A local actor and film crew worker is continuing to work her way up in the industry — recently taking on dual roles in a film that will soon show at the Kamloops Film Festival on Saturday, March 14.
Beyond the Woods is a psychological thriller shot primarily in Westwold, about 40 kilometres east of Kamloops. The film features a host of local talent, including actors, crew and extras.
Among that talent is Cjay Boisclair, who was hired as second assistant director for the flick before also taking on an acting role — police officer number 2.
It’s not her first production. Boisclair has been working her way up in the local film scene for the past three years.
“It all started in 2017 when Power Rangers came to town. I started as a background actor and luckily I had a friend on set. He showed me all the ins and outs and all the stuff that takes awhile to figure out on your own. I loved it and wanted to become an actor,” she said.
She has local company in the film, too — some especially local to her.
Other local actors in Beyond the Woods include Shelyse Cameron, who plays a hiker in the film, and Boisclair’s son, Kayden, who plays police officer number 1 and worked as key production assistant on the film.
And son Kayden is not the only other film industry talent in the Boisclair family.
Husband Duane has credits as a second assistant director, producer and other roles. Son Liam, 13, is just beginning his film career while son Quinton has a plethora of TV roles, including as the bad guy, Devil with the Yellow Eyes, throughout the first season of Marvel’s Legion.
Boisclair’s path to local film scene success came partly through the Thompson-Nicola Film Commission and partly through the filming of Lifetime movie I Am Elizabeth Smart, in which Boisclair was a background actor before also becoming a production assistant.
“I met [film commissioner] Vicci Weller and told her I was excited about the industry. She put me on the crew list and I started picking up jobs while I was acting — I’d volunteer as a production assistant or something similar. I worked my way up from PA to locations, to screenwriting, to directing and being an assistant director,” Boisclair said.
Boisclair has set no limits on her aspirations and has already sought out paths to success. Her first short film, Stood Up, will screen as part of the Kamloops Independent Short Short Film Festival, which will take place on Sunday, March 8, beginning at noon.
The film was an entry to the Women In the Director’s Chair Short Works award: Kamloops edition. Boisclair saw the opportunity, but she had no script.
With the recent death of her grandmother, who helped raise her, Boisclair set out to write a three-minute script that “just made me happy” and could serve as a send-off for someone she loved.
“So I wrote Stood Up. It’s a type of modern love story, where love always wins out,” she said.
Stood Up was filmed at the old PDK Cafe after it had closed and features local cast and crew. It made its debut at the St. John’s Women’s International Film Festival and has been well-reviewed, with 28 awards and nominations from its festival run.
Boisclair has set her sights high for her next film, The Bench. Those savvy of the local film scene might remember the title. It was originally a short film shot in Kamloops in 2018, but sound problems kept it from release and the work was abandoned.
But Boisclair has now adapted the script to a feature-length production and is working with her industry connections to secure funding, with plans to begin shooting in November and release in 2021.
Tickets for the Kamloops Film Festival are available online at kamloopsfilmfest.ca/tickets.