Ara Ball, director of Love Digs a Hole, transposes his cult 2013 short film, Hurricane Fuck You Tabarnak!, into a feature film. Camped in 1991, Hurricane F.Y.T. follows an 11-year-old boy from a disadvantaged background and a dysfunctional family who takes his destiny into his own hands.

Before shooting the short film L’Ouragan Fuck You Tabarnak!, launched in 2013 at Fantasia, Ara Ball, who already had the short film Bros. (2009) to his credit, made a six-month trip to India. During the trip, he meets young people living in extreme poverty. Their resilience and energy will inspire the character of Delphis, aka Hurricane, an 11-year-old boy born to poor parents, who runs around in the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve district.

“In the 1980s and 1990s, we talked about street youth in Montreal in the media; Their situation was completely different from that of young people in India, but there was a connection. I was very affected by what I saw there and it completely changed my life. They say that India is changing, and it’s true because I became the filmmaker that I am after this experience. Honestly, India was the start of everything for me,” says the filmmaker.

At the time when he shot his short film with the paltry sum of $10,000, Ara Ball had no idea that he would turn it into a feature film around ten years later. Even less than the financial institutions will grant him 3 million to make a resolutely punk film where a young teenager shouts his revolt in an uninhibited song. To achieve this, he will call on Tania Duguay-Castilloux.

“Having Tania’s pen helped me to have a different perspective. It was important to give another meaning to the film. The short film is a shocking proposition while the feature film is a story, with some disturbing moments. The point of the feature film was to find out if I could save this boy. »

Originally played by Luka Limoges, Delphis is played this time by newcomer Justin Labelle. Originally from Mont-Tremblay, the young boy made a big impression from the first audition: “When he screamed and cried, you felt that something was happening. We really loved the humanity he exuded, it gave us chills. He told us that he was touched when he saw homeless people and that he wanted to make this film for them. During filming, which lasted six weeks, his voice changed and he grew two inches taller. Fortunately we shot almost everything in chronological order. »

Expelled from school, his father (Patrice Dubois) in prison, his mother (Larissa Corriveau) devastated since his little brother was placed in foster care, Delphis flees the family home in order to escape the police and the DPJ. Soon, he finds refuge in the cave, a vast hovel occupied by a gang of punks led by Ben (Nico Racicot). With these young people left behind, Delphis will have the impression of being part of a family.

“Family is not just school, institutions, the family unit. The majority of these young people come from a broken environment and together they create a peaceful environment in their own way. It’s not perfect, but there is a form of respect towards men and women, towards themselves. Hurricane has no respect for himself or others, which is why for the first time in his life, thanks to this family, he finds love. »

If Ara Ball, who calls himself a punk at heart, wanted to set the action in 1991, as he did for the 2013 short film, it is first and foremost because he wanted to reproduce the aesthetic punk bands from Montreal, New York and California. Then, it was because he wanted to talk about the street youth who were squatting in buildings left vacant in the 1980s and 1990s.

“I was asked if it was possible to transpose the story to today. With Tania, we tried to do the exercise. Unfortunately, there are social issues, such as domestic violence, that have changed, especially after COVID. With cell phones and the Internet, street youth do not experience the same things, the same ordeals. The story would have been completely different and the joual would undoubtedly have been less present. »

Like the short film, L’Ouragan F.Y.T. is in black and white, with the exception of the beginning and end of the film which are in color: “We discussed it a lot with the director of photography Ian Lagarde and the production. I wanted the fantasy world of the Hurricane to be in black and white and its reality in color. »

Although full of moments of humor and dreaminess, L’Ouragan F.Y.T. is based on solid research in the field, with Ara Ball keen to bring to the screen an authentic universe populated by characters who speak the truth who live, sometimes against their will, in difficult, revolting situations.

“Cinema is a reflection of society. We see injustice everywhere in the world, regardless of the political or social situation. I didn’t want to make a sad film or one that expressed rage. More than anything, the Hurricane wants to be heard, listened to. Unfortunately, he is clumsy and doesn’t understand what he is doing because of his environment, which makes him a violent, mixed-up child. With this film, I don’t want to shock for the sake of shocking, but to bring the viewer to understand this child and to give a voice to those who don’t have one. »