Elliot Scott is a walking contradiction. He is a slim, friendly guy, yet also a kickboxing champion. He is laid back, but works as an independent filmmaker. He dreams of being Canada’s Chuck Norris and the star of a blockbuster action film. Hard at work on his third film, Blood Fight, Scott’s lavish dreams are out of touch with reality. He strains to make a career as a filmmaker work in a tough economy, which interferes with his relationship with directing partner and girlfriend Linda Lum. The deeper in debt our wannabe action hero becomes, the more secrets about his true alter ego appear.

Like a Maritime-set American Movie, Kung Fu Elliot is an underdog story about a minor filmmaker that becomes a fascinating character study. Matthew Bauckman and Jaret Belliveau’s doc turns bizarre as we learn more about the film’s subject. Slowly, their doc turns into an exploration of the price of fame and what dreams are really made of. The directors even manage to pull off a twist ending – not an easy feat for a non-fiction film.

Some of the behind-the-scenes stories with the eccentric cast and crew are both funny and tender, although the film sags when it strays from Scott and Lum. However, the couple’s off-kilter relationship is riveting and sometimes painful to watch, which overcomes some of the pacing problems. The arrogant and idealistic Scott is one of the most unforgettable documentary subjects in years. His journey to be Canada’s action hero takes the viewer to some dark places – and to spill any secrets would be criminal.

Is Kung Fu Elliot essential festival viewing?

Yes. Kung Fu Elliot is one of the strangest and most bewildering Canadian docs in ages. It is bound to both amuse and arrest audiences who like to go behind-the-scenes, as we meet one of the country’s most compelling creative types.

Kung Fu Elliot screening times

Kung Fu Elliot trailer

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