Since Sarah Kapoor graduated from Prince Charles Secondary School in 1993 she has put together an impressive resume of experiences:
Undergraduate and master’s degrees from Carleton University. Ten years making films and documentaries for CBC. Wife and mother of two children, now two and seven. A successful production company with her friend and business partner, David-James Fernandes.
Now, on Nov. 7 she takes another giant leap. A feature film that she wrote and stars in will hit the big screen at the Hamilton Film Festival. The Bad Mother, she promises, will have its day in Creston.
The Bad Mother isn’t autobiographical, she said, but the story of a mother’s struggles reflect some of her own experiences. She walked away from a successful career at CBC and an offer to work on the National when she had her first child seven years ago.
“When I was pregnant I had a good friend (Fernandes) say ‘Come work with me.’ ” They started their own production company.
Kapoor credits her business relationship with Fernandes with helping her live out dreams while paying the bills and striving to provide a home with her husband, John, and two children.
“We are very different but with so many complementary skills that actually we are able to have a successful production company,” she said. “We have lots of fantastic clients — almost every level of government. We make public service announcements and commercials, largely aligned with progressive causes. We don’t do things we don’t believe in.”
Her interest in film was fueled as a student at Carleton. She made some documentaries, “on my own, which caught the eye of the CBC, and then I got a great internship there.” For a decade she worked on a string of projects and programs. The offer of a position on the National seemed to be what she had been working toward since high school, but it would have meant long hours and lots of travel, not exactly compatible with motherhood. She chose the balance that working with Hernandez promised.
“We always had making films and documentaries as part of our business plan,” Kapoor said. “After five years of working together, in November 2013 we finally had enough resources to say we’re going to barf out a screenplay each and we’re going to pick one to go forward with.
“David came here to Creston and we locked ourselves up in the Magnusson and we wrote. And wrote. And wrote. I chose sort of the Louisa May Alcott mode of writing what you know. David wrote a science fiction movie, which we will probably make at some point. I wrote what I knew, which was the story of a woman having to choose between career and family.”
Six months later, with what she describes as “a really good draft” of her script, she headed for Los Angeles to take a course designed to teach directors how to act “in order to make them better directors.” The dozen students in the class were “a phenomenal group of people and I felt very fortunate to be in it.” One of her classmates had worked on the movie Gravity and won an Oscar.
“I used that course to decide whether it would be us acting or directing. I didn’t write the script thinking that myself or my family would be in it. Not at all. None of us are actors.”
But she and Fernandes had to choose between spending years raising money to make the movie, or to dive in and use their own savings and experience. Acting included.
The story of Kapoor’s film continues in Part 2.