Monday, 27 February 2012

Eric Jordan, Co-producer of the Oscar Nominated Film "In Darkness"

We are sorry to announce that Eric Jordan's film did not win the Oscar last night.  A large portion of Sturgeon Point was able to get into Lindsay last week for the private screening of In Darkness and the reviews fell firmly on the side of incredibly impressed. We would like to congratulate him on the nomination and hope that getting to walk the Red Carpet was a great time.

Courtesy of Reuters Pictures, 23 Feb 2012
Producer Eric Jordan, nominated for an Academy Award for "In Darkness," speaks during a reception to celebrate the Canadian Oscar nominees in Beverly Hills, California, February 23, 2012.

The following article by Catherine Whitnall appeared in the Thursday, February 23, 2012 edition of Kawartha Lakes This Week.

Eric Jordan hopes for Academy Award nod
Career launched at IBM sees area resident co-produce Oscar-nominated foreign film
Local co-produces Oscar nominated film. Sturgeon Point resident Eric Jordan looks forward to hearing what the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has to say on Feb. 26 about the film he co-produced. In Darkness has been nominated for a Best Foreign Language Oscar. Catherine Whitnall

(FENELON FALLS) Film making may seem just as far removed from philosophy as Hollywood is to the City of Kawartha Lakes, but for one Fenelon Falls-area resident, it’s much closer than one would think.

On Sunday (Feb. 26) while others are watching Academy Award winners take the podium, Eric Jordan will be awaiting word on his co-production, In Darkness, which is up for a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.

Based on a true story, In Darkness is set in Nazi-occupied Poland and tells the tale of sewer worker and part-time thief Leopold Socha, who agrees to hide a group of Jewish men, women and children in the sewers; for a price.

Mr. Jordan’s own ‘tale’ begins in Toronto where he was headed to university to study philosophy, but instead took a position in IBM’s communications department.

Although he had shot some Super 8 films in his senior year at high school, it wasn’t until the company’s still photographer invited him to help out on a film project that his current career took shape.

“That’s where it started,” said Mr. Jordan who recruited Paul Stephens, his best friend since Grade 1 who had gone on to study film, to assist with other IBM projects.
Shortly after inheriting money from his grandfather, Mr. Jordan partnered with Mr. Stephens to launch The Film Works; their first big project being The Maple Leaf Forever in 1975.

Since then, the two men have created award-winning films including Beowulf & Grendel, Such A Long Journey and The Planet of Junior Brown, as well as the television mini-series, The Arrow and the TV movie Where The Spirit Lives; inspired by the company’s work Spirit Bay, the first North American television series with an all native cast, that was broadcast on networks around the world.

“Paul and I have always like the good stories,” said Mr. Jordan of what drives his passion for film.   “We love the business. We love the storytelling.”

That’s the easy part.

Gathering all the other pieces isn’t always so.

Toronto writer David F. Shamoon actually brought the script for In Darkness to Film Works in 2002. It took four years to “get going” said Mr. Jordan, explaining many factors had to be dealt with; from securing funding and finding a director to fleshing out the story and scouting locations for filming.

At one point, a significant portion of funding was lost.

Further delays were created when acclaimed writer-director Agnieszka Holland - who co-produced Julie Walking Home with Film Works - pushed to have the film presented in the original languages, Polish, German, Yiddish and Ukrainian. Polish and German producers were brought on board in 2007, and the film was finally shot in Poland and Germany - partly at full scale reproduction of a period sewer system on a sound stage - in 2010.

“There were days when we didn’t think it would get done at all,” said Mr. Jordan. “But Agnieszka had a vision to do it as realistically as possible. She wanted it to be authentic.”
Despite creating a challenge, Mr. Jordan agrees it was necessary to be true to the piece.

“The story isn’t sugar-coated,” he said, noting Ms Holland brings with her a unique view point having been born into a Jewish-Catholic family in 1948. “So she grew up with it all. She knew it [film] had to be a story about real people. That’s what makes the story so interesting - the complexity of the Polish worker and the Jews themselves...It has the traditional paradigm of an individual who is turned into a hero set against the backdrop of millions [of people] being slaughtered.”

The film was also shot in digital high definition, pushing the technology “to its limits” in order to create a very dark feel, both literally and figuratively.

Considering all the effort which has gone into developing the film, the Oscar nod is extremely gratifying and validating for Mr. Jordan.

“It was a very difficult film to make, so I’m very proud of the nomination,” he said.

Success, he advises, comes down to one thing. Persistence.

”It’s just a question of if you want to do something badly enough. You have to commit. It hasn’t always been easy. I’ve had to take financial and personal risks,” said Mr. Jordan who advises anyone interested in a career in film, regardless whether it’s in front of or behind the camera, to enrol in a post-secondary program. “After all, if you can’t commit to that, then you’re not likely going to make it.”

He also recommends volunteering on productions which not only provides invaluable hands-on experience but also helps develop the all important work ethic.

“If you have a vision, ideally, you have to give yourself time to go at it and see if you have what it takes,” continued Mr. Jordan. “It’s a tough business. You can’t give up. And don’t forget, there are always options. It’s about finding your niche.”

In a sidebar, Ms Whitnall wrote:
Mr. Jordan is currently working on the feature documentary, Fly Colt Fly; the story of teenaged ‘barefoot burglar’ Colton Harris-Moore, who had never even been in a plane before he hot-wired a Cessna and flew more than 600 kilometres before crashing in a field and vanishing into the wilderness.

Directed by the Adam and Andrew Gray, the film is a creative point-of-view look at Colton’s life, using brilliant animation and dramatic recreation in this ground-breaking documentary.
Distributed in Canada by Maple Pictures, the film has been sold to Movie Central and The Movie Network and will be completed later this year.

He also has co-productions with India and Israel in the works and is glad that technology has advanced to the point where he can work from the Sturgeon Lake view home he shares with wife, and Cambray native, Faye.

Producer Eric Jordan, nominated for an Academy Award for "In Darkness," speaks during a reception to celebrate the Canadian Oscar nominees in Beverly Hills, California, February 23, 2012.

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