The French-language Canadian digital series “Dominos” is competing at the first Canneseries Digital, on April 11.
In the short-format web series, brothers Toto and Adib are left completely devastated following the death of their mother. The story starts with that traumatic event, and dives into the following 24 hours in the loosely-related community. In that time the audience meets a number of marginalized and vulnerable characters, affected from near and far by tragedy. Each episode focuses on one such person.
That one day time-frame ended up being one of the largest hurdles facing the cast and crew of the series.
“The narrative happens over 24 hours but we shot for eight days, and making everything continuous was a challenge,” said director Zoé Pelchat Ouellet. “To deal with this we had to add some dialogue when the temperature would change in a scene, and the production team had to be very clever with the schedule.”
According to Ouellet, working in the digital short-series format was a liberating experience, from which she learned a great deal.
“The biggest benefit of the web series format to me is the freedom and accessibility of the content,” she said, “It is a great place to experiment, and it gives upcoming directors like me a fantastic platform to create original content.”
Episodes in Canneseries Digital titles ranged between six and 15 minutes in length. Whereas many of the series in competition were developed and filmed like a feature film with slight changes made to facilitate more natural episode breaks, Ouellet had other plans for “Dominos.”
“I approached the project as a series of interrelated short films and tried to give the whole thing the most cinematic feel I could,” she explained, “Everything from the camera, the costumes and the art direction was thought about like those films.”
Although nothing has been announced yet, Ouellet is keeping busy, and has further ambitions for “Dominos.”
“I am developing several series projects, writing two short films and I am starting to think about a first feature film,” she elaborated, “I am working a lot with the producers of “Dominos,” Véronique Charbonneau and Lou Bélanger. I would also love to do a second season of “Dominos” and I’m gonna try my best to make it happen!”
The series was produced by St Laurent TV for Quebec’s TV5, and for the time being, is only available in Canada on the broadcaster’s website. But, Ouellet and her team are currently looking for broadcasters in other territories.