ENDERBY - A little bit of Hollywood magic lit up the big screen — and the iconic Enderby cliffs — at the world premiere of Blackway in the North Okanagan last night.
The film, which was shot in Enderby, Vernon and Lumby and produced by Enderby Entertainment, saw roughly 1,200 locals cram into their cars and turn up their radios for a special night at the Starlight Drive-In June 2. The dark thriller stars Sir Anthony Hopkins, Ray Liotta, Julia Stiles, and Alexander Ludwig. It also features Okanagan actors Chris Gauthier, Chad Fortin and Taylor Hickson in smaller roles.
Just before the movie started, lights were projected onto the Enderby cliffs spelling out the word ‘Blackway.’ The illumination could be seen not just from the drive-in, but across the valley.
One of the producers, Rick Dugdale, grew up in Enderby and has spent many nights at the drive-in himself.
“I’d always drive by thinking 'that would make a great place for a movie premiere,'” Dugdale says.
The film created a lot of excitement during shooting and that energy was felt again at last night’s screening. The drive-in seats 300 cars and all tickets to the private event were giveaways.
“I wouldn’t be here without the support of these people, and our film wouldn’t be where it is without these people. If we can inspire the community and get it rallying together, that’s what this is all about,” Dugdale says.
Co-producer Daniel Petrie Jr., from Los Angeles, says filming in Enderby, and debuting the film at the drive-in, has been a one-of-a-kind experience.
“How often can you hear a director ask a question of ‘can we shoot at such and such an intersection,’ and your producer says ‘I’ll have to check with the city, let me call her…. hi mom...,’” Petrie says.
“When you make a movie in a town, especially a town that is not used to filming, sometimes those relationships don’t end so well, but when they do it becomes a place in your heart and the town and the community has an appreciation for what you do.”
As the sun went down in the hour before the screening, Swedish director Daniel Alfredson — who was enjoying his first time ever at a drive-in theatre — commented on just how large a role the town and the natural scenery played in the film.
“The nature and the surroundings were extremely important to tell the story. That’s why we felt this was a good place. I always thought from the beginning, we felt like it was the fifth character in this film and part of the story in so many ways. It couldn’t have happened in a city or anywhere else,” Alfredson says.
The town and local landmarks were easily recognizable in the film, with images of Main Street, the bridge and the mill generating excited whispers from the audience.
After the screening, guests were invited to an after party complete with a red carpet.
Blackway will open in select theatres June 10.
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