When director Shri Ananda put out a local call for artists, he had no idea he was about to uncover local star musicians, actors and painters.
Ananda had just won the ‘Script 2 Screen’ contest hosted by OSIF (the Okanagan Society of Independent Filmmaking) in January. The hunt for talent was on, as the local indie film maker had just seven weeks to plan, shoot and produce his short film “Out of the Darkness.”
“The lead character is a gifted painter and her artwork is central to showing the light and dark of the story,” explained Ananda.
He was starting to sweat when his first few leads turned up flat. And then he met visual artist Shannon Johnston.
“Her pieces had exactly the feel I wanted – raw, passionate, and vibrant,” Ananda recalled. In that first meeting, Johnston bravely asked if she might also read for the part of the lead character Mia.
“I’ve never acted before. But I felt so compelled by the script, I knew I had to try.” Johnstonsaid. Days later she auditioned.
For Ananda, who was both director and screenplay writer for the short film, Johnston’s audition was a revelation.
“I knew then and there she had to play Mia. She is a brilliant actress. And it was perfect: we could actually film our lead character creating the visual works of art, live in studio. It was a winner.”
Weeks later, the judges at Okanagan Indie Film Fest agreed. Out of the Darkness took home two awards that night for Best Cinematography and ‘Best Post-Production.
But Johnston wasn’t the only surprise star uncovered in the making of the film.
Ananda also attracted a musical maven. “The moment I heard Adam Meachem’s song Totemic Revival, I needed it on our soundtrack.” Little did he know, Meachem would go on to perform in the film and eventually score the entire thing.
“He is such a talented musician. On the guitar he’s amazing, but it doesn’t stop there.” Ananda raved. “He can tell a story with music – the score he created elevates the film.”
Both Johnston and Meahem’s talents will be front and centre on Sunday, May 1, when locals in Kelowna can join the cast and crew at the Kelowna Community Theatre for a premiere screening of the director’s cut of the film.
Adam Meachem will be on stage following the film with a live musical performance, and an art exhibit of Johnston’s works will surround the event. Tickets and trailer at www.OutOfTheDarknessTheFilm.com
Out of the Darkness is a new-age, coming-of-age film that poses the question: What happens when what we have no longer defines us?
Th character of Mia has the high powered job, the boyfriend and the illusion of the perfect life, yet she is swimming in darkness. In it Ananda weaves together art, music and story-telling to end on a note of hope.
Low budget film projects like this are only possible through the generosity of our Kelowna community, said Ananda. “As soon as they heard the story of the film, people were moved to be on board.”
A total of 68 volunteers, cast, crew and donors joined the project. It started with studio time donated by The Film Factory, visual effects work done by Allegiance Studios, and access to all the filmmaking gear courtesy of OSIF.
Then the community really stepped up with food donations provided by The Jitterbug Diner, Murray’s Pizza, The White Spot, and the Ekahi Yoga Center. Locations were donated by the Central Okanagan Sailing Association, ARTE functional, The Energyplex, Ekahi Yoga Center, and Okanagan College.