Looking for action!Published on July 3, 2012

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  • Katie Tallo.

  • Neil Bregman.

  • Tim Alp.

  • Robert Menzies.

This summer, why not add scouting the market for Oscar winners and porn stars to your activity list? Apparently, this is not too far-reaching, as Ottawa is considered to be a hidden gem for filmmakers and the excitement is only just starting to build here in the capital.

Katie Tallo 

Freelance Writer / Director

OAH: What projects are you working on now?

KATIE: I just completed a documentary called "Three Voices" that tells the story of three young people living with mental illness. It explores the confusion, despair, stigma and hope that accompany the disease.

OAH: What makes Ottawa a viable city for working in the film industry?

KATIE: The calibre of the people; they are loyal, collaborative and creative. There's a real fighting spirit here. We've always been underdogs so we have to dream and think big.

OAH: What are the challenges you face working within this industry here in Ottawa?

KATIE: Finding work and being competitive in the freelance market. I've been lucky partly because of the value of my skill sets. I was a producer so I can handle elements of pre-production, field producing and post. I also write and direct.

OAH: What are the components of a really great film?

KATIE: Powerful music, striking visuals, a great story and stellar performances help, but it's how all of these elements come together that makes the magic happen. There's no one formula or subject or ingredient. It's comes down to the way you connect with what you're watching.

OAH: What has been your most memorable experience to date?

KATIE: Making my feature film, Posers. It was my first big budget feature with stars, including Adam Beach and Jessica Paré. It was a crazy film schedule and we worked 18-hour days. The experience was intense and exciting. I'm glad I had the chance to make a movie.

Robert Menzies

Producer, President Zed filmworks

OAH: What projects are you working on now?

ROBERT: I have about 10 projects on the go at all times. I'm prepping a film to shoot in September with executive producer Eli Roth, while also writing a script for a film that I want to shoot this summer.

OAH: What makes Ottawa a viable city for working in the film industry?

ROBERT: It's a hidden gem. We have a great urban downtown core, the ByWard market, rivers, forests, small towns, etc.

OAH: What are the challenges you face working within this industry here in Ottawa?

ROBERT: It's not on the map with Hollywood. We don't have direct flights to LA; we don't have the equipment and crew experience as big film centers do. We don't have a studio. But those challenges just add another layer of fun for me.

OAH: What are the components of a really great film?

ROBERT: It's 50% art, 50% business and both sides hate each other. Filmmaking is a constant fight. It's an art form that is crafted by hundreds of people, thousands of decisions and costs millions of dollars. A big ingredient is passion.

OAH: What has been your most memorable experience to date?

ROBERT: I've had a loaded gun pointed at my head, a real dead body hidden in the trunk of a picture car, been asked to supply drugs to actors and hung out with Oscar winners and porn stars in the ByWard Market.. I've made a movie with Jennifer Lawrence in Metcalfe, filmed Ashley Green in a house in Manotick, watched Michael Keaton act in Orleans, burned a statue of the Virgin Mary in the Market with Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Christian Slater, and the list goes on and on....

Tim Alp,

Producer, President and Founder of Mountain Road Productions Ltd.

OAH: What projects are you working on now?

TIM: We are working on season two of All for Nothing for W Network and OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network). We just launched a new kids' interactive website and sketch comedy TV series called Totally Random, we're shooting a pilot for the Outdoor Life Network (OLN) and developing a new series for W Network, the Discovery Channel and the Comedy Network.

OAH: What makes Ottawa a viable city for working in the film industry?

TIM: It has been a challenge, but it's slowly getting better. There are big things in the works to bring a major studio facility to the region that we all hope will help grow the industry. Ottawa is virgin territory when it comes to shooting TV or film so there's still a great deal of enthusiasm for it in the community - it hasn't been tainted by over-use yet.

OAH: What are the challenges you face working within this industry here in Ottawa?

TIM: The limited infrastructure and lack of talented crews. Although there is a talented core group there's not enough of them. The perception that Ottawa is all politics - we seem to always have to prove that there is a thriving community here that has absolutely nothing to do with what goes on up on Parliament Hill.

OAH: What are the components of a really great film?

TIM: A great story, in a great setting, with great characters.

OAH: What has been your most memorable experience to date?

TIM: Directing all three of my own kids for the sketch comedy series Totally Random, signing a deal with Mark Burnett Productions International, winning a Gemini Award for Broken House Chronicles and meeting Dan Ackroyd!

 

Neil Bregman?

Executive Producer/Producer? and President, Sound Venture Productions

OAH: What projects are you working on now?

NEIL: Distributing Sound Venture's library of proprietary programs internationally is ongoing. I am also working on the production of new television movies for the Lifetime cable network. I am taking an active role with the new Film Commissioner's Office that has been established by the City of Ottawa at Invest Ottawa. After years of lobbying and working with local government leaders, there is finally a fully funded film, television and digital media office to assist the local industry to grow and succeed.

OAH: What makes Ottawa a viable city for working in the film industry?

NEIL: Ottawa is a beautiful city with excellent urban and rural filming locations. There is a solid foundation of experienced businesses and service providers already working in the region, the key ingredients exist to grow this sector into a more substantial and competitive one.

OAH: What are the challenges you face working within this industry here in Ottawa?

NEIL: Due to the highly conservative nature of the market, combined with the excessive levels of government intervention and bureaucracy, the local production industry needs special attention and support to deal with and overcome hurdles. Now with the support of Invest Ottawa there is hope that we can finally move ourselves forward in a tangible way.

OAH: What are the components of a really great film?

NEIL: A really great story.

OAH: What has been your most memorable experience to date?

NEIL: Winning a Gemini Award for The Toy Castle, our most beloved production ever, and working with architect Raymond Moriyama on our documentary about the new Canadian War Museum while producing all of the audio/visual installations for the Museum, legacy work that will be enjoyed by the public at large for decades to come.




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