After much success with Sveva, Prisoner of Vernon, Passion for Fire, and Whose Grandma Are You?, local filmmaker Jim Elderton is back with his new full-length film, Curtain Call, which screens at the Vernon Performing Arts Centre Wednesday.
This behind-the-scenes story brings the backstage world of theatre into sharp focus as it follows former Olympian rhythmic gymnast Camille Martens leading her Cirque Theatre Company to its 2010 stage production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
“I thought a cirque theatre show would be a great subject for a backstage story. And Camille agreed to cooperate,” said Elderton, a former BBC assistant and editor who has worked on numerous documentaries and music videos.
After moving to the Okanagan in 2002, Elderton soon became familiar with Martens’ story.
After competing in the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games, Martens went on to start the Okanagan Rhythmic Gymnastics Club in Vernon.
She has since trained children and teens in all disciplines of rhythmic gymnastics, many of them going on to compete and place in national and international events, and has expanded her club to include circus and theatre arts as part of her Cirque Theatre Company.
Once a year, her two companies mount an elaborate dance theatre show at the Vernon Performing Arts Centre.
And the 2010 production proved to be the ideal platform for Elderton to capture the backstage action.
Elderton filmed at the club’s gym, located in East Vernon, for two months as the routines and story were developed.
In the film, you see how Martens involves her highly qualified coaching colleagues to collaborate on story development and dance routines, while theatre specialists Dave Brotsky and Lana O’Brien work to provide set and lighting design and drama coaching.
The production’s adult roles were rounded out by actors, including Ben McLean taking on the role of Willy Wonka.
“For the role of Charlie, they needed a boy who could act and dance, and Cameron Fraser-Monroe proved to be ideal,” said Elderton.
“The kids work to an incredibly high standard, and soon learned to ignore the camera. The gym is not only the exact size needed for the rhythmic gymnastics performance area, it’s also identical in width to the Performing Arts Centre stage.”
Editing started in January, and Elderton was still filming inserts and interviews up until last month.
The film comes just as Martens and her Cirque Theatre Company plan to stage Alice in Wonderland as their next production, expected to take the stage at the Performing Arts Centre in November.
But first, relive the magic of last year’s show when Curtain Call hits the big screen Wednesday at 8 p.m.
The screening will also feature a live stage performance by Martens and her athletes and performers in the Okanagan Rhythmic Gymnastics Club and the Cirque Theatre Company.
Tickets to this special presentation put on by the Vernon Performing Arts Centre Society are $15/adult, $12/senior, $10/student, $5 eyeGO, available at the Ticket Seller box office, 250-549-7469, www.ticketseller.ca.