Jeff Chan tapped to helm Lionsgate firefighter drama

The Vancouver-born director (pictured, centre) will develop and direct the as-yet unnamed action flick for Lionsgate.

Jeff Chan is firefighting for Lionsgate.

More to the point, the 27-year-old Vancouver-born director is helming as-yet untitled firefighter pic for the studio.

The film is centered on a group of Detroit firefighters, with budgets yet to be determined. Chan says he expects to be scouting Motown by the spring of 2014.

Writer Sascha Penn (Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives, Imagination Movers) is also attached to the action flick.

This is Chan’s third project in as many years, but also his biggest: he’s currently in post for the Sony Pictures-distributed, first-person supernatural thriller Grace, which he and fellow Canadian writer Chris Paré sold to the studio on spec, and which Chan also executive produced with Colony Pictures,  his and Paré’s imprint.

He’s also been developing-to-direct 19, a film about an affliction that turns people into walking corpses when they reach the age of 19, thus leaving the word to be run by children, for a Management 360-McG co-production at QED Films.

Reached in the studio while working on post for Grace, Chan tells Playback that he and Paré are looking to build on their stateside success to bring future projects back across the border.

“We’ve been fortunate enough to go down to the U.S., and we want to translate some of that success over to Canada,” Chan tells Playback. “We are careerists who dig being Canadian. I did my short films in Canada that got me noticed in the first place, so we think we can work with the systems in place – Telefilm, OMDC, whatever it is. So we’re really excited about the future.”

Chan came to prominence when he created short films on spec that focused on Activision’s Call Of Duty without the knowledge of the company and unleashed them on the internet.

“It got 2 million views within the first 48 hours and U.S.A. Today thought it was part of Activision’s marketing plan,” recalls Chan.

So the company hired him to commission a short film about Call Of Duty III, and that led Chan to obtaining L.A. representation.

Today, Chan is repped by ICM Partners, Guymon Casady and Dean Schnider at Management 360, and Karl Austen and Ryan LeVine at Jackoway Tyerman Wertheimer Austen Mandelbaum Morris & Klein.

Grace, starring Alexis Fast (Jack Reacher),  is coproduced and financed by Automatik, Vancouver’s Oddfellows Entertainment and Toronto’s Colony Pictures.