It was Christmas all over again on Friday night in Canmore. An icy chill was in the air as carolers sang, “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” under the glow of holiday lights on Main Street. But that’s where the wonderful world of movies kicks in, because really, Christmas was a month ago. The carolers are members of the Valley Winds Choir, conducted by Lee Ann DeCoteau. Jayson Therrien, of Word of Mouth productions, was filming the movie The Night Pond for one night only in Canmore. It was also filmed in Priddis and other areas in Alberta. And he used the Canmore Collegiate High School as a location during the day where he recruited 15 students as paid extras.
Directed by John Kissack and written by Shaun Crawford, The Night Pond is a family Christmas hockey movie, Therrien said. “It’s about forgetting about what you lost and enjoying the spirit that is around you now,” Therrien said.
The 90-minute long production will be released next Christmas. The story is about a 16-year-old character named Bobby Whiteside, who is played by Kristian Jackson.
Bobby is sad because his best friend died on Christmas Eve. So he walks out onto the lake where they played shinny, and as he is shoveling the ice, a magic hockey rink appears in the night, only to him.
As the storyline unfolds it has an uncanny resemblance to a controversy that is taking place right now in Canmore. In the movie, a local developer wants to build on the recreational area. No, Quarry Lake isn’t used as the location of the hockey rink, the lake at Nakoda Lodge is. But that might not stop Peaks of Grassi “no rezoning” supporters from recognizing the similarity. Jackson, a Canadian actor, played the part of Matt on the Heartland episode called “Cowgirls Don’t Cry”, which aired in February 2015.
The cast and crew on The Night Pond are 100% Albertan with the exception of one cast member, Therrien said.
“We’re proud of the fact that we were able to hire all locals,” Therrien said. “There is enough talent here and we were able to do that.” - Trailer coming soon!
Tracy Jacobson is a local film producer who has lived in Canmore for the past eight years. Her company, Namaste Film Productions, helped out on the movie.
“Jayson hired me as associate producer for locations,” Jacobson said. “I have known Jayson for years and we help each other out on projects. He acted in my film Road to Slipstream a couple of years ago. It was a first scripted narrative adventure film using local climbers Margo Talbot, Steve Swanson, Jim Elzinga and Brandon Pullan.”
The recent Golden Globes success of the movie The Revenant, starring Leonardo di Caprio, has boosted the optimism of locals in the film industry. The Revenant was partly filmed in the Spray Lakes area near the Goat Creek parking lot. Some of it was also filmed in Morley and some local First Nations actors were used in the movie.
“Alberta has a lot of potential that isn’t utilized as much as it could be, “Jacobson said. “There are a lot of amazing, talented crew and actors here. I would like to see it a little busier.”
Tab Murphy, an Oscar- nominated screenwriter who has worked for The Walt Disney Company and Warner Brothers, divides his home between Canmore and Los Angeles. Jacobson has considered him a mentor. When contacted in L.A., Murphy was pleased to hear of a movie being filmed in Canmore and Jacobson’s involvement.
“Tracy has a vast amount of experience both in front of and behind the camera, which makes her such an effective producer,” Murphy said. “She is a gifted storyteller and filmmaker who sets very high standards for herself and her projects. And her knowledge of the Bow Valley and its environs, coupled with a passionate devotion to an outdoor lifestyle, makes her a perfect ambassador for Alberta in terms of filmmaking”.
Murphy, who has worked with many A list actors, thinks a movie filmed here with Oscar nods will help the local economy.
“With regard to The Revenant — which I’ve seen four times already — and its impact on other productions coming to Alberta, there’s no question that 11 Oscar nominations will help the cause. But the real factor is economic,” Murphy said. “The strength of the U.S. dollar against the loonie will bring filmmakers and productions north of the border. I know when we were shooting “Last of the Dogmen”, back in ‘94, I was able to add four or five shooting days to the overall schedule just on the conversion-rate alone! That’s a hugely attractive proposition for producers, especially on lower budgeted films. I personally love shooting in Alberta, especially because of the diverse locations available.”
You can follow the progress of the movie The Night Pond by visiting their Facebook page by the same name.
"Is it better to hire actors who can’t climb or climbers who can’t act?”…was the question of the day prior to filming Road to Slipstream. Answer - all of the above! This was a first. Real climbers playing themselves thrown into a mix of trained actors and a script. Jim, Margo and Steve ARE mentors. These three have proven themselves in the ‘hardcore climbing’ world. Through the challenges and risks they have taken over their climbing careers, they said 'yes' and placed trust in us to guide them into the scripted film world. Our actors, Luke Burton and Haley McClure (having never touched ice tools before and only one day of ice training before the shoot), sat wide-eyed as they listened to Jim Elzinga, Margo Talbot and Steve Swenson tell their stories. In real life, lead actor Brandon Pullan (who played ‘Mike’) has had no acting training but many years of climbing experience and adventure stories from sharing a rope with Jim Elzinga. All around this group of talent came together and inspired us all to get out there, listen to the mountains, and create our own adventures.
In November 2014, Namaste Film Productions writer Tracy Jacobson teamed up with Uncage the Soul Productions to co-create a piece that showcases the stories of a past interwoven with the exploration of tomorrows. When we look at old historical photos, curiosity strikes many; generations and landscapes before us, we often wonder what that persons story was or how much has changed in that place. Is there a connection?
The film “Yesterday’s Tomorrow ~ A Portland Journey” is a photo collection of old historical overlays transitioned into footage of the modern Portland. The journey takes us through a story of life and personal growth. The narrative, inspired by an Oregonian resident Katherine (Tash) Livingston, guides the audience through reflections from a 99 year old woman’s perspective.
Coming back from a much needed winter holiday season of great adventures, endless abundance of good food and many special gatherings; like many of you out there on this beautiful planet Earth, Namaste Film Productions has re-opened the creative doors and prepping for the new year! Intentions are set and seeds are planted ~ we are excited about our new projects on the horizon and sharing them with you!
Wishing all of you a year filled with ever expanding creativity and success!
Canmore filmmaker hosts premier By: Lynn Martel
| Posted: Thursday, Nov 27, 2014 06:00 am
It’s been a mostly well-kept secret for months, but this Friday (Nov. 28), Canmore filmmaker Tracy Jacobson will share the premier of her latest project, Road to Slipstream, with a screening at Solara Resort’s Aurora Theatre.The 22-minute film, which stars four Rockies climbers – Jim Elzinga, Brandon Pullan, Margo Talbot and Steve Swenson – marries the wisdom of an older, experienced climber with the unwitting ignorance of three exuberant young climbers intent on bagging a Rockies plum, the challenging classic ice climb Slipstream, located on the east face of Mount Snow Dome at the Columbia Icefield.
Shot over the course of a week last March, the film portrays how youth and ego approach the mountains, and how younger adventurers often view showing respect for the power of mountain wilderness as an afterthought despite advice to respect their elders. The film, Jacobson said, aims to highlight how many of today’s younger generation lack awareness and respect for the accomplishments of earlier pioneers, and how a heightened sense of accomplishment mixed with the power of succeeding in the mountains leads to a beautiful ignorance many adventurers exhibit.
“The film asks its main characters to slow down and wonder ‘who has stepped before you?’” Jacobson said. “They cross over to the point of no return. They’re challenged to take their blinders off and look at why they do what they do, and not just so they can go home and say they did it.”
Shot raw by director of photography Michael Klekamp and his assistant, Francois Pelletier in effort to capture high quality colour and detail, the finished film, unlike a regular DVD, has the rich visual essence of actual film.
While the original working title was Weathered Hands, as the project unfolded it became apparent Road to Slipstream was a much more fitting title, Jacobson said. Carefully crafting the film from an initial cut of 40 minutes followed a similarly organic process, she added.
“Following the work flow of the storyline, it’s like creating a sculpture,” Jacobson explained. “You start with a large mass of footage and then begin peeling away the layers until you have what feels like a bloody butchering mess on the cutting room floor. (Through) letting go of what you removed, you realize you are left with the core intention of every scene.”
Following the screening of the film, the premier will include a discussion with the cast, hosted by lead character Mike, played by Gripped magazine editor and host of the Banff Centre Radio show, Basecamp. The evening will wrap up with cast members taking questions from the audience and door prizes.
The film, Jacobson said, should inspire anyone who understands the process of embracing big challenges in life.
“Taking on any challenge in life to achieve a goal, young or old, we are sometimes faced with the ego wanting to control and lead the way,” she said. “Anyone who is inspired by the Canadian Rockies landscape, ice climber or not, and has faced their own inner demons will hopefully appreciate the journey our three young climbers go through with their decision to either go home empty handed and alive or challenge their fears and attempt their goal.”
At last ~ our short film titled “Road to Slipstream” formerly known as "Weathered Hands" is gearing up for it's world premiere in Canmore, AB Canada!
Shot in Alberta and showcasing the spectacular backdrop of Banff National Park in winter; our weekend will consist of a cast Q & A after Friday’s screening at the Solara theatre and another opportunity to share stories and films with some amazing peeps at the Night of Lies annual event on Saturday!
Tickets for the Friday screening available here on NFP’s - Event Tickets.
Tickets for Saturday’s ‘Night of Lies’ will be available on NOL website after November 01.
The old mining town of Canmore, Alberta Canada; NFP’s producer/director Tracy Jacobson teamed up with local talent Layten Kramer to capture a little teaser of his new EP “Through the Days”. An old abandoned 1920’s coal miners shack; the acoustics interlaced with wind-blown yellow leaves, afternoon sunlight splitting through wooden cracks and broken walls, made for a perfect setting to shoot the video. Layten is campaigning this month on indiegogo for support to finish his new CD and excited to share the music on his Western Canada tour this October.
Our short film is coming close to completion! Here is a little behind-the-scenes sneak peak Day 01 - crew and support. Still photos courtesy of Rafal Andronowski.
Discovery Channel was on the front-lines preparing to film their own expedition when the season took a turn for the worst.