Portfolio: Jared Pelletier
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At only 24 years old, Aurora filmmaker and director Jared Pelletier is a rising star in his field.
Pelletier's first taste of success came in 2009 when, as a bright-eyed 18-year-old, his short film The Collision was shortlisted by programmers for the Cannes Film Festival.  
Three years later, he signed on to work with Los Angeles-based gaming and media giant Machinima Inc.
Today, Pelletier is working on multiple assignments including a full length project that is slated to be his first feature film.
Someone who is eager to provide insight on what has contributed to Pelletier's success is his mentor and respected Canadian producer, Gabriel Napora.
“Most directors twice his age aren't able to capture what he's able to get. He's a world-class editor as well; and his ideas are both very accessible and intriguing,” says Napora.
“For a kid his age to be able to bring out the tone of projects as magnificently as he does and make them compelling makes him a very unique talent,” he adds about Pelletier.
Taking a moment to reflect on his journey, Pelletier says it was his curiosity for the finer details of sci-fi movies – particularly Star Wars – that led to his fascination with filmmaking.
“My dad had bought the 1997 special edition VHS set — I was six at the time and it consumed me,” he recalls. “I wanted to unpack them completely and understand how a film is crafted, how it's stitched together. Star Wars influenced me to think about movies as something more than pure entertainment and that's stayed with me.”
The only child of Maurice and Janet Pelletier, Pelletier attended Light of Christ Catholic Elementary School and Cardinal Carter Catholic High School in Aurora. Young Jared dedicated all his free time towards his fascination for filmmaking.
“My hobbies became fairly singular once I discovered film, he says. “I would often run around with a Handycam, making movies with friends through elementary school, which were often re-creations of films I was interested in at the time.”  
One of his projects, The Collision, caught the attention of the Cannes' program selection committee as they shortlisted Pelletier's film for a spot in their 2009 festival.
Still, thinking filmmaking would remain a hobby, Pelletier decided to enroll in the sports management program at Brock University after graduating high school.  
But he soon came to the realization a career in film was the only thing that would truly satisfy him and left university early to dedicate himself fully to the pursuit.
“I don't know that all of my friends and family had the same unrelenting belief that I did, but nobody ever said so,” he says of their reaction to his decision to drop out of university. “Of course, it's easy for people to become supportive once there's tangible success, but it's not something I really pay attention to.”
The tangible success Pelletier speaks off came in 2009 when he signed a deal with well-known media and gaming giant Machinima Inc., a company that has released and created projects with Lions Gate, Warner Bros, Microsoft and many other entertainment industry heavyweights.
“The staff at Machinima had seen proof of concept material I had done on Microsoft's Halo franchise and asked if I would be interested in pitching some ideas,” Pelletier explains. “I went through the process with them fairly quickly and suddenly I was responsible for producing, writing and directing a project with real money and real stakes.”
Since then, he has produced television commercials professionally and has held marketing executive positions; and just last year, he sold his first television series.  
While his relationship with Machinima has since ended, in 2015, the Aurora native ranked among the top 1 per cent of highest earning directors under 25.
Having worked closely with renowned Canadian director and producer Neill Blomkamp, who directed the 2009 box office smash District 9 and more recently CHAPPiE, Napora says he sees a number of undeniable similarities between the two.
“Neill, when I worked with him, was a great editor, visual effects artist and director…. Jared is equally as good as an editor and his direction reminds me a lot of Neill, too,” he says about the two talented Canadian directors. “They both think outside of the box and think deeply on a conceptual level. Jared, to me, is going to someday be where Neill is now. It's just a matter of time and persistency.”
Pelletier is currently putting in the time shooting a science fiction project that is expected to be his first feature film, with the support and backing of French media giant Studio Canal.  
He is also directing a new show for Shaftesbury Films called Inhuman Condition.
Given that he's currently doing what he's loved since early childhood, Pelletier says he is not so much concerned about his destination as he is about just enjoying the journey.
“Of course, I'm always trying to scale my career, of course I want to make studio films and that's happening on a micro-scale at the moment,” he says. “But my end goal isn't to make a $100-million movie at Universal…. I'll be completely sated if I can keep making film that I care about; film that I would want to watch.”


3 Things About Jared Pelletier
Who were your idols growing up?
My idols were always tied to film, and the list is fairly generic: Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, James Cameron and practically any director responsible for my favourite movies.

What has been your most memorable TIFF experience?
A couple of years ago, I was invited to the Warner Bros. premiere of Gravity, which was really the first major TIFF event I'd ever experienced. I was a couple of seats away from Corey Stoll, Guillermo Del Toro was right in front of me, Jason Bateman just to my left…. The energy was amazing and it was an incredible experience to see so many celebrities simply consuming film as fans of the medium.

What is your advice for other aspiring filmmakers and directors?
You need to have a thick skin. Avoiding complacency, improving yourself, working hard, etc. are all prerequisites, but if you can't handle a rejection from an executive or a producer, then you really have no hope. You'll hear the word “no” a lot. Get used to it and achieve that intrinsic satisfaction from proving them wrong. Trust me, the journey is worth that feeling alone.

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