Written by: Janie Gallegos
Photos provided by Paul Chinook
“Men go through mental health issues. We internalize our feelings because that is what we are wired to do, be providers! Guys internalize all emotions which can lead to depression. You may even isolate yourself and get lost in your own head”. These are all very REAL statements from Writer, Producer, Actor, Paul Chinook.
“Mental Health is a real thing and we need to support each other. In the movie, “February’s Dog,” Paul delivers a message to men, women and families who may be suffering from mental health issues. “It’s not just the man or the woman, your entire family is affected.”
“February’s Dog” takes place in Calgary, Alberta where Paul was born and raised.
While working in the oilfield with co-workers who have become close friends, Dale (played by Paul Chinook) and Nigel (played by Kevin Davey) have two different personalities and outtakes towards life. Both men are called into the office after work by boss and close friend Arthur (played by Doug Wilson). Arthur delivers devastating news, they are laid off! Arthur extends a friendly quote of 3 months without work. A lot of bosses understand the sacrifice it takes to work in the oilfield. It creates strong bonds, so this really hurt Arthur to lay them off. It hurt Arthur more when he couldn’t hold up to his promise of only 3 months.
Unfortunately, the economy worsens and layoffs last longer than anyone expected. Both Dale and Nigel handle this very differently. Dale and Emily were once happily married. Dale showers Emily with gifts. They are a power couple who would play hard. With Dale out of work their relationship begins to change. Emily is now paying the bills and feeling the stress. He is spiraling out of control as Emily continues her Nursing career and now caring for her severely depressed husband and his volatile temper. Dale calls his boss regularly in hopes that work is available. Dale's hopes of returning to work dwindle as work is scarce. He feels less than the man that he knows he needs to be. Has this weight proved too much?
Nigel, gets a contract job and thinks all is peachy until he finds out that Jedd’s (contracting boss played by Will Webster) life is falling apart. Jedd is working entirely too much yet not financially making ends meet. The stress is proving to be a touch challenge for Jedd and his family. Both men fall into a deep depression causing extreme effects on the loved ones surrounding them. How will they overcome the pile of overdue bills, family stress, divorce, landlords and depression?
“It’s very real to what is going on today!” Says Paul.
Paul has taken a subject that has been hidden deep within the shadows to a movie screen!
“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 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. So, 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!”
With lots of support from local businesses, they were able to fulfill their passion by spreading awareness on Mental Health Issues.
"It is important for us to show how deep mental health is. There are discussions of having Mental Health Supporters at the theatres after the movie to support those in need. As for a release date, “who really knows right now. We are projected for the fall or winter but it’s really hard to say due to Covid-19. We are going to release in Alberta first though, and we’lll talk about distribution at a later time.”
Paul had a budget of about $50,000 and would like to say “Thank You” to the many caring people and businesses large and small who have supported him and his team throughout the making of this film. Executive Producer Mardell Beaudoin, Producer and Director Candace Schmidt-Gonzalez, Director Luis Gonzalez and Editor Geordie Day are just a few of the angels who helped make “February's Dog” possible.
Mental Illness is real. February’s Dog focuses more on the journey of a man who has lost everything he knows. But we understand that life throws curve balls to all of us at some point.
Check out the trailer!
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“Big men aren’t always as tough as they look”. Best practices are to “distract yourself and keep your friends close. Network with your friends and help those in need. 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.” We cherish all of you near and far. Please reach out to the necessary resources if you feel that you need assistance!
1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or firstname.lastname@example.org
Starring and created by Paul J. Chinook as (Dale Walters Writer/Producer), also starring Kevin Davey as Nigel Loggins, Quinn Teechma as Emily Walters, Doug Wilson as Arthur Newbury, William Webster as Jedd Wilson, Sarah Wheeldon as Kate Carter, Jill Maria as the Store Clerk, Sheridan Peirens as Tamara, Dan McDougall as Pastor Frank, Felipe Paredes as Jimmy Walters, Scott Dumas as Fertility Doctor, Stephanie Wilson as Marv’s Diner Waitress and Marianne Hutchings as Nurse Jean.