Those wandering around Greater Vernon this week may trip upon the lights, camera and action of a film crew working on a new movie project.
Vernon filmmaker Randy Kirk of Whole Village Moving Pictures and One Inch Punch Productions and a local crew and cast of actors are working on a true-to-life love story set against a background of local landmarks.
“This love story took place right here in Vernon over 30 years ago and we are using some real, local locations from the story such as the Vernon Towne Theatre and Kal Beach,” said Kirk. “We will also be shooting at the Allan Brooks Nature Centre and they have been super supportive, as has the City of Vernon, RDNO and the District of Coldstream.”
The film, Crimson and Blue, is a personal story for Kirk.
“It’s a story about the power of your first love and how it can resonate with you throughout your life,” he said. “Anyone who has had a first love will be able to relate to this story in their own unique way, which makes this film special.”
The film stars recent W.L. Seaton graduate and stage actress Ariel Klim, who just appeared in the 27th Street Theatre production of The Tempest as well as in Lights of Broadway’s Mary Poppins in May.
Co-starring alongside Klim is Nikolas Filipovic, of Penticton, who recently starred in the Victoria-filmed TV series Gracepoint (the American remake of the hit U.K. series Broadchurch).
Vernon actor Corky McMechan and two Vancouver actresses, Ashley Fetters and Jessica Timmons, are also in town to work on the project, while Kirk’s son, Ryan, and Jim Henry are co-producers.
“All the hard-working crew is local except for my DOP (director of photography) William D. Amendola, who is from Squamish,” said Kirk. “We have worked on several films together and can often communicate without speaking, which can be a good thing on set.”
The North Okanagan is becoming a hot spot for filmmaking. Not only has the area been the star of two Hollywood produced films, Tomorrowland and Blackway, in the past three years, but independent filmmaking is also popular in this part of the valley, with a number of local filmmakers honing their craft.
“This is the third film I have shot in the Okanagan in the past three years,” said Kirk, whose short film, The Phoenix Solution, picked up a number of awards at the Okanagan Society of Independent Filmmaking’s sixth annual HorrorFest in 2014.
“It is not easy being a filmmaker as everyone thinks you have lots money when, in fact, you don’t. Often, most of my budget is from my savings and I only shoot when I can,” said Kirk.
Despite that, Kirk says it’s the people he has met and collaborated with on film projects that makes it worthwhile.
“It takes a village to make a film and that village is my success,” he said.
Whole Village’s last project, Temple, shot in Kelowna and Vernon last summer, is expected for release this fall.
“We will be making more films right here in the future so please, support your local filmmakers. We do good things,” said Kirk.
For more information on filmmaking in the Okanagan, visit the Okanagan Society for Independent Filmmaking’s website at osif.org.