Award-winning film used Penticton to capture small-town Canadiana | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Award-winning film used Penticton to capture small-town Canadiana

The Kiwanis Walking Pier in Penticton was among the many locations in Penticton used for a scene in the film Drinkwater.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED

A film that used Penticton as the backdrop for life in small-town Canada won an award after its world premier at the Calgary International Film Festival.

“You put your blood sweat and tears into a making film,” producer Graham Fraser said. “But a lot of the creativity in your mind doesn’t always resonate with other people. Sometimes you have a great plot idea, but it misses. And you can’t help but worry that you might miss.”

While nervously sitting amongst the audience during the premier of his film Drinkwater, it was a relief to hear how much the audience was laughing at the jokes.

During a question and answer session at the end of the movie, some audience members didn’t want to leave.

“I was thinking, ‘they love our film, this is really good.’ I had a little bit of tears in my eyes,” Fraser said.

The award Drinkwater won was for Audience Choice Award, Best Canadian Narrative.

READ MORE: Film crew in Penticton to shoot pilot for Kevin Costner-produced TV series

The inspiration for the movie came from “a fun little school project” Fraser made with a friend in the early 1980s, and recorded the first version of Drinkwater on a Super 8 camera.

“Forty years later my son got a hold of it and said, ‘why don’t we redo this?’”

The 2021 version of Drinkwater is loosely based on the original film but stands alone as its own story. The new version is set in the present day but has a tone of the 1980s, Fraser said, thanks to a retro soundtrack and lack of smartphones.

“You feel like you’re going back in time, but it is based in the modern day.”

Fraser lives in Penticton now but was a resident of Grimsby, Ontario 40 years ago when the original Drinkwater was produced. He feels like both communities are great places to capture life in small town Canada.

Local viewers will recognize scenes from Penticton Secondary School, the South Okanagan Events Centre, the top of Munson Mountain, the KVR trail, and the SS Sicamous. Also many local hockey players were needed as background actors.

“During the opening accolades, the character is running through town – kind of a little tour of Penticton,” he said.

“Drinkwater really showcases the amenities in Penticton. The high school has those vibes of small town – when you go inside you can really appreciate how it’s not some cookie-cutter high school.”

READ MORE: Movie filmed in Penticton starring Eric McCormack wins big at film festival

Fraser initially thought the project would operate on a shoestring budget and rely heavily on locals. But in the era of COVID, film studios in Los Angeles had been shut down, so there was a big pool of talent yearning to get creative. There ended up being over 3,500 actors who auditioned for the two main roles.

Starring in Drinkwater are Eric McCormack of Will & Grace, Daniel Doheny of Adventures In Public School, and Louriza Tronco from The Order.

Fraser said his team wants to share Drinkwater with audiences in Penticton but they are waiting until theatres in the province are allowed to operate at full capacity, which he expects will be some time in 2022.

A behind-the-scene photo from the film Drinkwater.
A behind-the-scene photo from the film Drinkwater.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED

To contact a reporter for this story, email Dan Walton or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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