As Hollywood continues to rake in billions of dollars and independent films become easier to make, the region saw a fair number of productions using the Thompson or Okanagan regions as a film set.
HOLLYWOOD IN THE THOMPSON-OKANAGAN
There were a few big productions in the area this year, but none likely took over a city quite like the upcoming Power Rangers film in Kamloops. The central B.C. city is standing in for the fictional American town of Angel Grove. Production shut down streets in downtown as the city got dressed up to play the part, while hundreds of extras were hired. There’s a trailer already out for the film which is to be currently set to be released March 24, 2017.
In Cache Creek, the next part of the Maze Runner series, called the Death Cure, has started shooting. The production experienced delays after star Dylan O’Brien was injured on set. The production appears to still be halted and the release date has been pushed to 2018.
Academy Award winner Nicholas Cage has also been in the area recently, surprising grocery clerks and shooting futuristic film The Humanity Bureau. Production recently wrapped up on the Okanagan Falls set. A costume designer who worked with Cage says the A-lister had never been to the region before, but thought the Okanagan was a beautiful area.
While Blackway, also known as Go With Me, was shot at the end of 2014, Enderby Entertainment’s film, starring Sir Anthony Hopkins, Julia Stiles and Ray Liotta, was released this June, with a special screening for the North Okanagan town which hosted the production.
An American TV show came to the region as well, with Drink Slay Love, a teen vampire series, shooting in Vernon at the end of summer.
DOCUMENTARIES FOCUS ON B.C.'s INTERIOR
Not everything being put to screen was fiction, as a couple of documentary films and a TV series focused the lens on life in the region.
A Kamloops high school was the subject of a six part TV show called This Is High School, with cameras delving into the lives of students and teachers. While it was shot in April this year, it was broadcast this October on CBC.
B.C.'s infamous Highway of Tears will have a new perspective explored with the upcoming documentary Hat’ak looking at the theory there are multiple serial killers living along the notorious stretch of highway.
Jackieland, a documentary about Westwold’s Jackie Cooke also saw the silver screen, with a screening at the illustrious Cannes Film Festival.
A number of locals had success in the film industry, as their skills were used in feature films, from costumes to screenwriting to acting.
While extras are often cast from the local population, not every actor gets to work along side a knight, but Chad Fortin of Kelowna got just that when he was cast alongside Anthony Hopkins in Blackway.
And some people in West Kelowna may have recognized a face in Deadpool, as 18-year-old Taylor Hickson had a role as one of the people saved by Ryan Reynold’s Wade Wilson character.
Based out of 70 Mile House, buffalo rancher Rudy Karlen was a little overwhelmed after one of his hides made its Hollywood debut wrapped around Leonardo DiCaprio in the star’s Academy Award winning role in The Revenant.
Meanwhile, Vesta Giles, a Kamloops woman, will see two years of her hard work on TV as her screenplay titled Justice Unleashed has been picked up by Lifetime Films, and the company has shown an interest in a second piece of her work.
Local documentarian Adam Scorgie is exploring the life of one of Hollywood's most dangerous looking men in Danny Trejo. The film looks at Trejo’s life from death row inmate to Hollywood regular. Scorgie is also part of the team behind Lord Jones is Dead, producing the film while Rutland’s Andrew Holmes directed.
Signs of interest in the film industry are appearing in other ways as well.
The Kamloops Film Festival had its 20th anniversary, while a film studio is being considered for the Okanagan.
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