The Okanagan Film Commission is excited by the talent moving to the valley. (File photo)

New talent in region excites Okanagan Film Commission

Commissioner Jon Summerland says talent will ‘enrich production business’

When the economy re-opens, Okanagan Film Commissioner Jon Summerland is looking forward to the influence of new film and television creative talent that has moved to the Okanagan and will enrich the local production business.

As previously announced, Reel One Entertainment is bringing a slate of 18 films to be shot in the Okanagan through 2021 and is building their own production office in the valley, and hiring all local talent for the productions.

Summerland has also announced that award-winning writer-producer Erin Hazlehurst has moved to the Okanagan.

“The growth and future of the Okanagan film production industry are being recognized by the talent that is moving here, to live as well as setting up permanent production offices and facilities,” said Summerland.

Hazlehurst moved to Peachland two years ago from Vancouver after a successful career as a freelance journalist. When she decided to try out the world of fiction and wrote her first screenplay in 2018 she took home seven Laurel Awards from the film festival circuit for Lemon Yellow World.

She proceeded to write To Avenge which was scheduled to go to camera this spring but filming has been delayed due to COVID-19. In December 2018 she teamed up with writer/director Courtney Paige and co-wrote The Color Rose which has garnered six Laurels on the film festival circuit and was a winner at the Los Angeles Cinematography Awards.

Most recently Hazlehurst has partnered with well-known Okanagan production coordinator Lori Welbourne, and they have created HazleBourne Productions. Their first series, Middle Aged Maggie, has already been awarded this year with Best TV Script, Hollywood International Diversity Film Fest and Semi-Finalist at the Miami Screenplay Awards. And just announced, she has received a Semi-Finalist Award from the LA Screenplay Awards for Lick.

“These examples of the expanding talent pool and production facility investments are recognition of what we are creating in this industry for the Okanagan,” said Summerland. “I look forward to their contributions to our expansion when we re-open after COVID-19.”

READ MORE: Nearly 20 films to be shot in Okanagan through 2021

READ MORE: Okanagan Film Commission seeks more funding for 2020



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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