Continuing to make an impression with multiple awards from film festivals around North America, Vancouver-based actor, writer, producer, and director Simon Longmore’s Not Your Average Bear is a passion project that appears to have paid off.
“I wanted to start exploring opportunities to become a producer, and producers are often writers,” explains Longmore, who wrote, co-produced and starred in the comedy short.
“I thought the best person to star in it would be me because I could also get some residual effects. So far, it’s won about two dozen awards, and about nine or ten of them are for acting.”
Telling the story of a daring robbery pulled off by the most unlikely culprit, Not Your Average Bear is based on a real-life crime from a decade ago. Learning about it while listening to the news, Longmore thought the idea of how he committed the crime was quite brilliant.
“At the end of the interview, the RCMP spokesperson said, ‘whoever did this wasn’t your average bear,'” says Longmore of how he landed on the film’s title.
Taking the true-crime as its starting point, Longmore wanted audiences to relate to the man behind the robbery in his film.
“You want to sympathize with the lead character, and we had to justify his motivations to committing a crime, as it was for the greater good,” he says.
Of course, telling any story in a short film format is not without its challenges. Beyond the budgetary and time restrictions, Longmore says that every element must contribute when you’re writing a short film.
“If you see the film, you will notice that even what is on the television is actually a character because it is always passing on information,” he says. “Every line and every sentence has to be in support of the overall story. You first have to have the forethought of putting it into the screenplay.”
Still making the film festival circuit, Not Your Average Bear will appear at both the Ottawa Canadian Film Festival and Toronto Shorts International Film Festival later this month.
And while his film short continues to make waves, Longmore has his eye on feature films for his next project.
“The short film genre is beautiful, but I think the top of the mountain is to get into feature films, and that is where I’m heading,” he says. ” When you’re an independent filmmaker, you have to wear many hats. I will definitely be producing and writing, and there may even be another part for me.”
Originally from England, Longmore now calls Vancouver home. With a love of film from a young age, his first film experience was as an extra in the Sylvester Stallone film Rocky 3, and his first notable role came on the television series The X-Files. Since then he has appeared in numerous projects and in 1999 founded the Vancouver Academy of Dramatic Arts where his approach to acting has been taught to over 10,000 actors.