Writer/Producer Signe Olynyk and producer Bob Schultz.

Filmmaker gets locked in a meat freezer

On Wednesday, April 3, script writer and movie producer Signe Olynyk will show her movie, Below Zero.

There is a unique opportunity for residents of Sooke interested in filmmaking to pick the brain of a local film writer and producer.

On Wednesday, April 3, script writer and movie producer Signe Olynyk will show her movie, Below Zero. After the 98-minute film, Olynyk and her fellow producer Bob Schultz will make themselves available to the audience to answer any questions about the movie-making process, from concept to production.

Below Zero is a horror-thriller about a desperate screenwriter, trapped in an abandoned slaughterhouse, paralyzed by writer’s block, and tormented by a character of his own creation. Locked in the slaughterhouse freezer, he sinks into a claustrophobia-induced paranoia where he can’t distinguish what is real from what is written. Though contained in a freezer, it’s quite the mental journey that this movie follows.The trailer can be viewed at belowzeromovie.com.

When first setting out to write the script, Olynyk, like the screenwriter in her film, had serious writer’s block. So she did the obvious: she located a meat freezer in Northern Albert and arranged to have herself locked in for five days. She was not to be let out until she had a script in hand.

“I think we made a better movie because of it,” she says.

“You have to be a little bit crazy when you are a writer.” And when you see Below Zero, you’ll notice that insanity is a bit of an undercurrent throughout the film. The lines between reality and fiction blur.

But movies simply don’t get made overnight. “I’m an overnight success that took 20 years,” Olynyk laughs. But there’s a hard reality behind her statement. Olynyk emphasizes that success happens over a period of time, not in an instant. And key components are developing the craft, nurturing a network, practicing infinite patience, and remaining open to the input from those around you — even when you absolutely know that you are right.

In her five days locked in the freezer, Olynyk came up with the starter script for Below Zero.

“A screenplay is generally between 90 and 110 pages. This one was 104. But it took about three years to get it to 104. There is a craft to this. There is a craft to knowing what should happen on page three and what should happen on page five,” says Olynyk.

Olynyk knows her stuff. She is the creative force behind Twilight Pictures (twilight-pictures.com), a Canadian movie production company, and has worked in Canada and abroad.

Olynyk is also the founder of the very successful Great American Pitchfest, where writers and screenwriters do a type of speed-dating with a number of professionals in the film industry. This highly popular and always-sold-out event has been running in California, the hub of movie hopefuls, for 10 years now.

We are lucky enough to have her here in our neck of the rainforest — Okay, half-time. She lives in Calgary over the summer, and has weathered two winters in Shirley. She’s aspiring to make this area her forever-home.

If you’ve tuned in to the mainstream media lately, you might have heard that there is a growing opportunity for the film industry on Vancouver Island. One production company under the code name “Nautilus” will be in Nanaimo for a two-week stint this spring filming Godzilla. And a Planet of the Apes sequel production will be coming to Campbell River.

But even if you’re not interested in “going Hollywood,” the availability of technology, filming tools and resources these days are phenomenal.

If you want to explore the possibility of using film to promote regional art, a political message, or simply capture a day-in-the-life of your housecat, it all begins with putting one foot forward in a committed direction.

Tap into, and benefit from, the experience and “growth opportunities” of Signe Olynyk on Wednesday, April 3, 7 pm. at EMCS. And enjoy one a great movie.

Warning: This movie is rated R. It contains colourful language and scenes suggesting violence. It is a horror-thriller after all.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Laid-off hotel workers demanding the right to return to work at Victoria protest

Businesses in accommodation and food sector report laying off 80 per cent of workforce

Sooke homeless camp to stay until a solution is found

To forbid Ed Macgregor camp would go against Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Canadians with disabilities disproportionately hit by COVID-19 pandemic

More than four out of 10 British Columbians aged 70 and up have various disabilities

B.C. records 31 new cases, six deaths over three days due to COVID-19

There are 166 active cases in B.C., 16 people in hospital

96-year-old woman scales B.C. butte with help of family, friends

‘I did as I was told and I enjoyed every minute of it’

Parallel crises: How COVID-19 exacerbated B.C.’s drug overdose emergency

Part 1: Officials say isolation, toxic drug supply, CERB, contributing to crisis

Camping offers a great pandemic escape, for less money than you might think

But for many first-timers, knowing what to bring can be a challenge

Turbulence in Canadian opinion on airlines COVID-19 response: poll

Thousands of people have beseeched Transport Minister Marc Garneau to compel airlines to issue refunds,

Police issue warning after baby comes across suspected drugs in Kamloops park

The 11-month-old girl’s mother posted photos on social media showing a small plastic bag containing a purple substance

Collision results in train derailment just east of Golden

The derailment occurred Sunday night, according to a statement from CP

Most Read