In his 11th feature film, Emmy-nominated filmmaker Warren P. Sonoda (Trailer Park Boys, Coopers Camera, 5ive Girls) brings his most personal and daring film to date, Things I Do For Money. His desire to reconnect with his Japanese-Canadian roots, coupled with an idea to explore genre-mash ups with his extensive music-video background, creates a fun, kinetic, crime/caper/classical-cello movie with a cultural twist. At the centre of this maelstrom are talented newcomers Theodor and Maximilian Aoki, who not only star in the film, but also compose and perform the entire original score together on their cellos, two things they’ve never done before.
Shot in 13 days (with 2 pickup days) in the hot-ass summer of 2018, with many of the main cast never having acted before in their lives, the TIDFM team is thrilled to be premiering at film festivals around the world and theatrically in Canada during the winter of 2019/spring 2020.
Seventeen-year-old ELI YAGUCHI has been waiting all his life for this coming Saturday. He and older brother, NICK, are playing their cellos in front of famed conductor of the Banff Conservatory, MAESTRO BENITO. If he likes their performance they’re in, if he doesn’t… Eli doesn’t want to think about it.
Unfortunately for Eli, Nick has other plans. He’s tired of living for his parents, TOSH AND MARY YAGUCHI, and has aspirations of his own. Working at Blinx, a rock’n roll bar owned by Hamilton gangster ALEXI RADULI, is where he sees his future. Either performing for an audience in his band or partying with mobsters in the back room – doesn’t make much difference to him; it’s all good times.
But having missed several key rehearsals with Eli, Nick knows the audition isn’t going to happen, so when Alexi offers the brothers some easy money working as lookouts for one of his nefarious activities, Nick’s good to go. Always wanting to please his big brother, Eli acquiesces. Little does either brother know that they’re both now on the radar of BRENDA MICKEL, a seventy-year-old mobster matriarch, whose plans for them are going to change their lives forever.
But most cities have a rogue agent or five and this one’s no different. Alexi Raduli wreaks havoc in the Hamilton underworld, from breaking Tosh’s arm out of spite to wiping out an entire rival drug family, the TURCOTTS, on a whim. And with every crime he commits, Alexi drags the Yaguchi boys farther and deeper into his criminal world. He must be stopped, but that’s easier said than done.
JUST JIMMY, a Vancouver hit man brought to Hamilton to kill Alexi under orders from Mary, gives it his best shot but to no avail, only injuring his target and losing the $20,000 he was paid by Mary to do the job. Things go from bad to worse when Eli witnesses the bloody shoot-out with his new friend and confidant LAURA, who quickly takes the “found” bag of blood money, not knowing it belongs to a lethal West Coast assassin.
Saturday finally arrives, and Eli and Nick do perform, but not in any way they could ever have imagined. Through lies, manipulation and coercion Alexi and Brenda have contrived to have the young cellists play a wealthy philanthropist’s fundraiser. The brothers must play a demanding double cello concerto with such eye-riveting passion that no one in the crowded room will notice when Alexi disappears with an $8 million dollar painting on display. With lives literally hanging in the balance, the boys have to play like never before, truly a performance of a lifetime.