Logline and Synopsis
When Alice, a naïve young woman having lunch in a diner circa 1960, joins Mary and Ray in their “sit-in” protest, the ire of the racist patrons boils over and Alice learns what it truly takes to stand up for what you believe in.
Alice Adams sits alone in a small-town American diner at lunchtime circa 1960, which suddenly begins to buzz when two strangers enter that stick out even worse than she does. Two young African-Americans, Mary and Ray, take a seat at the whites-only counter, asking to be served with simplicity and courtesy. Alice witnesses the racism they immediately encounter, and in turn she’s presented with an opportunity that will change her life forever: Alice decides to support the cause, joining Mary and Ray for the “sit-in” protest. But when tensions begin to boil in the diner, will Alice’s good intentions be enough to protect the integrity of the non-violent protest started by Mary and Ray?
Counter Act – Director’s Notes
Counter Act takes place in a Tennessee diner circa 1960, and tells the story of Alice, a young woman who learns the true meaning of courage when she naively joins the sit-in protest taking place at the lunch counter. We became inspired to tell a story about the sit-in movement a number of years ago after seeing news footage of real-life sit-ins in a documentary, and were almost embarrassed to admit that up until that point, we hadn’t even heard of the Sit-In movement. However, we soon found out that we weren’t alone; most people of our generation know little to nothing about the Sit-In movement, a surprising fact considering over 70,000 people participated in sit-ins in 1960 alone.
It was this lack of widespread knowledge that solidified our desire for telling the story, though even after extensive research, we still struggled in the beginning with exactly how to tell it. As white, Canadian filmmakers, we weren’t blind to the fact that some people would inevitably see us as outsiders who had no connection to the events taking place on screen, despite our unrelenting passion for wanting to share them. However, it was through this lens that we found our personal connection with the subject matter. Our main character, Alice Adams, is a white bystander who decides to participate in the sit-in but doesn’t yet know the difficulty and complexity that will be involved in her joining Mary and Ray, the African-American protestors. By telling the story from the perspective of a outsider who is passionate about the cause despite the fact that she’s not the one being persecuted, we were able to write a story that both helped spread the word of the movement we were so in awe of, and stated a theme that was directly personal to us – just because you’re not a part of the victimized minority does not exonerate you from standing up for what’s right.
Our script for Counter Act won a local film contest called the Hot Shot Shorts, which gave it enough funding (some cash and a large amount of donated film equipment and services) to put the short into production. With the help of nearly eighty talented cast and crew members (all of whom graciously volunteered their time based on the strength of the script and the importance of the story), we shot the film over two days in early January, and we’re extremely excited about how the film has turned out. Along with the stunning production design and wonderful cinematography, the film features some phenomenal performances by amazing up and coming actors such as Teal Fiddler, Naika Toussaint, and J. Alex Brinson, as well as some industry veterans, including Louis Ferreira (Breaking Bad, Stargate SGU, Motive), Chelah Horsdal (Hell on Wheels, The Returned, Rise of the Planet of the Apes) and Cameron Bright (The Twilight Saga, X-Men: The Last Stand, Birth).
We truly believe Counter Act has the potential to not only inform people of a little-known movement during the Civil Rights era, but also to meaningfully contribute to the conversation about the state of racism in our world today.
The Affolter Brothers
Working together since before they called it work, the Affolter brothers have dedicated themselves to telling unique, compelling stories, from light-hearted comedies to heavy dramas and everything in between. In 2006, the four brothers founded Affolter Entertainment, a Vancouver-based production company focusing on original content for film, TV and the web. Collaboration is key among the brothers. They share the writer, producer and director credit on all of their projects, and they pride themselves on creating a family atmosphere on every one of their film sets. Since the company’s inception, the brothers’ films, commercials and music videos have played in dozens of film festivals worldwide and have won or been nominated for over 40 awards.
Heath Affolter is an award-winning producer, director and writer and a three-time LEO Award nominee. Upon finishing the Capilano College Film Centre Certicate Program in 2006, Heath began working in the film industry and has since held a multitude of different positions, including camera operator, Producer’s assistant, 1st AD and editor. He currently acts as a Production Coordinator in TV Animation, and has contributed to such shows as Littlest Pet Shop and The Peadbody and Sherman Show. But Heath’s true passion lies in the work he produces with his three brothers through Affolter Entertainment. As a director and writer, Heath always puts his focus on dynamic characters and original stories. He believes film holds the power to inspire lives and change minds.
Jon is a graduate of the Capilano University Classical Animation Program 2005. Immediately upon graduation, he was recruited by Atomic Cartoons as a lead animator on Teletoon’s Atomic Betty: Season 2. Since then, Jon has worked on a wide variety of major television series’, including 1001 Nights, Click & Clack’s As The Wrench Turns, as well as acting as Layout Supervisor on Littlest Pet Shop and Transformer: Rescue Bots. Jon’s visual artistry makes him an important asset to every Affolter Entertainment production, and he aims to put a fresh, creative spin on everything he creates.
Nathan graduated from Vancouver Film School’s classical animation program in 2001. With the success of his student film ‘The Royal Canadian Eh-Team’, Nathan had no problem getting in the door of some of the highest profile animation studios in Vancouver, including Carbunkle Cartoons, Bardel Entertainment, and Studio B, where he worked as an animator or animation director on such cartoons as Littlest Pet Shop, Transformers: Rescuebots, Bob’s Burgers, The Ren & Stimpy Show, and Rob Zombie’s feature film. Through Affolter Entertainment, Nathan is dedicated to telling unique, inspiration stories through unforgettable characters in extraordinary circumstances.
Thomas got his start in film at an early age, and by the time he graduated high school the films he written, directed and produced had garnered 7 awards and another 8 nominations. That led to a directing job on the television series “OCTV” in 2006, before he had even attended film school. Since completing the Capilano Univsity Motion Picture Production certificate program, Thomas has gone on to write, direct and produce a number of award-winning short films, commercials and music videos. As a writer, producer and director, Thomas is artistically inspired by collaboration. Along with everyone at Affolter Entertainment, Thomas is dedicated to creating unique, compelling stories that challenge our perception of the world, and of ourselves.