Airdrie filmmaker Jeremy Pollock has been working on his latest project for over a decade and while the project is anything but new to him, the subject of Pollock’s documentary may be new to his viewers.
“The story is about a Canadian War hero, named Léo Major and he's like Canada's Rambo. He fought in World War II and his biggest war exploit is that he single-handedly liberated an entire city in the Netherlands overnight during World War II.”
Pollock said that outside of Montreal, few people know of Major and his heroic actions. Pollock stumbled upon the story of Major when he read an article about obscure war heroes no one had heard of and noticed that someone in the comment section alluded to Major being Canadian. From there he would read a smattering of information on different websites about him.
“It just grabbed me; the hair on my arm stood up and that kind of set me off on the journey. I went and interviewed his son out in Montreal. I interviewed a gentleman in Ottawa that had met with him,” Pollock said. “I interviewed a war historian in Groningen in the Netherlands, and interviewed a woman who was there during the day of the liberation.”
Pollock wrapped up shooting a few weeks ago and will be in post-production for the better part of the summer.
“Then we'll be putting out to film festivals. I'd love to go to Cannes. I'd love to go to Sundance, I'd love to go to Toronto,” he said.
Pollock said he draws inspiration from directors like Doug Pray, who was an executive producer on several episodes of HBO’S gritty documentary The Defiant Ones. He also cited iconic filmmaker Ken Burns.
When asked if there is an advantage to filming in Alberta, Pollock said there is a definite advantage, though considering his production crew is also locally based, it was the most natural choice.
“With all the connections we had locally, it didn't make sense to shoot outside of Alberta unless we had to (ie. interviews, specific locations). It was difficult to substitute Alberta for the Netherlands, but with some great location scouting, we were able to make it work.”
Brock Skretting, the head of advocacy of Keep Alberta Rolling said that Alberta’s burgeoning film industry is only going to continue to keep growing.
“We've got a lot of different things going for us and obviously the crews have worked on award-winning projects. They are used to the challenges of what it means to be a film crew in Alberta,” Skretting said. “That is a huge feather in our cap and something that continually attracts productions to come here.”
Pollock was asked if Major were alive today and if he would have enjoyed the biopic documentary Pollock has worked on.
“I think he would probably say that my actors are maybe a little too tall! But I think in terms of the way that Jeff [Tunke] plays the character, and just being so driven and passionate about the job that he does; I think we would be proud to see that on the screen.”
Léo Major passed away in October 2008.
Send your news tips, story ideas, pictures, and videos to firstname.lastname@example.org