Show business is a tough business to break into, something local filmmaker Mitchell George knows all too well. The Airdronian is therefore supporting homegrown talent by including local up-and-coming filmmakers, actors and volunteers in the production of his new short film.
“We focus on people who don’t have a lot of experience but are willing to give it their all,” George said. “We’ve been given opportunities and we find that the only way to give back is to provide opportunities for other people.”
After pitching an idea in September and winning $10,000 in funding through Storyhive an online initiative supporting startup directors, George and his small crew began filming in Crossfield.
Highway Patrolman is episode one of what George hopes will be a 10-episode Re-told series, retelling great stories from our past.
“We have this huge fascination of bringing to screen true stories that have happened in our world,” George said.
Once the pilot episode has been produced, the team has a chance to win more than $50,000 in funding to produce the rest of the series next year.
Highway Patrolman takes viewers back in time to the late ‘70s Lincoln, Wyo., and tells the story of Sherriff Boyd Hall who was fatally shot and killed while trying to talk down a suicidal man.
“When we read the story, it just hit us in a way that was like this should be way bigger than what it is,” George said.
After searching the Internet for more details and coming up short, George decided he needed a firsthand witness. He tracked down 93-year-old Elfriede Boyd, the late sheriff’s wife.
“Once she started talking and we learned more about Boyd himself and the kind of person he was in his work, in his town – we were so intrigued and empowered by it that we couldn’t not write a story on it,” George said.
According to George, Boyd was trying to relate to the suicidal man and asked him to go inside and get both of them a beer. The man went inside and, instead of a beer, retrieved a gun and shot Boyd through the heart.
“The fact that he would sit down and have a beer with this guy and relate to him on a different level only to be shot – blindsided, through the window – (that) was something really compelling for us. As human as some people can be, some people can be so inhuman,” George said.
According to George, shooting an American story on Canadian soil isn’t as hard as it sounds.
“It’s been really great and it really shows that Alberta can set the stage for anything. The fact that it’s just too easy for us is incredible,” he said.
George said the use of American props such as flags and license plates helps take viewers into Wyoming. The Re-told team plans to shoot in Crossfield throughout the winter and finish the film by early 2018.
“We are beside ourselves right now. It’s a lot of work and it’s very fast moving so it keeps us on our toes and it keeps us inspired,” George said.
Re-told: Highway Patrolman is still looking for filming locations, ‘80s winter clothing and catering opportunities. If interested in helping, visit crookedcinema.com