The World is Burning

A young man returns to rural Newfoundland after tragedy strikes.

Creative team

Writer/director/producer: Justin Oakey
Co-producer: Adam Reynolds

Filmmaker’s statement

The World is Burning was entirely a labour of love; it’s an autobiographical story completed only through generosity and patience.

After being turned down for grants, we decided to raise the budget via crowdfunding and it was a surprising success.

We ended up having donations come in from over a dozen countries. I think we got so much support because of the story: though it’s a dramatized tale about my grandfather, it deals with the real issues of feeling displaced, yearning to connect with your roots and general homesickness.

Coming from a close and traditional Newfoundland family, living in Toronto only made me realize how much more suited I was to being in Newfoundland, how badly I missed fishing and hunting, the language, the landscape, everything.

The city certainly isn’t for everyone, and neither is a small town – I just wanted to explore that issue in the lead character but making the stakes a little higher with a tragic element.

Of course, I jumped at the opportunity to also weave in one of my family’s many stories (though it appears more tragic in the film than in reality). Poppy even plays the grandfather character in the film!

In the end, I was just very lucky to have a talented crew, supportive family and friends, as well as countless discounts or in-kind services to make this project happen.”

About Justin Oakey

Justin Oakey

Justin Oakey is a filmmaker born and raised in Newfoundland whose work reflects his passion and appreciation for the island’s unique culture and tradition.

Since graduating from Ryerson University’s film program he worked mainly in music video projects for artists in Canada and northern Europe. The World is Burning is his first independent short film.

He is currently in pre-production on his second short film, Flankers, as well as in the process of writing a couple of feature projects.

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