Director Stu Stone and production partner Adam Rodnes want you to know about their indie film comedy Vandits — about trying to rob the seniors bingo parlor $281 of the liar,000 Christmas Eve jackpot — with $34, Camera stolen on the first day of shooting and Lighting is not a publicity stunt.
“There’s an empty parking spot. Where’s the truck? Really, where’s the truck?” Stone recalls being in Winnipeg, Manitoba in October 2021 asked the deadpan production crew where a truck and trailer with all his movie gear had parked the night before.
This might seem like a stunt because the Toronto filmmaker’s last film was pretending to be a murderer , a 2020 documentary comedy in which Stone and Rhodenes investigate a man they believe is a serial killer in search of the next hit But the dirty man who never became a serial killer.
So when Stone and Rhodenes filed a police report and posted an emotional appeal online for the return of their truck and movie gear, everyone Think they are planning yet another scam. “Everyone thought we were lying. Our family thought we were lying,” Stone told the Hollywood Reporter.
When Stone and Rodnes received emails and phone calls from people claiming to be in possession of the truck and trailer demanding ransom, The filming of the thief just got even more bizarre. “Somebody actually wrote and said, ‘Send $500 to my email address and I’ll let you know where the trailer is. I know it where,'” Rodnes recalled.
The result was a RCMP raid to investigate the ransom demand, which made Stone and Rhodes Ness provided a police report to the national news broadcast to prove it wasn’t a Hollywood marketing ruse.
As local Winnipeg productions, including equipment supplier William F. White International stepped in to provide replacement equipment, Stone and Rodness were finally able to keep the cameras running Vandits. “We did end up shooting this movie with our limited gear. It’s a miracle it came out,” Stone insisted. The crew and cast — including Jann Arden, Tony Nappo, Robb Wells and Enrico Colantino — were barely disturbed. “We’re good filmmakers, hiding problems as much as possible so our people can focus and do the best work they can. But it’s a risk,” Rodnes added.
Vandits is set to open in Canadian limited theaters on November 4, after which the comedy moves to local broadcasters Hollywood Suite. Rodness and Stone are currently negotiating deals with international sales agents for film distribution in the U.S. market and elsewhere.
What’s more, they can finally see their humor in the making. “When we win an Oscar,” Stone said, “we will definitely thank our family, our friends and the people who stole our truck.”