It’s a story that isn’t a story. There are no plot twists and no special effects. It’s not a drama showing unfaithfulness, it isn’t seeking to teach a life lesson, and it isn’t a documentary. It is quite simply a film depicting one of life’s realities.
Spaces and Reservations, is the latest feature film from DIY filmmaker and SFU film student, Brendan Prost, who is best known for his previous films, Generation Why and Choch. This film follows the relationship of Jamie (Zach White) and Kacie (Taylor Hastings) as they drift apart, their separation, and eventually their break up.
It is about “malaise and stoicism, about the feeling of stoicism, and being stuck and static. It’s about losing people, feeling people drift away from you. It’s about having your actions motivated by guilt and fear, and sympathy for someone else,” explains Brendan.
For Spaces and Reservations Brendan assembled a crew of talented individuals, including local actors Taylor Hastings and Jennifer Kobelt (Cassandra) as well as fellow film students at SFU, notably Jeremy Cox as the director of photography, and Rheanna Toy as the production designer.
Brendan also reconnected with Zach White with whom he worked on both Generation Why and Choch. “The big difference between doing this project and the other two feature films [. . .] was getting to collaborate with people like Jeremy and other people from the SFU film program, and having their technical knowledge and their skills at my disposal,” says Brendan.
It is within the raw nature of the actors’ performances and the director’s careful gaze that the strength and beauty of this film can be found. Not a lot happens action-wise, the majority being either dialogue or silence, but “if a script is any good [. . .] the scene isn’t about what the characters are saying, it’s about [. . .] what’s going on underneath,” says Brendan.
The two main actors play their connection in a way that is realistic, and this reality drives the story forward. Their characters are unremarkable, average individuals, but their situation is nostalgic and familiar, and the audience is invested despite themselves. Perhaps in witnessing something unfold, in waiting in the silence, they are reminded of their own relationships.
Jamie and Kacie’s relationship has already begun to stall before it even begins; with the first line in the film the awkwardness is obvious between the two. In one scene, as Jamie turns to leave, he stops and after a slight pause he goes back to Kacie, hugs and kisses her.
“He has to remember and turn around and come back, and that is the degree in which the characters are conscious of the fact that they are drifting apart from one another. They just catch themselves in these moments,” Brendan points out.
It isn’t until two thirds into the film that Kacie and Jamie begin to open up and seem like a couple. The film is like driving toward a pothole, without knowing for certain where it is and when the car will reach it.
Brendan wrote a detailed 105-page script for this film, however the actors improvised their lines depending on how the scene played out, lending to the realistic quality. “It just speaks to [the] degree of naturalism [the actors] managed to achieve, and at the same time being so emotionally attuned to what’s going on in the scene,” said Brendan.
Cinematographer Jeremy Cox elaborated saying, “One thing we’ve all learned from this film was how to improvise effectively [. . .] take exactly what you have around you, the people you have, the resources you have, and make the best out of exactly what you have.”
Essentially “it’s a film about first experiences, about naivete. It’s really a film for younger people, a film for people our age,” says Brendan, “[however] that varies . . . it appeals to a first heartbreak, a first time that you lose someone.”
Spaces and Reservations will screen at the Rio Theatre May 20 and 27. For more information, visit spacesfilm.com.