A&E » Arts

That’s a wrap



Whistler Film Group co-ordinates industry shoots

There is a new association in town breathing even more life into the film and print production shoots going on around Whistler.

The Whistler Film Group is the new link.

"We realized there was a need to co-ordinate business," says group founder Alyna Herscovisi-Flann.

The Whistler Film Group is an umbrella association which co-ordinates members of the film industry with film productions shooting in Whistler and the surrounding area.

The WFG is listed in Reelwest digest and online Web site, a resource for film and video productions based in Western Canada.

Local is the focus of the growing association.

"I try to keep the staffing as local as I can, so that the work can remain in Whistler," says Herscovisi-Flann.

The WFG does not initiate film and video projects, but instead carries projects from script and storyboard stage to filming.

She says the process is simple.

"Clients come to us with a finished project idea in mind," she says, "and from there we can take a project to completion."

Herscovisi-Flann was a producer with IMAX for 20 years, in addition to working with Montreal’s NFB (Baseball Girls, Under the Willow Tree). She calls the new group an "informal service organization."

The WFG was created in January, 2002.

Since that time, New York’s Bluenote Jeans and Ann Taylor (fashion advertising in print), Sky Blue Vodka (print), and Eddie Bauer clothing company have all worked with the WFG.

"We’re really trying to keep the business in town – and bring in new business," says Hercovisi-Flann, who saw a need for a contact point to co-ordinate location scouting, casting, and filming for productions that visit town.

Occasionally, a client may need just one link to finish the job.

Ross Muirhead, acting manager for production and location services with the B.C. Film Commission, says the WFG covers the gap.

"Quite often a production company (will come to us) and want to go film in Whistler, so we refer them to the Whistler Film Group.

"It’s quite handy that there’s a more centralized body, with people that have all the local knowledge."

The WFG is also a key, free headhunter service at this point for members of the film and video industry living in the Sea to Sky corridor. Locals can submit their resumes, free of charge, for compilation in the association’s database.

Production companies are more inclined to find this local talent, which saves them from having to pay for lodging costs for staff.

Many clients also visit the Whistler area for that perfect mountain shot, so the WFG works with Whistler-Blackcomb and Blackcomb Helicopters for peak shots. Work also has to be co-ordinated with the Resort Municipality of Whistler for permits and zoning.

The group also works with local agency Action Talent.

Safety issues are always a concern. Wayne Flann, location scout, ski patroller, and member of Whistler’s search and rescue team, is based in Whistler and works with the WFG referrals whenever time permits.

"A job might come up through the WFG for a location scout, which I can then do, or we can refer them to the group for a different production cast," says Flann.

Visualizing mountain stream and pine is part of the job of a location scout.

"Clients send us storyboards and what they’re looking for – waterfalls, or lakes – and then I try to match it," says Flann.

His role is to cover safety for mountain shoots, as well as local permits.

For more information contact Alyna Herscovisi-Flann at the Whistler Film Group at (604) 932-1890, or email wango@direct.ca .