Lord Beaverbrook became a world-renowned businessman, newspaper publisher, politician and art collector. His legacy began in Ontario, and he remained proud of his Canadian heritage, and contributed resources throughout his career to his native land. In 1959, he donated his entire collection of art to the people of New Brunswick, including the building of an art gallery.
Nandan Rao’s film centers on three young friends transplanted to Detroit with the aspiration of transforming an abandoned cathedral-sized church into a lively arts space. J., Zach and Ben are at work, transforming a gargantuan space and trying hard to articulate their enthusiasm and noble ideas. All the while they play, flirt, tell stories and struggle to define themselves with their grand schemes of contributing to the greater good of their society.
Although the cast and crew hail from the Northwest, the filming of Dodge City took place in Detroit. The centerpiece of the film’s location (and its visual eye-candy) is the church building where the trio spends much of their time. Director Nandan Rao, who is also the cinematographer, expertly captures each scene so that the physical space in all its beauty and decrepitude is an active player in the film. Filmed in the winter, the sun is always hanging low in the sky, surrounding the characters and the space in a perpetual twilight. The sound design is a perfect compliment to the stark picture on screen, as the absence of a score accentuates the naturalistic performances. Magically, each room inside the building becomes a fully-formed character just by the very sound of the empty space.
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