Local aspiring filmmakers navigated the COVID-19 pandemic to produce a short film that has inspired them to pursue creation of their own production company in Kamloops.
Kamloops resident Chrissy Marie wrote, directed and starred in the short horror film Alice, inspired by the Lewis Carroll story, Alice in Wonderland. The story involves main character Alice experimenting with a party drug that goes by the name Wonderland, with deadly effects during “a hell of a trip,” Marie said.
The 25-year-old and a group of mostly volunteers put the film together in the latter half of 2020, wrapping in January of this year.
The shoot was Marie’s directorial debut, with the script based on a class assignment Marie had when she attended the Art Institute of Vancouver years ago.
“It was something I always wanted to revisit and do better,” she said.
Marie raised about $3,000 between herself, an executive producer and an Indiegogo campaign to produce the film, with the budget focused predominantly on wardrobe.
“It was a very makeup- and costume-heavy film,” Marie said.
Marie currently works at the local cosmetology and beauty school, Interior Academy, and recruited a number of students and alumni from the program to work on her film.
She also brought in her brother, Ethan Greenwood, 22, to help out and the brother-sister duo are now setting up their own production company, GreenHos Productions, to distribute future projects they put together.
“It started out as a passion project, and it started really small, and it’s been interesting to see how it’s grown,” Greenwood said.
Alice is the debut project for GreenHos and the film is now in editing, which is being done by former KTW reporter Todd Sullivan.
The 17-minute film is expected to be released this spring and the filmmakers hope to soon submit it to film festivals, including next year’s Kamloops Independent Short Shorts Film Fest.
Marie said they are looking into posting the film online and hope to have a premiere at the Paramount Theatre when COIVID-19 rules permit a screening.
Project manager and assistant director Corey Rajala said the shoot was one of the best he’s worked on — having made a number of short films in Kamloops himself.
The 30-person crew took on all the roles one would see on a typical movie set, he said, noting the project also involved standard industry hours — 12- to 14-hour days — with plenty of cast rehearsals and production meetings, in addition to the week’s worth of shooting time.
“It was run like you would run a real Hollywood production, just on weekends,” Rajala said with a laugh.
The shoot was stretched between October and January, with all the necessary COVID-19 protocols in place, including mask wearing and symptom checks.
“We were wanting to be responsible and do our part,” Marie said, noting film locations included Tranquille Creek, McArthur Island and Noble Pig Brewhouse.
Much of the cast and crew were recruited through social media, including Rajala, who responded to a Facebook post from Marie, who was in search of a “spooky basement.”
“And I said, ‘Oh I got one,’ and then I fell into the role of project manager,” Rajala said.
Marie, who is originally from Barierre, said she has a passion for theatre and horror movies, drawing inspiration from directors Ryan Murphy of American Horror Story and Guillermo del Toro, who directed the 2015 film Crimson Peak.
“I consider Alice my love letter to them,” Marie said. “Those directors showed me how much more horror can be — it’s not all blood and guts.”