Patterson’s Wager is a safe bet

Vancouver filmmaker returns to Winnipeg to screen his latest feature

Photo provided by Corbin Saleken.

What would you do if you could see into the future? Vancouver director Corbin Saleken explores his interpretation with a balance of realism and light-heartedness in his recently completed film, Patterson’s Wager. The film follows the story of a man named Charles, played by Fred Ewanuick, who acquires the ability to see two minutes into the future. What seems like a useful skill at first begins to present some challenges for Charles and proceeds to affect his life in unexpected ways.

Saleken managed to complete his film in an impressive 12 days through a combination of hard work and careful planning.

“Other shoots that do things in 12 days are insane,” Saleken said. “This shoot wasn’t like that. I think there was one day where we did 12 hours, but that was it. We had 19 different locations, so every day we had two or three moves to do.”

Saleken says a big timesaver was knowing what shots he would need, and not wasting time with coverage that wouldn’t be useful later.

“I had the whole thing storyboarded,” said Saleken.

With experience working with the film equipment at Simon Fraser University, Saleken knows a lot of students and graduates who were willing to volunteer on the crew. Their enthusiasm, along with a positive response from actors who were approached for roles, pulled the project together.

According to Saleken, most of the roles were filled by actors he had in mind. Many of them didn’t meet until the table read, including the two leads, who had to be believable as a couple.

“It wasn’t until a little while ago that I was talking to some people and I kind of realized, ‘oh, that was a pretty big risk.’ If the chemistry wasn’t there, I don’t know what I would have done,” Saleken said, laughing.

While the shoot was completed in less than two weeks, editing took eight months, which, according to Saleken, was the fun part.

“I shot the movie so I would have material to edit [ . . . ] that’s where the movie is made,” Saleken said.

Although the movie’s storyline revolves around Charles’ strange new ability, it is also looks at his life and relationships; the film opens with Charles practising a proposal to his girlfriend.

“When movies work, they have relationships at the core [ . . . ] in a movie like Star Wars, what makes you come to that is not the special effects, but the connections with the characters.”

Patterson’s Wager will be featured at the Winnipeg Real to Reel Film Festival. Saleken said he enjoyed visiting Winnipeg for his showing of The Vehicle at 2013’s festival and is looking forward to coming back.

“In Vancouver, we get maybe one snowfall a year that lasts for five minutes if we’re lucky,” Saleken said. “Just to be able to skate for five kilometres straight is kind of amazing.”

Patterson’s Wager will screen on Feb. 20 at 6:30 p.m. and Feb. 21 at 8 p.m at North Kildonan Mennonite Brethren Church (1315 Gateway Road). Visit for details.