Trailers for movie productions are once again parked all over the city. The Exchange District has undergone a time warp of buildings dressed to look like businesses from a half century ago, for the David Slade-directed period thriller Dark Harvest. Such temporal overhauls also marked the CBC/BET TV series The Porter which winds down its splashy production this week.
It’s safe to say that after a fallow period exacerbated by the pandemic, film production has returned to Winnipeg with a vengeance.
That production roll will continue with films including the cheerleader/horror hybrid Bring It On: Halloween commencing production next month. (The title may be changed to incorporate the phrase: “Cheer or Die.”) T
he Cartel, the American production company with offices in Winnipeg, is said to be prepping two different Christmas TV movies, and that’s not counting the Hallmark movie A Kiss Before Christmas, which will commence shooting this week into October.
Meanwhile, in the wake of The Porter, a new series is ramping up.
Another CBC series, SkyMed is an episodic drama advertised as “Life, death, and drama at 20,000 feet.” It’s about the personal lives of the young nurses and pilots flying air ambulances in Canada’s north country.
It has already begun shooting and will continue production well into December, with directors including Winnipeg’s Madison Thomas onboard.
This is yet another horror movie, based on a screenplay by Lori Evans Taylor that is said to require a powerful actress in the lead. That actress will play a pregnant woman confined to bed rest, who comes to believe her house is haunted.
The movie has been in the works for at least the past six years, with screenwriter Chris Sparling attached to produce back in 2015. (Sparling wrote the Winnipeg-lensed movie ATM back in 2012, and has some experience of the claustrophobic thriller genre, having also written the Ryan Reynolds thriller Buried.)
The film is currently slated to go to camera in the beginning of November through early December.
This feature film is directed by one Oliver Thompson, who wrote the Tom Berenger Sniper franchise entry Sniper: Assassin’s End. Word is it’s part of that very same franchise.
It remains to be seen if that means we can expect to see Berenger or his other Sniper co-stars Billy Zane and Chad Michael Collins.
Shamim Sarif, a novelist, screenwriter and director, has returned to Winnipeg after making the Lifetime TV movie House on Fire here last year. Where that film was based on an Ann Rule true crime story, Polarized is a story closer to Sarif’s heart.
It’s the story of a relationship that starts badly when rural American Lisa (Holly Deveaux, a Toronto actress with some Winnipeg experience on the series Less Than Kind) displays casual racism to Palestinian workmate Dalia (Maxine Denis, an Abu Dhabi-born Canadian actress). The relationship then takes a surprising turn.
Sarif, who may also be working on the SkyMed series, evidently hit it off with Winnipeg producer Juliette Hagopian, who also produced House on Fire.
Polarized has put out a call for extras to portray members of the Palestinian community of all ages. They would be required for this coming weekend, and the next two weekends. They are invited to contact the production company at email@example.com.
Polarized will be shooting into October.
Woody Harrelson, who came to Winnipeg for the 2005 Robin Williams comedy The Big White, is said to be attached to this sports drama about a coach taking on a team of special needs basketball players.
The film is slated to shoot through November and December.