A golf cart zooms along Clover Point.
Inside, a driver navigates while a cinematographer films American actress Katie Cassidy as she runs along the pathway.
Vancouver film producer and University of Victoria grad Kyle Mann watches his cast and crew from a distance.
“This scene will be her running and she’s got a bright future ahead of her, and then she’s going to get the (metaphorical) hammer hitting her,” Mann said, hinting at the movie’s plot that he is keeping under tight wraps. “So this is a good setup.”
The $4-million low-budget independent psychological thriller tells the story of two roommates who become embroiled in a web of mystery and a murder. The film’s working title is The New Girl, but that will change before the movie is released late next year.
Mann’s experience studying history at UVic and living on campus and in Gordon Head before he graduated in 1996 prompted him to think of the Capital Region as the ideal setting for his latest production.
“I think you come from a real place as a storyteller, so when we were first working on this script together, I was like, ‘This should really be set in Victoria if we want a dark, moody thriller in a picturesque town with gothic architecture,’” said Mann, who has history and law degrees rather than a filmmaking degree.
“You’re not going to find anywhere else like it in North America, except maybe New England and that’s too far.”
Filming began Monday at a parkade and an apartment building in downtown Victoria, and will continue in Chinatown, inside a home near Craigdarroch Castle, in UVic classrooms and lecture halls and in the Cowichan Valley until Oct. 23.
Mann has brought a film project to the Island before.
Wrecked, which stars Oscar winner Adrien Brody and arrived in theatres earlier this year, was Mann’s first try at producing a film on his own.
Many of the Wrecked cast and crew are involved in The New Girl, including director Michael Greenspan, writer Christopher Dodd and Victoria actor Ryan Robbins. Victoria’s Leah Gibson also has an on-screen role.
Mann’s experience in Greater Victoria is proving to be as positive as his filmmaking was last year in Duncan and Parksville for Wrecked, which may help lure Mann back to the Island for future projects.
“It will depend on the storyline, of course,” he said.
Region nets cash bonanza from film business
Television and film production continues to pour millions of dollars into the Capital Region’s economy, although the industry got off to a sluggish start early in the year.
In 2010, productions pumped almost $13 million into the regional economy, and 2011 will likely mirror that, said Kathleen Gilbert, Greater Victoria film commissioner.
Magic Beyond Words: The J.K. Rowling Story was the only project filmed in Victoria at the start of the year. Since then several commercials, two documentaries and a British Broadcasting Corp. TV special have been shot in the Capital Region.
Filming for the movie The Note recently wrapped and several more local productions are now in development. In October, more crews will be spotted filming scenes for a TV movie, as well as several episodes for a Quebec docudrama TV series.
In addition, the not-for-profit Greater Victoria Film Commission, which promotes the South Island as a filming location, has fielded more than 80 location requests from producers around the world, Gilbert said.
However, filmmakers are often discouraged from filming here because they can’t apply for a six-per-cent distant location tax credit, which is typically available for productions filmed outside the Vancouver area.
“In spite of this, we have been very successful in promoting southern Vancouver Island, and it looks like this year will be at least as profitable as 2010,” said Gilbert.