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The Karma of Hospice: Daniel Bydlowski

There are certain writer/directors who possess such an identifiable style that audiences are attracted to their films because of it. The Farrelly brothers, Wes Anderson, M. Night Shyamalan, Guillermo del Toro, and The Wachowski Siblings all have such a strong and unique style as filmmakers that their name is as prominent as the A-list actors who star in their productions. Daniel Bydlowski’s film Bullies garnered massive attention for him and numerous awards from the industry, including Best Fantasy film and Jury’s Choice at the San Diego Comic-Con International Independent Film Festival. In Bullies, Bydlowski created more than just a sensational film; he cultivated a following that was highly receptive to the sensibility of his stories, much in the same way as the aforementioned filmmakers. The result of this was numerous offers for subsequent productions which would possess Daniel’s creative demeanor. Among these is the upcoming film Hospice, currently in preproduction.

Even more so than an actor, a filmmaker like Bydlowski places a piece of himself in his work. He explains, “I am drawn to stories that explore the relationship and eventually create links between different generations of people, or plainly between children and elders. That was what Bullies did and the intention is that Hospice does this also. Hospice is also inspired by the style (but not the structure) of the Dickens classic ‘A Christmas Carol.’ The comedy and darkness are complementary ingredients for the films I like to create.” The clashing of generations and light/dark ideals have been proven effective in Daniel’s other films like Ticket for Success in which an aspiring filmmaker tries to express all his pain and frustration in a drama that eventually becomes a comic success. With Hospice, he takes the contrast to a more intense outcome.

Hospice takes place in a village named Plainview that has found itself in financial ruins. Its inhabitants are not nice and not particularly inclined to care about the happiness of others, including children. They go out of their way to destroy the childhood belief in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and other iconic characters of youthful fantasy. When the dwellers of Plainview go to the town's only hospice to wait for their last breath, they are visited by these same childhood fantasy figures, but this time they won't be bringing gifts. Hospice suspends reality but doesn’t go so far as to create a new world for audiences. In fact, the characters are the very touchstone that links us to the story and makes it accessible. This is an element which Bydlowski utilizes well, connecting the adult mind to childhood wonder.

The film’s writer/director and his producer [Anabelle Munro] are protective of the presentation of the iconic fantasy creatures who dole out justice to Plainview’s elder population but reports indicate that they are a mix of live action and CG animation. Daniel has remarked that the humour of the film emanates from these fantasy creatures who possess the traditional appearance they are known for but have a modern awareness and temperament. Bydlowski remarks, “I want the story to reach audiences of all ages and tastes who are familiar with the characters on screen. I believe it is attractive for them to see characters they (potentially) believed in before acting in an unconventional and entertaining manner. Adults who like to remember their childhood and children who like to see magic on screen will both find something to love in Hospice.”

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