ampia_logoThe big news in the film and media production industries in Alberta, reports Bill Evans, AMPIA’s Executive Director, is the impact of the devastating floods in southern Alberta on the film production community. Heartland and Hell on Wheels are scrambling to get back into production, scouting new locations to replace the ones they lost to the floods and rewriting scripts.  On a happier note, Bill was pleased to report that a new major motion picture called Cut Bank, starring John Malkovich, Billy Bob Thornton and Bruce Stern just wrapped up shooting in Innisfree, Alberta, a stand-in for Montana, where the movie is set. Alberta local, Doug Steeden, is the film’s unit production manager.

The official synopsis for the crime thriller reads: “Cut Bank is the story of 25-year-old Dwayne McLaren (Liam Hemsworth from the Hunger Games), a former-athlete-turned-auto-mechanic, who dreams of getting out of Cut Bank, Montana, the coldest town in America. But his efforts to do so set in motion a deadly series of events that change his life and the character of the town forever.”

This past June, a casting call for local extras was held at Bonnie Doon Shopping Centre, and film production began four days later at Edmonton’s Film Alberta Studio, formerly known as Allarcom Studios. The production is the second to use funding from the $10-million Edmonton Filmed Entertainment Fund created last year for both film and television.

In July, the film Redemption, starring father and son team, Donald and Keifer Sutherland,  will be in Calgary for a 30-day shoot at the CL Ranch in Springbank, the same location where the Discovery Channel’s Klondike miniseries recently wrapped. Auditions for the film were held in mid-June.  Actress Demi Moore and actor Brian Cox are apparently in talks to star as well. Emmy-winning director Jon Cassar, who has worked on TV shows such as 24, The Kennedys and Terra Nova, will be at the helm, according to Internet Movie Database.

The website describes the plot as: “After abandoning his gun and reputation as a quick-draw killer, John Henry returns to his hometown in hopes of repairing his relationship with his estranged father.”

In August, another feature film, Interstellar, starts shooting in Okotoks and locations around Calgary. Starring Ellen Burstyn (The Exorcist), along with young and up and coming actors Timothee Chalamet (Homeland) and Mackenzie Foy (Twilight), have also joined the cast. Shooting is set to commence this coming August in the towns of Okotoks and Nanton, Alberta.

According to their website, the Interstellar crew is now in Alberta scouting locations (streets and small towns). In Okotoks, they will be shooting a scene with two characters in the Olde Towne Plaza. And in Nanton, the crew recently showed up in a small and quiet area as they are interested in using Main Street as a location for a scene. The shooting is tentatively scheduled for August 9th. The crew’s clean-up and prep make take up to 3 days in total. These scenes that are going to be less than a minute of screen time, will likely take five to six hours of work on the set. The Interstellar team are permitted to shoot in the town for 25 days.

Mainly based on the scientific theories and script treatment of renowned theoretical physicist, Kip Thorne. Interstellar is set to be released in November 7, 2014.

Despite the challenges faced by producers shooting films in southern Alberta, the horizon looks rosy for the film industry in Alberta.