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Watch for these well-known Vernon and Kelowna landmarks on the silver screen

Camera assistant Jordan Powers behind the scenes during filming at Paddlewheel Park in Vernon.
Image Credit: Craig Pulsifer Photos/ Courtesy of Minds Eye Entertainment
June 27, 2017 - 9:00 PM

Okanagan residents will recognize numerous locations in the upcoming film Distorted, featuring Christina Ricci and John Cusack.

Minds Eye Entertainment began shooting the film at the end of May and wrapped up Monday, June 26, according to CEO and producer Kevin De Walt.

Numerous scenes were shot in Kelowna, including at Third Space Coffee, the Kelowna branch of the Okanagan Regional Library, the Rotary Centre for the Arts and Kelowna Mountain. In Vernon, crews filmed at Restoration Lands Inc. (the former Lavington Glass Plant), Paddlewheel Park, Triumph Coffee, Nixon Wenger, Pleasant Valley Cemetery, the Mackie Lake House, Kalamalka Lakeview Drive Lookout and the Vernon Water Reclamation Centre (the sewage treatment plant).

“We needed an interior building that had a lot of piping, very industrial looking,” De Walt says. “Believe it or not, that building has an amazing interior.”

Crews filming at Restoration Lands in Lavington.
Crews filming at Restoration Lands in Lavington.
Image Credit: Craig Pulsifer Photos/ Courtesy of Minds Eye Entertainment

He says passersby were quite interested in the activity, especially in high profile locations like Triumph Coffee on 30 Avenue in Vernon.

“There were lots of people coming by, standing at the corner, trying to get a peak of John or Christina, our two stars,” De Walt says. “The community was very supportive.”

He says the City of Vernon was very accommodating in providing the permits required for shooting in the municipality.

“The mayor came and hung around for a couple hours and watched the activity. They are very supportive and want us to come back,” De Walt says.

A scene being shot outside the Okanagan Regional Library in Kelowna.
A scene being shot outside the Okanagan Regional Library in Kelowna.
Image Credit: Craig Pulsifer Photos/ Courtesy of Minds Eye Entertainment

Vernon Mayor Akbal Mund says he was amazed at how many people were involved in the production.

“There must have been 50 people up there (Kal lookout). They had food trays and they were up there for about four hours…. It’s amazing. That adds to your economy,” he says. “A lot of these people were staying in Vernon…. The people involved are spending money in our community and it’s big money.”

Filming at the Kalamalka Lake lookout
Filming at the Kalamalka Lake lookout
Image Credit: Craig Pulsifer Photos/ Courtesy of Minds Eye Entertainment

The mayor welcomes more film activity in the future, and doesn’t think it will be long before the cameras are rolling again.

“They don’t like Kelowna because of all the traffic and the time it takes them to find parking spaces and get going. They said ‘we’d rather come to Vernon,’” Mund says.

Distorted is the second film Minds Eye has shot in Vernon and the third in the Okanagan. Last summer, parts of The Recall were filmed in Vernon, and scenes for The Humanity Bureau starring Nicolas Cage were shot in December 2016 in Okanagan Falls.

Crews hauling their gear around Kelowna Mountain
Crews hauling their gear around Kelowna Mountain
Image Credit: Craig Pulsifer Photos/ Courtesy of Minds Eye Entertainment

“The (Okanagan) Valley is just so beautiful and so diverse,” De Walt says. “It gives us all sorts of opportunities for scenes.”

He adds that shooting in small communities also eliminates the traffic congestion and logistics of shooting in a bigger city like Vancouver.

“I must say, we are two times lucky (in Vernon) because it was a great experience,” De Walt says.

He says the stars enjoyed the area as well, with Ricci taking her kids to the Kangaroo farm in Lake Country.

Minds Eye will be scouting this summer for new films and hope to be shooting in the Okanagan again soon.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston or call 250-309-5230 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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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2017
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