Writer/director and Department of Writing professor Maureen Bradley has been announced as the 2013 winner of the Jim Murphy Filmmakers Bursary for her current film project, Two 4 One.

Maureen Bradley

As reported earlier on this blog, Bradley was announced as one of four winning teams for the National Screen Institute’s Features First initiative back in December 2012. Now, her project has been awarded the $3,000 bursary—and for Bradley, the timing is perfect.

“I’m just a few months away from shooting so finding out this great news is like a gift from the heavens,” says Bradley. “With a micro-budget production, every dollar is critical and this couldn’t come at a better time. Another piece of the funding puzzle solved!”

Two 4 One is described as “a bittersweet romantic comedy about Adam and Miriam, two oddball thirtysomethings who have a one-night stand and both wind up pregnant.” Bradley plans on filming here in Victoria in August, and while no firm cast has been announced yet, word is noted actor Sandra Oh (Double Happiness, Grey’s Anatomy) was approached but had to pass on the project. (“She’s too busy,” says Bradley. “Not surprising!”)

The bursary—named for late NSI Features First program manager Jim Murphy—rewards innovative marketing ideas from feature filmmakers enrolled in the NSI Features First training course. “Part of Maureen’s marketing proposal included building her secondary audience—the LGBT demographic—for her film in the tradition of Better Than Chocolate in 1999,” says Jane Gutteridge, member of the bursary jury and a close friend of Murphy’s. “Jim was involved with that project from script stage to innovatively marketing the theatrical release. He was very proud of that breakthrough film, so I know he’d be behind Two 4 One.”

Bradley pitching her NSI project (photo: Merging Media Inc)

Bradley pitching her NSI project (photo: Merging Media Inc)

Better still, it turns out Bradley has her own connection to the Anne Wheeler’s famed Canadian lesbian rom-com. “After we told Maureen she had won the bursary she shared with us that the filmmaking team behind Better Than Chocolate—writer Peggy Thompson, producer Sharon McGowan and director Anne Wheeler—were her mentors, which really brought this story full circle.”

Bradley is obviously pleased, beyond the economic boost. “I’m honoured that the jury felt my film was something Jim would have enjoyed, and is worthy of this generous award.” Word of Bradley’s award also appeared on the PlayBack fillm news site.

The Jim Murphy Filmmakers Bursary was created in memory of Murphy. Donations were received from friends, former employers, associates, students and admirers along with a founding contribution of $15,000 from longtime colleagues and friends René Malo, Stephen Greenberg and Dan Lyon, and the National Screen Institute.

NSI Features First is a feature film development training course for teams of first or second time writers, directors and producers. NSI Features First 2013 is made possible by presenting sponsor Telefilm Canada; program partners the Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation and Shaw Media.