Directed by Jaret Belliveau, Matthew Bauckman
Kung Fu Elliot tells the story of Elliot “White Lightning” Scott, an amateur martial artist who dreams of becoming Canada’s first action hero with his low-budget karate epic, Blood Fight. This surreal documentary captures two years in the lives of a passionate amateur filmmaker, his supportive partner Linda, and their outrageous cast—all trying to realize their dreams.
The writer, director, and star of low-budget short films such Stalker and the Hero and They Killed My Cat, Elliot affectionately describes his brand of filmmaking as “respectable cheese.” According to Elliot, his films have picked up numerous awards at festivals, and his loyal fan base on Facebook is on the rise. Billing himself as a champion kickboxer, Elliot hopes that Blood Fight will secure the attention of a film distributor and make him famous. Elliot enlists the help of an eccentric group of locals to participate in the film, including his friend Blake, a self-proclaimed method actor, who is cast as the villain.
The making of Blood Fight tests not only Elliot’s filmmaking chops, but also his relationship with his partner Linda. The sole breadwinner in the relationship, Linda wants Elliot to have gainful employment, so he can finally propose to her – preferably with a ring. When they lose the footage of the critical final scene of the film, Blood Fight is put on hold. In the meantime, with Linda’s encouragement, Elliot enrolls in acupuncture school. But instead of hunkering down with his studies, Elliot seizes the opportunity to take a class trip to China, where he can film additional scenes to make Blood Fight even better.
Once abroad, Elliot spends more time chatting with girls and taking pictures with tourists, boasting that he’s “the Canadian version of Jackie Chan.” Two of his classmates on the trip provide running commentary on Elliot’s exploits including a late-night encounter that he has with a masseuse. This indiscretion, coupled with his inability to find a jade ring for Linda, calls Elliot’s commitment to his relationship into question.
When he returns to Canada with lots of kung fu DVDs but no ring, Linda’s patience wears thin as well as the cast who are wondering when Blood Fight will finally be finished. With everyone’s hopes and dreams pinned on Elliot, he retreats further into his world of make-believe, and this comedic-drama unfolds into a shocking and complex examination of the lies we tell ourselves.