An article in the Times Colonist about the latest Independent Edge production, Read it here or below.
Kyle Mann isn’t just making a movie here this month. He’s also going back to school.
The Vancouver-based producer will return to his alma mater this weekend as filming wraps on his untitled thriller (formerly known as The New Girl) at University of Victoria, where he was an undergrad in history before going on to UBC law school.
“When I pitched the idea to the distributor about going to UVic they were intrigued,” said Mann (Wrecked), whose film stars Katie Cassidy and Tracy Spiridakos as university roommates in a small Pacific Northwest town whose lives take a dark turn after they conspire to commit murder.
Directed by Michael Greenspan from a screenplay he co-wrote with Christopher Dodd and Christian Forte, the Independent Edge Films Inc. production co-stars Donal Logue and features Leah Gibson, Ryan Robbins, Shannon Kent-Chan and Chelah Horsdal.
“When I first read the script I started thinking about my off-campus house when I went to UVic, and how rare it is to have a good liberal arts university,” Mann recalled.
“It seems so many are now geared to sciences.
That’s what I wanted these girls to be – out-of-the-box thinkers. That’s what I usually associate with the arts, and I think that’s what is missing from universities these days.”
Although his production partners initally wanted to shoot at a Harvard-like university, he persuaded them to reconsider.
“I thought the ivy-covered building thing was a little clichéd. Why not find a beautiful campus with interesting architecture, but that isn’t daunting?” recalled Mann, who said he wasn’t considering a film career when he attended UVic in the mid-90s.
“It wasn’t even on the radar. I’ve always loved film but it wasn’t something I was actively pursuing,” he recalled. “It was an interesting time. I was surrounded by strong, empowered women and the classrooms were introducing a female perspective.”
Noting he had “lots of templates to draw from,” he said it inspired him to want to create a “female-centric” world for the film.
“It’s a world where males are a bit anachronistic. The idea thematically was to create a world of strong, aggressive, smart women.”
This weekend’s filming will feature 125 extras and will include footage of classroom sequences and scenes in which Cassidy takes Spiridakos on a campus tour.
It’s a far cry from the “epic” day of helicopter shots, stunts and a motorcycle dumped into a bog in Cowichan Bay, which they wrapped on Sunday before heading into the 24-day shoot’s home stretch.
Scenes have also been filmed in Chinatown, at a home near Craigdarroch Castle, Black Swan Pub and a Cowichan Valley farm.
Words: Michael D Reid