In just over a year, Mitch Fillion, the Toronto-based filmmaker behind Southern Souls, has released three feature films. He did it with virtually no budget — less than $5,000. He wrote, directed, edited, and acted in them himself. The trilogy explores fringe theories related to hidden knowledge, expanding human consciousness, and other assorted esoterica. The latest installment, Who Is This Now?, released recently online, pores over the evidence hidden in gatefolds and reverse lyrics that Paul McCartney died in a car accident in September 1966 and was replaced as Beatles' co-lead by a lookalike named Billy Shepherd.
Fillion calls his films "disguised documentaries." They take place in a slightly altered version of reality. He plays an exaggerated version of himself. In Who Is This Now?, he tries to sell friends on the various theories and clues trafficked in late-night bong sessions and piled high on internet forums that Sir Paul isn't who we think he is, travelling further down the Paul Is Dead rabbit-hole himself. There are a number of scenes — interesting for their similarity — whereupon hearing a lyric in a new light or learning about a symbol buried in album art, Fillion's interviewee say some version of: "This is so crazy!" At once, it's "this is too crazy!" and a "but mayyybe?"
For the film's soundtrack (maybe for copyright purposes), Fillion invited Canadian musicians to cover Beatles' songs related to the theories. "I wanted to breathe new life into these amazing tunes that are close to over 50 years old now," he says. "The film tells of an alternative, dark history of the Beatles and I wanted the music to reflect that as well."
Fillion's compiled a remarkable collection of Canadian songwriters reimagining old classics. Shawn William Clarke, for example, turns in a regal "She's Leaving Home." Max and Maxine Moon (that's Josh St. Denis from Pucumber Sasssquash Family Band and Becky Katz from Sourpussy) make "Eleanor Rigby" into a noise pop odyssey.
"There is something cool about all of them," Fillion says. "Little Kid's 'Blue Jay Way' is one of my favourites. They even took the trouble of hiding the reversed messages in some of the choruses which is amazing."
"I'm just so glad we finally get to share these awesome covers in their entirety."
Watch Who Is This Now here. The tracklist follows below the player.
1. Odd Years, "Two Of Us"
2. Little Kid, "Blue Jay Way"
3. Mattie Leon, "Goodbye"
4. JJ Ipsen, "The Long And Winding Road"
5. Colleen Dauncey, "Day Tripper"
6. Alex Pulec, "Mother Nature's Son"
7. Cuff The Duke, "Instant Karma"
8. Shawn William Clarke, "She's Leaving Home"
9. Kieran Blake, "I Will"
10. Max And Maxine Moon, "Eleanor Rigby"
11. Robbie Grunwald, "The Fool On The Hill"