“Big men aren’t always as tough as they look. Mental Health affects everyone; It’s not just the man or the woman, your entire family is affected.” These are all very strong yet true statements from Writer, Producer, and Actor, Paul Chinook. #mentalhealth #mentalhealthawareness #anxiety #selfcare #depression #love #movie
Paul speaks from personal experience, “Men go through mental health issues. We tend to internalize our feelings because that is what we are wired to do, be providers. Guys internalize all kinds of emotions which can lead to depression. You may even isolate yourself and get lost in your own head”.
Chinook has come all the way from Calgary, Alberta to share an imperative message regarding mental health issues in our world today. He created, wrote, and produced, February’s Dog to help spread the importance of treating and dealing with mental health issues today.
February’s Dog, was filmed in Southern Alberta with a minimal budget of only $50,000! Paul explains, “All producer fees were deferred to support this message. It is important for us to show how deep of an issue mental health is. There are discussions of having mental health supporters at the theaters after the movie to support those in need”.
February’s Dog, takes place on the oilfield where co-workers are not only friends but family. Close friends, Dale and Nigel (played by Paul J. Chinook and Kevin Davey), are summoned to the manager's office by boss and close friend, Arthur (played by Doug Wilson). The economy has taken a plunge forcing Arthur to lay off his reliable team. Arthur communicated a prediction of 3 months of unemployment to his employees. Arthur was very aware of the sacrifices taken to hold a job in the oilfield. Arthur, with great sorrow, must later announce a longer unemployment time than expected. The economy continues to worsen and jobs are more scarce than ever.
Dale and Nigel have very different ways of dealing with their unemployment. After several months and no promise of returning to work, depression and mental health issues become very apparent. Dale has turned to drinking all day and night which has added strain to his marriage with Emily (played by Quinn Teechma). Dale and Emily have bills that aren’t getting paid. Dale’s drinking is out of control as his role as, “the provider” has been stripped from his existence. Dale is no longer able to shower his beautiful wife with gifts instead, Dale resorts to medicating his depression and mental health with alcohol. Dale continues to call Arthur in hopes of returning to work with no avail. Dale feels as if he is less than a man causing Emily a new stress, Dale’s darkening mood.
Nigel has landed a contract job that he believes is going well. Little does Nigel know, his boss Jed, has more going on than anyone realizes. Jedd (played by William Webster) is completely overworked yet, finances are not being met. This proves to be quite the strain on Jedd and his family. Nigel is now in the same boat as his friend Dale. How will Nigel and Dale overcome the depths of depression and mental health that has clung to them? How will the families of those affected survive the turmoil that the economy had so graciously laid upon them? How will the “providers” regain their mental health and concur the impossible? And what about Jedd, will he ever be found?
“It’s very real to what is going on today! We worked with different Canadian mental health professionals to make sure our facts were accurate. We are here to support mental health issues for all. From 2015-2017, I was laid off (from the oilfield) and struggled for years. It’s hard to find resources for men! Writing this movie really helped me to further understand what I was going through during my lay off. We want to support Alberta. We feel like we are forgotten and not heard. We brought on actors who had never even had a speaking role, which was about 75-80% of them. We are amazed at the performances of each actor!”
Paul Chinook wants you to understand, “Big men aren’t always as tough as they look. Best practices are to distract yourself and keep your friends close. Create networks to help others and be in service. Do not isolate yourself, keep your routines as much as possible noticing any red flags. What I mean by red flags is your sleeping and eating patterns. You need to recognize and accept when professional help is needed. Men and women handle emotions differently, understand and acknowledge your red flags. Don’t internalize negativity, take a deep breath and face it. Admit defeat and figure out how to get through it”.
Paul’s message is strong and powerful. February’s Dog will show the importance of mental health in today's society. Screen Daily featured, February’s Dog as the “first film in the Market Plus section of the Cannes edition in their online magazine” as well as, “their favorite trailer”.
Executive Producer Mardell Beaudoin, Producer and Director Candace Schmidt-Gonzalez, and Director of photography, Luis Gonzalez are just a few of the crew who helped make, February's Dog possible.
Paul sends a huge “Thank You” to the many small businesses who have supported him and his team throughout the making of this film.
I cannot wait until the release of, February’s Dog! COVID-19 has definitely postponed productions, so stay tuned for a release date. This is a powerful film that will indeed touch the lives of many. Paul Chinook and his team are amazing. You can also catch Quinn Teechma on her podcast, Let’s Talk Mental Health.
I pray for your continued safety and health as we overcome these trying times. If you or someone you know needs help, please reach out today!
Stay Golden Team!
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