A Hollywood producer with North Okanagan roots is embracing the industry’s growing presence in the region.
Two films are currently being shot at a studio set up at the former Far West factory on Vernon’s Highway 6.
“I’m thrilled to see it,” said Rick Dugdale, with Enderby Entertainment, while in Finland.
Dugdale shot Blackway in the area in 2014 using temporary production facilities and he says permanent infrastructure is critical for the North Okanagan and the industry long-term.
“The place to do it is Vernon because of the convenience of the Kelowna airport,” he said.
“Also, there is diverse geography in the North Okanagan because you can go to Enderby with the mountains, Lumby and the forest and Vernon and Sparkling Hill have a different look.”
With a permanent studio, Dugdale insists that will lead to skilled extras and crew living in the North Okanagan, which becomes a draw for productions.
Drink Slay Love has been using a number of students as extras for the teen-vampire movie.
“This industry can be inspiring and it’s great to hear young people are getting involved,” said Dugdale.
Dugdale has had some initial discussions with the operators of the studio.
“I will meet with them and they want me to get involved,” he said.
Blackway was premiered in June at Enderby’s Starlight Drive-In and the film continues to generate considerable exposure.
“It’s had a lot of great reviews and it’s been in the top 10 across all platforms — on demand,” said Dugdale, who grew up in Enderby.
“We’re quite happy with the release and all of the support in the Okanagan has helped.”
Dugdale will take part in a Norwegian film festival, where Blackway will be featured.
“It’s way up in the Arctic Circle,” he said.
Dugdale is currently travelling Europe — Scandinavia, Russia, Britain, Turkey, Germany and the Balkans — as he scouts locations for a trilogy. It will be directed by Daniel Alfredson, who was also behind the camera on Blackway.
“It’s pretty big,” said Dugdale of the trilogy.
He also anticipates being back in the North Okanagan this fall to prepare for the thriller Nomis.