Local filmmakers make the cut

Two local filmmakers are about to get the chance of a lifetime, as they have been selected as one of 12 finalists chosen from across Canada to participate in the Whistler Film Festival’s China/Canada Gateway Competition.

Wendy Ord and Glen Samuel of Mountain Lake Films beat the odds against hundreds of submissions from writers across the country, with their script synopsis for a film project called ‘Rock Bottom’.

“We feel extraordinarily lucky to be chosen as a finalist,” says Ord.

“There were well over 100 entries from big production companies, well known Los Angeles based Canadian writers and the other contenders are very high profile writer/producers.”

At stake is a co-production deal with up to $15-million in financing.

Each of the 12 finalists will have seven minutes to pitch their idea in front of an audience as well as the group of panelists, who will then vote on which presentation they like the best. There will also be an eight-minute question period after each group is done.

“Basically what’s happened is the three biggest film production companies in China have made a partnership with various Canadian film entities,” explains Samuel.

“They’d like to broaden the appeal of the films they’re involved with for an international audience.  And they’re actively trying to find applicable co-productions where they’ll partner with people like us… to try and produce movies that are more international in appeal.”

As part of their presentation, Ord and Samuel have put together a teaser trailer which includes a compilation of scenes from movies they envision Rock Bottom of emulating. It will be set to music, with a voice over explaining the premise of their movie.

Together, Ord and Samuel have been writing and developing Rock Bottom for three years while they complete other projects in the meantime (such as the film for the KGH Hospital Foundation). They are also in the process of developing a television series.

“We’ve been huge proponents of the industry here in the (Okanagan) Valley. We moved here six years ago and I honestly thought I was moving into the middle of nowhere in terms of the film industry,” says Ord.

“But we have a really vibrant film community here because so many crew members … live here in the valley and commute to Vancouver or Alberta or internationally.“

With this opportunity, they hope more industry professionals will look upon the Kelowna area for their projects.

The competition takes place on November 29, with winners announced the same day. At least three projects will be chosen for development in 2012 and a total of nine projects will be chosen over three years.

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