Kelowna film crews donned Black Lives Matter T-shirts Tuesday for their final day on set to show their support for the movement following an incident in which a Vancouver film company told a crew member to remove their BLM shirt.
Two weeks ago, a Vancouver film company apologized after asking one of its crew members to remove their Black Lives Matter shirt while on set because it was “too political," according to a Global News report.
Black Lives Matter’s Vancouver chapter then asked film crews across B.C. to wear a shirt to show their support the movement.
“It was a misunderstanding back in Vancouver two weeks ago and a lot of things happened and were said so I thought it would be a good opportunity to bring it back to the forefront… It’s a human rights issue and it’s global,” said Reel One Entertainment producer Costa Vasso.
Grey Hearts Denim co-owners Paul Reyes and Sean Whyte created the T-shirts for the cast and crew to promote the message. The clothing company was already selling similar shirts with part of the proceeds being donated to Campaign Zero, which aims to end police brutality in America.
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“Being multiracial as well, it’s something that’s been important to us from the beginning,” Reyes said. “It was a great opportunity to send a positive message… we all have these industries that we work in, and film might be one that’s under the spotlight a little more.”
Grey Hearts distributed roughly 80 T-shirts to the cast and crew.
“We had someone came into the shop today and said they saw all the Black Lives Matter shirts on set… people are noticing it,” Whyte said.
During the last few weeks, film crews have been shooting a Hallmark holiday film which wrapped up March 9. Its working title is "Falling for Christmas."
"I think our industry is making huge changes to try to be more inclusive and it’s nice to be on this set where the producers are promoting that,” said director Jessica Harmon.
Vassos, with Reel One Entertainment, is already prepping for the next movie and will be filming again on March 29.
“The locations (in the Okanagan) are amazing, the community is very supportive, there’s a lot of talent up here, 95% of the crew is local, there are great actors and actresses here and there are some beautiful locations here that you can’t find in Vancouver,” he said.
The film industry has been booming in the Okanagan over the last year, with movies booked well into the summer of 2021, according to Jon Summerland, Okanagan film commissioner.
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