challenge of keeping herself, the property, and Dale together until better days return. Nigel and Dale make regular calls to their old boss Arthur to see if they can be rehired. There are no other jobs to be had, bills are piling up, the stress is escalating, and all hope of life as it was is vanishing.
Both men find themselves in a merciless battle against desperation and depression. How will they get out? Or will they? The story is a hard one but one that needs to be told as it is far too common.
“Some men never recover from the bite of February’s Dog.”
More About FEBRUARY'S DOG
The filming locations that we have selected are in and around the Calgary area. We have selected these locations for the stunning Rocky Mountain vistas, rolling foothills, and beautifully diverse landscapes. Our cast is made up of veteran Alberta actors that have signed up for this project because of their desire to participate in getting the message out about depression and mental health that have impacted all of their own personal lives. The actors playing Dale Walters (Paul J. Chinook), and Nigel Loggins (Kevin Davey) are both highly recognizable professional actors with extensive experience in television and film in Canadian and American productions.
The lovely and talented young actress playing Emily Walters (Quinn Teechma) has recently returned from acting lessons in Los Angeles and has an impressive body of work completed to date. We are incredibly blessed to have gotten her to sign on as she is on the verge of a major breakthrough in the industry. Playing Arthur Newbury (Doug Wilson) is yet another sought after actor in the Alberta film scene that has embraced and excelled at every role put before him. The other actors that are in the film are also all Alberta actors that have built great resumes
This film is like none other. It starts off light and comical and proceeds at a break neck pace through chaos and turmoil and will expose the audience to a complete and thorough roller coaster of emotions. We watch noble men stumble and fall, we are unexpectedly blindsided with unseen catastrophes, darkness washes out the light, lives are altered painfully and permanently right before our very eyes. This film will leave the viewer with thoughts and feelings that will require time and presence to process.
SARAH WHEELDON WITH KEVIN DAVEY AND PAUL. J CHINOOK
Paul Chinook’s Q and A
What was the inspiration for the script for February’s Dog
Being a 4th Generation Albertan, my family is intimately connected to Alberta and its history. No matter where I am, this will always be home. I always thought Alberta would continue on its magical journey of providing for hard working people like it always did. I got into the oil and gas industry early on in mycareer to put my hard work in like all my family before me. The crash that started in the winter of 2014 was nothing short of a nightmare. After 18 years of sacrifice, hard work, and determination I found myself and almost all of my peers slowly sinking into a void that no one was really talking about. Instead of talks about vacations, children on the way, promotions, and generally uplifting stories, all I heard was my friends losing houses, divorces, depression, bankruptcies, and immense suffering. It was unbearable to see people I looked up to lose everything including confidence in themselves, and hope for a better day. So when I thought about writing a screenplay, the story literally poured out of me, maybe partially out of necessity to deal with the trauma and to help others deal with it as well.
Are the characters in February’s Dog based off real people?
There are a few that are very true to life. I lost an amazing girlfriend that I had hoped to marry. She was an absolute angel and I am glad she stayed in my life as long as she did. While Emily Walters might not exactly be Marci, it was almost impossible as the writer to not put her sassy yet cute nature into Emily. Aside from that, most of the characters and story lines are a tapestry woven together from many of the
friends I made in my oilfield career. My actual mom does play Dale Walters mother in the film, so keep an eye out for that. We talked her into it last minute and she did a wonderful job. I’m very proud to be able to share such an experience with the one woman I will always love, my mom.
What’s next for Paul J. Chinook the writer?
Seeing my first screenplay come to life was a real thrill. By a stroke of blind luck, I assembled an absolutely incredible cast and crew of now dear friends. There were so many hugs, and laughs, and wonderful moments shared by all through the whole process. Doug Wilson especially went above and beyond from the very first step. His unwavering support and guidance really helped take this from just a story to having the captivation and realism that it has now. Since finishing the first round of filming at the end of April, I now have 3 more screenplays written with 3 more on the way. This experience has unlocked a prolific drive to continue to create. I can’t get too into detail about the other projects at this point in time, but rest assured, there will be another Alberta based story coming very soon, as well as one in Texas.
SHERIDAN PEIRENS heating up February's Dog with star Quinn Teechma
Do you have advice for future writers?
My advice for future writers is to remember one simple rule. You have to be writing to be a writer. So get to it. Bad writing is the inspiration for good writing. Not writing leads to more of the same. Find a few supportive people to help shape your vision and take criticism with an open mind. An ego will ruin your writing if you can’t connect with your editor. A good editor is your conduit to the audience outside your head. Your editor will help you connect with them. Good editing is as valuable as good writing.
What do you think makes February’s Dog unique from other films?
There are so many things that make February’s dog unique from most other films. For one, it was the first speaking role for over 75% of the cast. It was awesome to see great people like Quinn Teechma pour their hearts into it and to grow the skills and confidence to take on many more lead roles in the future. I think we also set a land speed record for how fast the film was shot. All of the principle filming was done over 11 days. Luis and Candace at LnC style were able to organically connect with everyone.
As soon as they showed up, the room got warmer, and smiles got bigger. I will be working with them for years to come. February’s Dog is for Alberta. This film is for all the special people that I hold dear to my heart, my fellow Albertans. This is our story, and the Alberta theatrical release is our special moment to come together as Albertans and heal. The passion that went into this film from everyone involved is a testament to the spirit of Albertans. We were all in this whole heartedly because of someone we knew that was suffering. There are thousands of people we all want to hug and let them know, we never forgot, and that they mean the world to us all. This is a passion project through and through.
How did you manage all the responsibilities of writing, producing and starring in a film?
I’m still stunned that it came together. At the start, I thought this was just going to be a fun little project for me and a few of my acting friends to sharpen our skills and have some fun in the industry. One of my friends suggested that the script was good enough that I should find a production company to shoot it. I had actually given up on that idea and was asking Luis at LnC for some lighting and camera tips so that us actors could shoot it ourselves. He took a look at the original 38 minute script and fell in love with it.
From that magical moment, all the right people just kept falling into place and the project just kept growing. I never really stopped and took account of the amount of work that was being done because it just felt so wonderful to be expressing a creative passion. There were many nights that I had to force myself to go to bed. I did most of the pre-production while maintaining a 12 hour a day job in a remote
location in New Mexico almost an hour from the nearest town. Once we got to production, it was just so easy to get swept up in the magic that LnC bring to a production. Most days were 18 hour days but they felt like they went faster than a first kiss.
What did you like most about playing Dale Walters in February’s Dog?
Dale is an extremely like able character. He’s very charismatic, charming, and easy going. There are layers to his character that the audience get exposed too as the story plays through. At first glance, it appears as though he doesn’t have a care in the world. That he’s just kind of like a big friendly dog eager to make everyone happy like he’s fed off smiles and laughter. We catch glimpses of the depth of thought he is capable of at the rare moment when he lets his guard down.
CREATED BY AND STARRING PAUL J. CHINNOK
It was very interesting to play Dale because there are numerous similarities between him and I, yet at the same time, we both handle situations differently. It was actually quite fascinating to see how even as the writer, that even my preconceived notions of Dale were broken when he showed up on set. He didn’t always respond as he was scripted too, he seemed to be able to create something new and intriguing and change the tone of a scene in a way that was beautiful. I can say that Emily and Nigel did the same, because as the writer, there were numerous script changes that were required as the story continued to evolve and take on new depths and push the film into a new realm. Dale had a wonderful way of being the center of attention, but making everyone feel special. I learned a lot from him.
Dan McDougall as Pastor Frank
SOUND TRACK AND PERFORMANCE
BY LYNDSAY BUTLER
To connect with February's Dog contact executive producer, Mardell Chinook at 1-403-601-3583 , or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or Candace@lncstyle.com.
MORE ON SET PHOTOS
“Hopefully what we can do is draw attention to mental health issues and draw attention to the resources and get people talking about these issues.” - Chinook
PHOTOGRAPH BY BRYCE CHINOOK
I'M HERE WITH PR