Waiting Outside… takes its inspiration from a poem in Carmelita McGrath’s collection, Escape Velocity, a finalist for the 2013 BMO Winterset Award. At the time, Joshua Jamieson was the Communications Manager for ArtsNL, which manages the award. In working with finalists for a public reading event, he was hit by a poem in Carmelita’s book that was incredibly cinematic and beautiful. A family friend for decades, the two discussed adapting it for film. She graciously agreed, and both her and the publisher (Goose Lane Editions) gave their blessing.
The short film covers three days with Simon, a single father (due to his husband’s deployment), and his eight year old daughter Scout, over a non-linear timeline.
The short film opens with scenes in a city park as the two have a fun Sunday afternoon together. They’re also seen sharing a supper before settling in for their weekly movie night.
On another day, Simon runs through his morning routine before getting Scout off to summer camp. As he’s lovingly packing her lunch, he’s unwelcomely reminded of an appointment.
Simon’s arrival at a medical facility of some sort is teased through strategic camera work, visual and audio cues. He approaches a registration desk before taking a seat to wait. A woman in the waiting room watches as Simon thumbs through a magazine. The two share some poignant small talk that becomes jarring, just before Simon is called in.
The film is about loss, and how life can be short and change at any moment. Shot at three locations over a two day shoot in St. John’s, NL on August 20 and 21, 2016, and was completed in January 2018.
Waiting Outside… was an official selection at the 2018 Nickel Independent Film Festival (June), the 2018 FIN: Atlantic International Film Festival (September), the 2018 Scottish Independent Film Festival (October) where Clint Butler picked up best Lead Actor for his role in the film, and the 2019 Bonavista Film Festival (July). Waiting Outside… won Best Short Film at the 2nd annual Smith Sound Film Festival in October 2018 and it was available through the 2018 Cannes Film Festival’s Short Film Corner.
On January 24, 2021, Waiting Outside… will air on CBC Television as part of season six of Reel East Coast. Following the broadcast, the short will be available to stream anywhere in Canada on CBC GEM.