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Kelowna actress sues producers over facial injury

Actress Taylor Hickson claims her face was badly cut while filming a horror movie in Winnipeg

A Canadian actress whose face was badly cut while shooting a horror film in Winnipeg is suing its producers over an injury she says has derailed her burgeoning career and jeopardized future earnings.

Taylor Hickson, whose credits include “Deadpool” and the Space TV series “Aftermath,” alleges in a lawsuit filed March 1 with the Court of Queen’s Bench that the Winnipeg-based Incident Productions Inc. was negligent in taking reasonable steps to ensure her safety.

The suit claims she suffered a facial injury when she crashed through a glass door while filming the indie project “Ghostland,” also known as “Incident in a Ghost Land,” and details a brutal cut to the left side of her face that required about 70 stitches in hospital.

“Prior to the injury she was an up-and-coming actor with a bright future in the movie industry,” says the statement of claim.

“Due to the injury, post incident, the plaintiff has struggled to find work as an actor and states that … she has and will continue to suffer future financial losses in an amount to be proven at or before trial.”

The allegations have not been proven in court.

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The 20-year-old, who lives in Kelowna, is seeking damages for lost income and future loss of income, as well as damages for mental distress and legal costs.

The suit says she was performing “an emotionally charged scene” in December 2016 when the director asked her to place her face next to a pane of glass in a door while pounding on the glass with her fists.

At one point, she asked one of the producers and the director if it was safe to do so.

“That producer and the director both replied in the affirmative,” the court documents say.

But while filming another take, the suit says the glass shattered, causing Hickson’s head and upper body to fall through the door and shards of glass.

One of the Canadian producers reached Wednesday said there would be no comment on the case. Requests for comment from other producers were not immediately returned.

Hickson’s lawyer Jason Harvey said Wednesday that Incident Productions Inc. has yet to respond to the allegations.

Harvey said the accident has been hard on Hickson.

“This has been very mentally and emotionally difficult for her and aside from the physical injury, the issue is the mental and emotional toll it’s taken on her,” said Harvey.

The suit notes Hickson has since undergone laser and silicone treatments, but has been left with “permanent scarring on the left side of her face.”

A grievance against the production company was filed shortly after the incident, said a spokesman for the Manitoba chapter of the performers’ union ACTRA.

The union’s claims are similar to the ones in the civil suit, said Rob Macklin, including that Hickson should have had the option of using a stunt performer in her place.

He called the accident “very tragic.”

“Even right after the accident she was a very cheerful young woman but I certainly know she’s very much worried about her future in the acting business,” said Macklin.

“An accident like this is a very scary to a young up-and-coming actress, there’s just no question about it.”

Meanwhile, Macklin said a provincial workplace safety and health is investigation is also ongoing. He said that launched soon after the incident but can take up to two years to complete.

Until then, he said ACTRA’s complaint has been put on hold: “We are all waiting for that report.”

Macklin added that the accident does not suggest any broader safety issues with Canadian film sets, or indie projects.

“Overall, I would say sets in Canada are actually quite safe,” he said. “But you know, things can happen. And it’s extremely important that everyone — producers and unions — make sure that safety is in everybody’s mind and is the most important thing.

“There are safety guidelines within all the collective agreements that need to be followed and I’m quite confident that if producers did follow these, there wouldn’t be incidents, or maybe even less than the few that do happen.”

Cassandra Szklarski, The Canadian Press

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