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Dawson filmmaker wins award for stimulating movie

Lulu Keating gives new meaning to the term stimulus funding. The Dawson film director was recently awarded $100,000 to make a movie pulled from the pages of her own sex life.

Lulu Keating gives new meaning to the term stimulus funding.

The Dawson film director was recently awarded $100,000 to make a movie pulled from the pages of her own sex life.

Normally people are skittish when divulging details of their sexual exploits. Keating, on the other hand, just gives a knowing smile and a laugh.

The 58-year-old filmmaker is not one to hold back. Sitting in the backyard of her home in Dawson, laundry flapping in the background and remnants of her birthday party from the night before scattered on the picnic table, Keating describes one particularly vivid scene from the movie.

It involves a wet banana, a tired-boyfriend and a US fruit-inspector.

Based on a True Fantasy is about a Catholic girl named Lucille whose rape as a young child pushes her into a wild phase of sexual experimentation.

Lucille entangles herself in a varied collection of lovers, both men and women, in her efforts to become a famous musician. But before that happens Lucille gets pregnant and has to deal with the fallout of her actions.

Viewers can expect outlandish material, but the movie will be more innuendo than it will be graphic, said Keating.

“It’s not porn, but eroticism,” she said.

Also, the characters and actions have been fictionalized enough that they no longer resemble true stories from Keating’s past.

Even so, Keating made sure to consult her “boyfriend grid” before she penned the screenplay.

“I gave them all pseudonyms and discussed the movie with them beforehand,” she said, explaining that she’s still friends with a lot of her exes.

The movie takes place during the tail end of the sexual revolution. Keating is hoping baby boomers and their children will gain insight and perspective from the film.

People take it for granted that there has always been this freedom surrounding sex, said Keating. But pushing sexual boundaries at that time could mean losing your family.

Keating received the Women in the Director’s Chair Feature Film Award in mid-April. The $100,000 grant includes in-kind rentals and post-production support from different film studios in Vancouver.

The award comes on the heels of a Yukon Advanced Artist Award and a Canada Council for the Arts grant.

For Keating, the money is a well-deserved reward from her 30 years in filmmaking.

The Nova Scotia native released her first film, The Midday Sun, in 1989. Similar to Based on a True Fantasy, the movie pulls on her own personal experiences while volunteering in Zimbabwe.

Keating has no qualms about digging into her past.

Keating’s animated documentary, The Moody Brood, is an ode to her parents and 10 siblings. It won best doc at the Atlantic Film Festival in 1999 as well as a handful of other awards.

Even though she carried a good reputation in Halifax, the film didn’t push her as far along in her career as she wanted, she said. Shortly after she finished touring the movie internationally she picked up and moved her life across the country to Vancouver.

In 2001 she was invited to Dawson to screen her movie at their yearly film festival. She was so taken by the community that two years later she decided to live there.

She credits part of her struggles in filmmaking to the difficulty women face in breaking into the film scene.

“Women can often pull off short films but the number of women greenlit for feature length films is low,” she said.

“There’s systematic sexism out there that’s stopping people from getting their work shown.”

Keating admits she’s been relentless in her pursuit of moviemaking. It shows.

Her film, Based on a True Fantasy, will feature her own original screenplay. She’ll also be sitting in the director’s chair.

To boot, Keating will be experimenting with unconventional filmmaking methods when she starts production of the film.

Based on a True Fantasy will use a mix of live action, animation and special effects to tell her story.

She hopes to begin production on the movie in 2011.

Contact Vivian Belik at