Featured image: Ella Ballentine as Jackie Dunphy in Black Conflux. (Courtesy of Route 504 PR.)
With Toronto and Vancouver usually dominating the landscape of Canadian film, it’s refreshing when a film can come out of a different province or smaller industry and thrive. That’s the case with Nicole Dorsey’s Black Conflux, filmed in Newfoundland in September 2018, and now releasing three years later.
It’s a coming-of-age story about a young teen named Jackie (Ella Ballentine), navigating high school, trying out for the school choir and going through the anxieties of finding one’s place in the world. Meanwhile, alienated and disturbed loner Dennis (Ryan McDonald) tries to find his place, too, as their paths eventually intersect.
Dorsey’s film always stays in the dramatic lane, but how she explores Dennis’ psychology and his actions border closely to horror in portrayal, which is very interesting for such a unique look at growing up in a small town. Her film hooks from the opening notes and credits, as Ella Ballentine sings a rendition of Linda Perhacs’ Canadian folk song Hey, Who Really Cares? It’s haunting and sets the tone, and the lyrics really fit the story to a tee, too.
For Black Conflux, I was able to speak with actress Ella Ballentine about her layered and memorable performance as Jackie. In the interview, we talk about how Ella picks her projects, workshopping the character, singing for a scene in the film, watching her films, working with Ryan McDonald, some advice and more in between.
You can find our conversation above on YouTube (which is audio only) or listen to it directly below (or download here). Black Conflux is currently playing in select theatres in Canada and is also available On Demand in Canada on places like YouTube, Google Play and more. In case you missed it, I was also able to speak with writer/director Nicole Dorsey, and that conversation can be found here.
(Podcast music courtesy of bensound.com.)