The Okotoks Film Festival opened on Wednesday, June 5, and several of the films in the festival were made by local filmmakers.

The short film, Suzy Makes Cupcakes, is one of them and was directed by Calgarian Jayson Therrien.

"Suzy has this unique talent," explains Therrien, " She makes the BEST red velvet cupcakes you have ever tasted. She parleys that talent in hopes of getting even with her abusive husband, deceiving the local crime family, and making out with a bully bag full of cash."

Therrien came upon the script for Suzy Makes Cupcakes through a friend.

After putting out a post on social media, mentioning that he was looking for his next film to direct, he read numerous scripts from around the world that people had sent him.

While he was open to almost any genre of film, it wasn't until a friend had mentioned the script writer Bethany Maines from Washington may have some scripts that he may be interested in making.

"She sent me a couple of her scripts and as soon as I read Suzy, I was like, 'I want to make this movie,'" explains Therrien. "This movie is hilarious, but it's also dealing with domestic violence. Which is a hot topic right now and something that needs a little more light shined on it but doing it in a kind of a humorous Fargo dark comedy tone."

To make sure he was getting the feel and tone he was wanting, Therrien made sure to hire specific people he knew that could help him achieve what he was looking for.

"I wanted the tone to be, I always refer to Fargo. Dry, but serious. I didn't want to play for laughs, the laughs came out of the honesty of the situation. And the absurdity, too, of cupcakes. That's how she's going to get herself out of all this trouble and start her new life," Therrien says. 

He adds that the actors were great at being serious and allowing the audience to decide if the film was funny or not.

Movie poster for Suzy Makes Cupcakes (provided by Jayson Therrien)Movie poster for Suzy Makes Cupcakes (provided by Jayson Therrien)

"I noticed that in the first two minutes of the film, the audience is setup to believe that it's a comedy. But then we have a moment where we're brought back with seriousness. And I've seen it many times with an audience, the audience, at that point, is afraid to laugh again. They don't know if they can. So, they want to, but they just hold back on it. It really came out how I wanted it to come out."

Therrien adds the film has already been entered into multiple festivals and has already won awards.

This is Therrien's second film at the Okotoks Film Festival, with his first being during the Covid online years.

Suzy Makes Cupcakes will be screened during the prime time shorts portion of the festival on June 8th.

"It's a great little festival down there, it's growing. Just come and support it."

To get tickets to the festival, head over to the festival website.