B.C. reps explore Singapore treaty

Vancouver: Veteran production manager Ron French and Vancouver talent agent Andrew Ooi flew to Singapore Nov. 12-17 to attend a Filmmakers' Roundtable hosted by the Canadian High Commission to coincide with Prime Minister Jean Chretien's recent state visit and to inaugurate...

Vancouver: Veteran production manager Ron French and Vancouver talent agent Andrew Ooi flew to Singapore Nov. 12-17 to attend a Filmmakers’ Roundtable hosted by the Canadian High Commission to coincide with Prime Minister Jean Chretien’s recent state visit and to inaugurate the new Canada-Singapore coproduction treaty.

French and Ooi are principals in new Vancouver production company Endless Entertainment, just now getting operating with other as-yet-unnamed partners.

Endless Entertainment will focus on international coproductions, the first of which will be a Buddhist-themed, multinational effort. The second feature scheduled will involve Eastern European money.

Other delegates include lawyer Eva Schmieg of the Vancouver office of Heenan Blaikie; Vancouver producer Shan Tam, who specializes in Asian cinema; and Toronto director Yan Cui, maker of Yellow Wedding.

‘Singapore is not so much a market as an opportunity to find financing,’ says Schmieg.

*Maxed out

The Vancouver office of Rainmaker launched itself into the next stratum of post-production work by handling Max Q, Jerry Bruckheimer’s us$7-million mow, which aired on abc Nov. 19.

‘It was a stretch, absolutely,’ says visual effects executive producer Paul Patrick Quinn. The effects budget for Max Q was $1.6 million.

In the story line, a space shuttle is damaged in a botched satellite launch and has to make an emergency landing.

The effects included Rainmaker’s first foray into motion-control photography with a stage, green screen and six-foot model being erected in the Vancouver office. Second unit motion-control production was jobbed out to Americans, says Quinn, but anything to do with computers was done in-house in Vancouver or the subsidiary office in Los Angeles.

There were 10 artists here and 10 artists in l.a. working on the 100-plus effects shots such as payload bay doors that open, space walks, and enhanced stock footage.

The key to success, says Quinn, was to create realistic footage. ‘It has to look like something you’d see on a nasa film reel,’ he explains.

Rainmaker at best broke even with the work on Max Q, but the company is expecting the successful delivery of large-scale effects will pave the way to supply other big shows. Quinn says Rainmaker is negotiating with a large Hallmark show for next year that will have a budget four times that of Max Q.

*Who’s counting?

According to Telefilm Canada and the Canadian Television Fund, b.c. producers received: $1.87 million (13.2%) of Telefilm’s feature film fund; $1.75 million (14.1%) of Telefilm’s feature film distribution fund; $740,000 (2.1%) of Telefilm’s production revenue sharing program; $15 million (9%) of ye ol’ ctcpf (now the ctf); $11.7 million (12.8%) of the ctcpf Equity Investment Program; and, $300,000 (3.1%) of the ctcpf development fund.

*Okee dokey

The Canadian Counsel General offices in Los Angeles played host to 19 Canadian animation and multimedia companies – among them Virtual Access of Vancouver and Credo Interactive of Burnaby.

The Nov. 9 event, which brought together Canadian companies with l.a. entertainment executives, was organized by business development officer Tom Palamides, who also wrote the industry reference guide Only People Can Animate: Exploring Digital Hollywood.

Among the companies promoting production projects was Virtual Access with the preview of Okee the Alien.

Proposed for mature audiences, the comedic Okee is about a little green alien with lots of attitude who comes from a planet of unmotivated creatures that travel the universe documenting the procreation rituals of species they encounter.

In the preview shown to entice l.a. animation executives to open their wallets, Okee crash lands on Earth, the ‘worst outpost in the galaxy.’

Coproducer and director Verne Andru – who has 25 years’ experience in animation and founded Virtual Access, an animation, video production and post company, in 1985 – says Okee is a transmedia product (exploiting broadcast and Internet media) and is destined for ‘hdtv deployment.’

The Okee series preview can be seen on the company’s Website (www.virtualaccesscorp.com).

Other companies attending the barbecue luncheon were Cactus Animation of Montreal, Vicom Multimedia from Edmonton and Cuppa Coffee Animation of Toronto.

*X-philes

The short film Leaving Los Angeles Newsletter (Low Fuel Productions) by actors/filmmakers Gabe Khouth and Michael Duke Pavoni screened at the Nov. 19 Celluloid Social Club gathering.

In Roger & Me-style, Newsletter is about two guerrilla filmmakers crashing the set of The X-Files to pitch the role of ‘Cancer Boy.’ In their relentless pursuit, they get actor William B. Davis (the infamous ‘Cancer Man’) on camera and also actor Chris Spender, casting agent Coreen Mayrs and X-Files creator Chris Carter.

*Neighborhood watch

* The third annual Green Extreme Film Festival is taking place April 9 and 10 on Saltspring Island. Deadline for entries is Jan. 18, 1999; there is no entry fee for entries no longer than 60 minutes. Green Extreme promotes environmental awareness and outdoor adventure, say organizers.

For information, (250) 537-1017.

* National Screen Institute-sponsored short films recently shot in Vancouver – including Babette’s Feet and The Fare – held a fundraising party Nov. 21 to shore up post-production financing.

* The training-oriented B.C. Institute of Film Professionals has hired its first director, Justine Bizzocchi, a former president of Women in Film and Television-Vancouver.