There is no question the upcoming comedy, Young People Fucking, ranks up there with the filthiest film titles of all time.
But its Vancouver-based director, Martin Gero, insists that his feature-film directorial debut - which kicks off the Canada First! program at this year's Toronto International Film Festival - is actually a thoughtful, honest portrayal of real relationships among the randy under-30 crowd.
A generation "that, more than any other, has tried to separate sex and love as two very distinct, complicated things," he adds,
Gero co-wrote the $1.5-million film with his actor buddy, Aaron Abrams (also one of the stars in the comedy). The two met a few years ago working on the set of the sci-fi TV show Stargate Atlantis (in which Abrams in an actor and Gero is currently co-executive producer).
"We both were looking to do something different," Gero explains. "We both were single at the time, and we would compare these stories [about our personal lives]" said the director on the phone from Vancouver.
"We wanted to do a frank, romantic comedy about sex and relationships. Aaron is fond of saying romantic comedies usually end with a kiss. But for us, the really interesting stuff happens after the kiss."
Abrams and Gero wrote the script over six months, trading versions back and forth by e-mail. The title just kind of happened because both "Aaron and I are horrible at coming up with titles - and it just fit.
"The good thing about the title is that is actually cuts through a lot of crap. The bad thing about it is that people may think the film will be more shocking and crass than it actually is. I have to say it was kind of strange for two straight guys to sit down and write a movie about sex together," adds a sheepish Gero, who has shed his single status and now lives with his girlfriend.
Produced by Toronto-based Copperheart Entertainment, Young People Fucking portrays four couples and one threesome.
In the course of a steamy night, the players attempt to have seemingly straightforward sex - only to run into all kinds of problems.
Young People Fucking is in the enviable position of already having struck distribution deals for both the United States and international markets (with ThinkFilm) and Canada (Christal Films).
"The first people we took the script to were at ThinkFilm, who said they loved it, including the title. In fact, they were so fine with the title that we thought the guy we were dealing with at ThinkFilm [Michael Baker]probably was a junior guy who didn't really know what he was talking about. He kept telling us that he could sell the title, but we always believed we'd have to change it. He turned out to be the head of acquisitions," Gero says, "so I guess he knew what he was talking about."
The young filmmakers clearly hand-picked the right distributor.
ThinkFilm has a history of supporting potty-mouth material and owns rights to a number of controversial films, including Steve Anderson's documentary Fuck, the profanity-laced documentary The Aristocrats and another documentary called Awesome: I Fuckin' Shot That, about the Beastie Boys at the 2004 Madison Square Garden concert.
Then they figured the title might turn off the programmers at TIFF. Again, it was a non-issue.
Gero, who grew up in Ottawa, says they invited the TIFF people to a screening of the film in early June. They found out July 6 - on Gero's 30th birthday - their independent film shot in five bedrooms in Toronto last November and December was a TIFF pick.
"That was pretty much the best birthday present I could ever have," says Gero, who studied radio and television at Ryerson, but never graduated.
"A week later, we were told we were going to be the opening-night film for the Canadian program, which was just mind-blowing."
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