Bedard offers an intimate portrait of a man who, following a night of romance and sex, is left to contemplate the meaning of the encounter when his lover disappears without saying goodbye. In the process, the film presents a beautifully honest portrayal of vulnerability and the sometimes cruel world of desire.
For Vancouver-based artist and first-time writer-director Guntaj Deep Singh, making Bedard was driven by a personal need to explore the emotions that form the essence of human existence.
“I noticed that many queer men around me were not necessarily victims of anything but their own notions of romance and love, just like a lot of other people who seem to believe in the fairytale. The point was to not bash the fairytale mentality, but to somehow depict the grayness of matters that involve two people in a romance or fling,” Singh says.
Singh also co-stars in Bedard alongside Matteo De Serafino, whom he cast in the film when the two connected on a conversational level after meeting through a dating app.
“I knew when the opportunity to make a short film came along that Matteo would be perfect. He’s very laissez-faire about life and had the je ne sais quoi I was looking for. I love how he brought to life a beautiful blend of his real persona and a more amplified version of himself on screen,” he says.
For the look and feel of the film, as well as various technical aspects, Singh turned to Bhavesh Chauhan, who acted as cinematographer, editor and sound mixer on the project.
“Tapping into so many emotions as an actor and then trying to analyze it all as a director was difficult.”
“I learnt a lot from Bhavesh on set, and his work ethic and dedication are extremely inspiring. We’ve bonded over a love of Bollywood films and art over the course of knowing each other. Bedard would not look, feel or sound the same without him. He just gets my creative vision,” Singh says.
Filming took place in Vancouver in the summer of 2022, with the three-man team working over the course of a single night and into the following morning. Post-production later wrapped in Chauhan’s studio in November.
“The film was made so quickly and was such an impromptu project that there was a certain kind of trust I had to have in it and in the vision to even go for it. But being on set and actually tapping into so many emotions as an actor and then trying to analyze it all as a director was difficult,” Singh recalls.
At the same time, Singh decided to work with a script that contained almost no fixed dialogue; instead, opting to improvise lines on set and let things flow based on the mood of the moment.
“Different scenes demanded varying tones and frequencies, so we just filmed different conversations in each setting. We shared some laughs and got to know ourselves more through the process because there was so much talking. We were acting, but in a very intellectual and emotional way, we were also not acting,” he says.
The result, he continues, is a story that finds its own path and avoids playing into more well-worn romantic clichés.
“We were acting, but in a very intellectual and emotional way, we were also not acting.”
“The film allows the characters to be themselves without becoming caricatures of queer representation, which can be the case with many films – although recently I’ve seen a few mainstream films that have recognized that problem and don’t fall into that pit,” Singh notes.
He adds that he strove to create a realistic portrayal of heartbreak and what happens when our relationships don’t work out.
“Some questions are left unanswered because that’s how it goes in life sometimes. Closure isn’t always needed or even required to say what has been left unsaid. Would things have been different if the characters had parted in a different way? We don’t really know. Maybe,” he says.
Bedard has already picked up a couple of awards at festivals in India, and Singh currently has his sights set on screening the film for audiences in Canada.
“Everyone who has seen it has enjoyed the film with an open heart and has shared their own perceptions of romance and love and how it affects their relationships or dating life. It has been really enthralling to hear these takes. You suddenly remember why you do what you do,” he says.
Propelled by the positive response Bedard has received so far, Singh says he is proud of what he has achieved on the project, but admits he still has much to learn about the craft and process of filmmaking.
“You just have to be ready for as many surprises as possible and be okay with letting some things happen. Being prepared is great, but let the unknown take over sometimes – it’s where the magic happens. Oh, and be scared, but do it anyway,” he says.
Connect with Guntaj Deep Singh via his website here.