Wondering what’s next for the local film scene this summer?
SooToday.com spoke with Melanie Muncaster, Program Services Manager of the NOHFC, to get a sneak preview of this season’s upcoming local productions.
"We have a busy film season coming up, busier than normal," said Muncaster. "Two are starting simultaneously in June, lots of action to be expected."
All details are not set in stone, notes Muncaster, but there are 3 features that are likely to be shot in the Sault this summer.
Atom Egoyan, director of the well-known 2009 erotic thriller Chloe, is hoping to shoot Remember in the Sault area.
Remember is a story about a Holocaust survivor suffering from early Alzheimer’s who sets out to track down the man responsible for the death of his friend’s family at Auschwitz.
Possible Cast: Christopher Plummer, Martin Landau
Another film that might be coming to the Sault is Lost & Found, which follows two boys sent to spend the summer with their uncle on a remote island. They learn that their eccentric grandfather once owned the island, but vanished without a trace taking with him the secret to a vast fortune.
Possible cast: Ray Liotta, Kimberly Selby
The final film that may be shot locally is Coconut Hero.
This story involves major life lessons for 16-year-old Mike, who lives alone with his self-absorbed mother. The film begins with him writing his own obituary, then going to his room and trying to commit suicide, but he fails and wakes up in a hospital.
The Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) works to give funding to Northern film projects such as these in order to foster economic growth and opportunity across Northern Ontario.
The NOHFC does what is called a competitive intake round three times a year to determine funding distribution, says Muncaster.
During these times they receive multiple applications and the applicants have to compete for the funding.
"So basically, those that are prepared with their scripts, their financing, and their cast somewhat finalized will receive the funding," said Muncaster. "We work with other partners that also fund films in Ontario, including the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC) and Telefilm Canada, and approve those that are most likely ready to roll."
These films provide valuable opportunities for the local arts industry as well as local businesses.
"For the arts industry, it helps to build the sector with casting opportunities and technical crew. For the community in general there are lots of ways to service the industry, through catering and other requirements of production," said Muncaster. "It also brings a profile and excitement to the local community."
Muncaster believes that the Sault is becoming a "hub" for the film industry, as all this action is catching the attention of other movie companies and spreading the word about a small city with a beautiful landscape and growing potential.