A 12-year-old aspiring filmmaker in Regina got the opportunity of a lifetime last month when he starred in an independent short film.
The young man's grandma, Judith Silverthorne, put out a request on social media in early summer on a Saskatchewan filmmakers group. She asked if anybody was working on a project in the near future as her grandson, George Thompson, has a passion for film.
"I wanted to find something that would really enthuse Georgie because he's very interested in film work like script writing and directing," Silverthorne said. "Ever since he's been little, he's always known a lot about the film and stuff."
She said her call out started off as just asking if anybody could let Thompson visit a set to experience what it would be like to be behind the scenes.
Tony Quiñones, a filmmaker based in Regina, saw Silverthorne's request and started working on a script right away.
"I thought well 'why not? Let's make something happen,'" Quiñones said. "I have all the equipment and the experience to do this kind of stuff because I've been doing it for about 25 years now."
He said he wrote the script for the experimental film in one day and took inspiration from the types of stories Thompson was interested in.
"Judith mentioned that [George] loves Stephen King's books so I thought that may be more interesting to him," Quiñones said. "It came along really well."
Quiñones said that as they were producing the script, it became apparent that Thompson should have the leading role.
"I think he has a very bright future as an actor too because he did great," Quiñones said. "If he had some training here and there in acting he could probably do really really well because I was surprised at how good [he] did."
The film, The Abduction Project, was shot in five hours. Quiñones said he had the help of Derek Bellamy, who acted as the father in the film and helped cast it, and J.C. Capaque, who was the boom operator and helped with the audio.
Behind the scenes of the Abduction Project
Thompson said his favourite part about working on the film was filming the last scene with Quiñones' son, Liam, who had the role of the alien shadow at the end of the film.
"The scene at the end where there's the red room at the end of the hall," Thompson said. "It was literally just Liam, that's what the shadow was and I thought that was funny."
Quiñones explained that he set up a few red light tubes in the room and told his son to creep in the shadows.
"The shadow actually came up like a real kind of a figure," Quiñones said. "It looks like the head of a monster or something."
Silverthorne added she thought the figure in the shadows resembled the drawing that Thompson had done earlier in the film. She said as for the whole film, she thought it was really well done.
"I thought it was fabulous, everybody worked so hard," Silverthorne said. "It was just a few hours and it came out really professional and I thought Georgie did such a fabulous job too, I just really thought it was wonderful."
Future of the film
Thompson said he can see himself working on more films in the future and even has some of his own ideas for stories.
"A lot of the ideas I come up with I get from when I'm sleeping and I'm dreaming because my brain comes up with something that I find to be interesting," Thompson said. "And I'm like 'hmm that could make a cool movie.'"
Quiñones said they are thinking about making this short film into a bigger project.
"I think it will be awesome to have feedback from the audience to see what they think," Quiñones said. "Maybe we can keep going with the project and just consider this as the pilot."
He said he is always involved with commercial projects locally — he has a business that produces aerial video and photography — but he has a different passion.
"My real passion, and that's probably one of the things that moved me to do this, is filmmaking," Quiñones said. "I love telling stories, that's my passion, I'll do it for free."