For the next half a year the town of Crossfield will be playing host to film crews who are shooting a Sony Pictures/ Netflix series adaption of Ali Novak’s novel, My Life with the Walter Boys.
According to the Town of Crossfield, shooting for the first episode of the series has already commenced and will continue till this Thursday. Sue Keenan, the Chief Administrative Officer for the town of Crossfield said that usually the Calgary Film Commission or a production company will contact the town before crews and trailers show up.
“[That’s] what happened in this case; the production company contacted us [and] we're dealing with an incredible production site location manager, his name is Ken Noda, he has been involved in shooting films here in the past,” she said. “There's a lot of preparation that goes into it before filming actually starts.”
Keenan explained that there is location scouting and then schedules and plans are drawn up by the town in question. She said that it is quite a thrill to watch the town become part of a set that perhaps millions of viewers may see.
“It's always exciting when you get those companies that have that credibility. So, we're very, very thrilled that they're part of this production,” Keenan said. “We assist in making sure that they have RCMP services, fire services, any kind of policing or security that they need, and any type of additional infrastructure that they don't necessarily have to haul around in their big trailers. If we, have it here, we make sure it's available to them.”
When asked if any starlets or movie heartthrobs have been spotted around town, Keenan said that even she isn’t quite sure who is starring in the series, though she and the town’s residents do try and remember that even movie stars have work to get done.
“We kind of leave them to do their own thing because it is a job for them as well. So, we try not to promote too much information so that they can actually get the job done that they're here to do.”
The series takes inspiration from Ali Novak’s debut 2014 young adult fiction book that follows the life of protagonist Jackie Howard, who has to learn to how to let go and learn how to live again after tragedy. According to IMDb (Internet Movie Database), the series creator is Melanie Halsall who has worked on other notable series such as BBC’s TV short series Shaun the Sheep as an executive producer.
As for Keenan, she said that considering that some of the most breathtaking landscapes belong in Alberta’s backyard, it is only natural for production companies to take notice.
“I've been a huge advocate for diversification of our economy and this is definitely a way to do that. I'd say a lot of it has to do with the film commission, based out of Calgary, as well as the tax credits that the provincial government has altered a bit over the last couple of years.”
When asked what series she’d want to be filmed in her town next, Keenan said there would be nothing better than to be a part of a feel-good series.
“This is a running joke here with all my staff and with some of the production companies. I've said to everybody that before I retire, I'd love to be involved in a hallmark picture. Hallmark is my go-to,” she said.
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