Guelph actor and director Carlo Essagian is ready to take his short film, Love Thongs across the globe to several film festivals.
Winner of a director's award at the Boston International Film Festival, Essagian will be screening his six-minute short film at the Nice International Film Festival in France, the Silicon Beach Film Festival in Los Angeles in June and the Las Vegas Film Festival in August.
Essagian has worked as an actor for two decades with notable performances in Atom Egoyan’s film Ararat and Frank Oz’s The Score.
Love Thongs is a unique story about a sexually active couple who seek a therapist in order to split because things are going a little too well. The therapist disagrees with their decision and his suggestion to ‘rein it in a little’ takes them by surprise.
Shot entirely in Toronto, the film explores the topic of couples therapy with a twist with a real-life couple and University of Guelph Alumni Jennifer De Lucia and Daniel Stolfi as the couple in therapy.
Essagian says he thought of the idea for this film 12 years ago when he heard about many couples divorcing.
“When I heard stories like that, it made me think of couples therapy and then I thought, ‘What if this dynamic was different?’ Couples usually go into therapy because they're on the verge of splitting up, but what if it's working well?” says Essagian.
“They say they can’t keep their hands off each other like ‘remember the time in the church?’ We cut away to locations that are so obscure and weird and you see them scurrying away and everywhere they leave, they leave behind a thong,” says Essagian.
But is that on purpose? You will have to watch to find out says Essagian.
He says all his films convey a message for the viewers and this sketch comedy is no different.
“There is a lighthearted feel to it. It’s very playful very lighthearted but there is a message about relationships. You have to see it to know,” says Essagian.
Born and raised in Montreal, Essagian has been living in Guelph for the past 18 years and produced a short film Driver’s Test shot entirely in Guelph for which he also won the best director award at the Boston International Film Festival in 2007.
The film was about a senior man who fails a driving test.
“What I learned from making these films is the most prepared you can be the better of a production you will have,” says Essagian.
Essagian says the positive dynamic between crew members contributed towards making a successful end product.
“Everyone was focused on the job. We knew what we had to do,” says Essagian.
“You know you’re onto something when the talent and crew crack up after each take...I was searching for a location and spotted a church which translated into one of the hilarious moments in the film...I believe I was the only person driving around in Toronto with a Bible on his dashboard and a bag full of thongs,” says Essagian.