Bedbugs: A Musical Love Story

Tracy Polokowski thinks her ‘yes’ day has come but her hipster boyfriend breaks up with her, she discovers she has bedbugs and she’s ostracized by everyone she knows.

Maybe the love she’s been looking for was right inside her mattress.

Creative team

Writer: Shauna Johannesen
Director: Matthew Kowalchuk
Producers: Sean Tyson, Shauna Johannesen, James Danderfer

Filmmaker’s statement

Directing Bedbugs: A Musical Love Story was probably the most fun I’ve had making a film.

When writer/producers Shauna Johannesen and James Danderfer approached me with the idea, it didn’t take much to sell me on it. A musical with puppets? What’s not to love?

We shot and finished the film on a very small budget, all in only eight days, as part of Vancouver’s Crazy8s film event. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when given such strict parameters.

Our finished film still blows me away – I have to pinch myself and ask, “Did we really do all that in eight days???

The love story extends beyond what you see on the screen, of course. Every step of the way, every single person who came on board invested their heart and soul into making this unique production better than I could have ever imagined.

Bedbugs is a true rarity. Maybe even a textbook impossibility. A unique concept, a large (and amazing!) cast, almost no budget (and even less time!), original hand-crafted-with-love puppets and an original score and songs. The list goes on.

Making this film is a personal highlight for me and now I hope it will be one of yours as well.

About Matthew Kowalchuk

Matthew Kowalchuk

Matthew’s first feature film, Lawrence & Holloman, won the Canadian Comedy Award for best feature film and garnered must-see mentions around the globe, screening as far away as Cannes and Shanghai, China.

The film premiered at the Vancouver International Film Festival where it earned him the BC Emerging Director Award, with more award nods to follow (Rising Star Filmmaker, Edmonton International Film Festival, Best Director of a Comedy, Victoria Texas Independent Film Fest).

Matthew was nominated for best direction over consecutive years at the Leo Awards (for Lawrence & Holloman and then Bedbugs) as well as for best direction and screenwriting at the Canadian Comedy Awards.

In addition to Bedbugs: A Musical Love Story, Matthew has written and directed three other acclaimed shorts including his 35mm-shot debut, The Janitors (co-directed with Daniel Arnold), which has been shown worldwide and was a recipient of the coveted National Screen Institute’s Drama Prize.

Matthew has long been a student of comedy, having first trained in improv with Edmonton’s storied Rapid Fire Theatre before moving on to direct theatre and film. Matthew is a graduate of UBC’s department of theatre, film and creative writing.

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