Actors Cierra Ramirez and Zack Peladeau rehearse a scene for Drink Slay Love while in Oyama.

Movie sinks teeth into area

Drink Slay Love, a TV movie about a teenage vampire, is being filmed in the North Okanagan

It’s another typical summer day in the Okanagan as teens soak up the sun on a dock. Far in the distance, boats churn up a crystal-clear Kalamalka Lake.

Oh, by the way, did we mention there are vampires?

This is the premise for Drink Slay Love, a TV movie about a teenage vampire, who’s torn between her friends at school and her parents.

“It’s a classic conflict,” said Kim Roberts, the producer along with Tina Pehme.

“There’s a number of layers to it. There are a lot of parallels to the decisions you have to make as a teenager.”

On this day, shooting has taken over a secluded beach in Oyama, with recently harvested cherry trees lining the steep hillside.

The primary focus is a dock where actors Cierra Ramirez and Zack Peladeau rehearse their lines before director Vanessa Parise calls action.

It’s a long, methodical process as the crew is faced with sunlight, the shimmer of the lake and the roar of a jet ski passing by. Cameras are adjusted and makeup tweaked.

When a decision is made to shoot towards the shore, there’s a mad scramble to move everything in the frame — chairs, camera bags, ladders, electrical cords and people.

“It’s all of the details that keep changing,” said Roberts, one of the founders of Vancouver-Sepia Films.

Adding to the credentials of the film are actress/singer Bella Thorne, who is co-executive producer, and executive producer Sheri Singer.

Beyond Oyama, filming has included Vernon and Clarence Fulton secondary schools.

“The linchpin for us being here was Mackie Lake House (in Coldstream),” said Roberts.

“It’s a beautiful house and well preserved. The foresight of the Mackie family was fantastic.”

Production began Aug. 22 and it runs until Sept. 13.

“What Vernon and the North Okanagan gave us is old homes, incredible vistas and a friendly environment,” said Roberts, adding that residents have been welcoming.

“We definitely will be looking at Vernon again because it has so many things to offer.”

An added bonus is Okanagan Film Studios, which recently opened in the former Far West building on Highway 6. It’s serving as the production office for Drink Slay Love.

“It’s made it easy for us to be here,” said Roberts.

With the studio in place and other films setting up shop here, Roberts is confident the industry can flourish in the region.

“We love the Okanagan and we hope to train people so we have more crew here,” he said.

Drink Slay Love will premiere on Lifetime and A&E in early 2017, and that means there is a tight timeline to complete the final product.

However, on this day, Roberts basks in the warmth of the summer sun and looks out at the gleaming lake and the lush hillsides.

“We love it here, it’s so amazing,” he said.