Morgan Spurlock gives local filmmaker huge boost

Victoria-raised documentarian Brent Hodge received the equivalent of a filmmaker’s dream Tuesday afternoon when it was announced that Oscar nominee Morgan Spurlock has hand-picked Hodge’s new film for a theatrical run in the U.S. later this year.

A Brony Tale, Hodge’s offbeat documentary highlighting diehard male fans of the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic cartoon, will be released to between 20 and 30 U.S. theatres in July under the Morgan Spurlock Presents banner. The film will also be released on cable and at various video-on-demand services, with Spurlock’s endorsement — an especially favourable set of circumstances for an unknown director making his first feature-length film.

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The hands-on involvement of the Super Size Me director made the deal even sweeter, Hodge said. “Morgan is a massive idol of mine. He’s one of the reasons I got into this.”

Hodge, 28, was in New York on Tuesday readying A Brony Tale for its world première at the Tribeca Film Festival. The film’s Saturday screening at the Chelsea Bow Tie Cinema sold-out days ago, reaching its capacity just five hours after tickets went on sale.

“What a crazy world we’re in right now,” Hodge said. “I can’t believe the buzz this is getting. I don’t know what to say.”

The film has been graced with as much pre-festival hype as any documentary appearing at the festival.

According to Newsweek, De Niro mentioned A Brony Tale as one of the movies he was looking forward to seeing at the festival he co-founded, which gives Hodge’s film extra heft.

And Spurlock’s deal will only increase A Brony Tale’s visibility.

“This is what you want,” Hodge said. “It’s a celebration.”

A Brony Tale chronicles the story of Ashleigh Ball, a former Victoria student who voices a number of characters in the My Little Pony cartoon, as she travels to the annual Brony convention in New York.

Ball, a former Canadian College of Performing Arts student who also fronts Vancouver rock band Hey Ocean!, will join Hodge at the screening on Saturday.

The two friends, who now live in Vancouver, will do everything in their power to screen the film in B.C., even if Hodge has to foot the bill himself.

“I don’t know about Canada yet, it’s just a matter of timing. But I will absolutely make sure it goes to Victoria.”

mdevlin@timescolonist.com

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