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The Western Smartphone Film Festival 2019

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The Western Smartphone Film Festival is back for the 4th year and soon will be wrapping up the official Registration period and then those registered will start the work on creating their films for this year’s festival.

The Western Smartphone Film Festival is a student-run organization at Western University in London, Ontario that is focused on developing youth in the field of film and entertainment by means of an annual smartphone short film festival. With a focus on inclusivity and garnishing Canada's diverse and talented student population, the festival team uses a smartphone as a platform to allow a broad range of students to explore their creativity and further fuel their passion for the arts without the burden of expensive equipment. 

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Renee Yik

WSFF Executive Director 

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Emily Shaw

WSFF Promotions Director

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Sebastian Chavez

WSFF Finance Director

This year’s Executive Director of the festival is Renee Yik, a 4th-year student at Western University studying at the Ivey School of Business with an interest in the film and fashion industry. She is excited for the WSFF’s potential to inspire and cultivate a community of support, passion, and appreciation. “I’ve been a part of the festival for the past 3 years. Every year, I look forward to seeing the different and unique ways in which people interpret the theme and express themselves. Each film submission makes me so appreciative of the creativity and imagination that people hold. That’s why it’s so important to continue this opportunity for them to share their thoughts with their community”, says Yik. The 2019 festival committee team includes Sebastian Chavez (Finance Director) and Emily Shaw (Promotions Director) as well as a group of dedicated volunteers passionate about film.

The mission behind the WSFF is close to the hearts of the iFilmGroup team.  iFilmGroup strives to network youth and seniors in the making of award-winning films. As each person involved in the group of various generations brings their skills and talents to make meaningful films as they transition through their life journey. The group focus on mentoring and giving opportunities for both young and old to be able to make films. “When you have a festival that is organized and run by students and has films that are made with such passion as what is submitted to WSFF, it’s pretty impressive”, says iFilmGroup co-founder Matthew Marshall. Marshall had the privilege of being one of the judges for the 2018 Festival. “The level of talent and films were very high, as was the professions and work ethic of the organization committee that ran the festival”, Marshall adds. Marshall was blown away last year to see the high quality and immense creativity that came out of the films that were entered. The films were of such high quality it was hard for Marshall and the other judges to come to a final decision on the top three films, “it was a hard choice and took some real discussion on the part of the judging panel” says Marshall. He was also part of an industry professional panel which took questions from the audience and students about filmmaking. “Overall the entire festival was an amazing film experience that is worth attending”, says Marshall. He hopes the WSFF continues to grow and why along with iFilmGroup wish to support and encourage the festival committee in helping the festival to reach out to more filmmakers as well as film lovers to come to see the films being made. 

All films entered into the festival must be produced, directed and edited by students who are enrolled in a recognized Canadian post-secondary institution. All film submissions must be created during the period between theme release and film submission and must be filmed on a smartphone of any brand.  All submissions must not have been released in any way on the internet or TV prior to the festival. Non-students may be used as actors as long as they are directed by a post-secondary student. The film must not exceed ten minutes in length including credits. Editing software is allowed and not restricted to software available on smartphones. Each film must incorporate the theme for that year’s festival. All content must be 14A rating appropriate. All non-English films must have subtitles.

This year’s theme is “PERCEPTION vs REALITY”.

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Students are already getting their cast and crew ready and getting their thinking caps on to create, film and edit a short film that could be part of WSFF this year for a chance to win $500. The festival will take place on February 2nd, 2019

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iFilmGroup actresses go to jail

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Two prominent iFilmGroup actress went to jail for their most recent dramatic performance.  Two scenes were filmed in Chatham for the 1hr long dramatic film Blue Love that featured the film’s lead actress and iFilmGroup acting coach Helena Rose. The scene also featured iFilmGroup member Maysee Mclean. How the jail scenes fit into the story line the film’s director and iFilmGroup co-founder Matthew Marshall will not comment.

When iFilmGroup’s other co-founder and Community Emgagement Manager- Don Hickey was asked about it, he had this to say, “Matthew Marshall as a director is always pushing the envelope in his films to enhance the viewers experience and evoke emotion and reaction in his films. It’s his trade mark “social justice style” says Hickey.  Marshall often takes on social justice causes and likes to make people feel the experience and cause a reaction. In doing that style of film making it often lands him in some interesting place for locations for filming. “It’s all part of the experience, not only for the viewer but also for those involved in cast and crew. It opens people up to experiences that are different”, says Marshall.  

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Both actresses have never really been to jail and found the experience one that they are glad was just part of acting and not real life.  The film shoot created some very dramatic images and footage for the film. Both actresses look the part in their orange prison outfits and taking on the roles of their characters in the hard cold steel prison cells.  “It left me with a feeling that it was all very real and can trigger some anxiety within yourself. I can’t imagine actually having to be in jail” says Helena Rose.  She is not only the lead actress of the film playing the role of Kaitlyn Butler but she is the co-producer and co-writer of the film with Matthew Marshall.  The experience affected the other actress involved in the scene as well. Maysee McLean plays the role of Piper Keys in the film. McLean felt that overall the experience was something that definitely fed my curiosity.  “I was able to see what a real jail cell looks like and, having to portray the type of emotion of a real prison inmate would be feeling in that situation of being locked up.  It helped me to gain more acting experience that I will continue to benefit from”, says McLean.

Marshall did share that one of the scenes involved a very dramatic break down by Helena Rose’s character about being locked in the cell.  All the stress, and emotions of the event along with depression, anxiety all are brought together to create a very emotion and heart-wrenching scene for the character. The footage for the scenes will add a very real life feel to the film that will go along with the hard edge of much of the other footage that is sure to make the film something that draws people in as it deals with very real life issues that many people can relate to. Up next for the  m & s Marshall Production and iFilmGroup team are scenes at Fanshawe College for Blue Love taking place in a hospital ward which will be filmed in one of Fanshawe’s medical simulation rooms.  Scenes for the film are almost done. After the filming at Fanshawe the team will take a break for the holidays and will pick up in the New Year with the final scenes for the film.

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FANSHAWE ROOTS STRONG IN BLUE LOVE

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Blue Love, the independent dramatic film by m & s Marshall Productions has a theme of “blue” that runs through it on several levels. But the cast and crew of the film also have a red and white streak that runs through a major portion of the primary roles and positions as well as runs throughout the entire cast and crew. That red and white streak is that there is a major portion of them that have attended or are attending Fanshawe College in London, Ontario.  It doesn’t take long when you look up and down the cast and crew of the film to see the Fanshawe roots run strong within the film.  Four of the top five roles in the film are people who have graduated or are attending Fanshawe.  The rest of the cast and crew is sprinkled with Fanshawe connections. All coming from a vast range of programs. From Film Making to Theatre arts, to nursing, and business classes. The Fanshawe legacy is woven into this production on many levels.

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You look no further than the top to see the Fanshawe connection trickle down. The co-owner of m & s Marshall Production and co-founder of iFilmGroup Matthew Marshall is a graduate of Fanshawe with diploma in “Audio Visual Multi Media Production” and a post graduate certificate in “Broadcast television Digital Editing Applications”. Marshall is the Co-Writer, Co-Producer and Director of Blue Love.  His Co-Writing partner and Co-Producer of the film is Helena Rose. She is also plays the lead role of Kaitlyn Butler in the film and an acting coach of iFilmGroup. Helena Rose is a graduate of the Theatre Arts Performance Program at Fanshawe. She is not the only one in the cast that graduated from that program, in fact two of her classmates from the same year as she was are part of the film in Alex Catherine Tremblay and Steven Barber.  Tremblay plays Paige the best friend of Kaitlyn. Something that was not hard for Tremblay and Rose to create on screen as they are friends since their time at Fanshawe.  Barber plays the role of Dylan Clarke. The cast includes two other current students of the Theatre Arts performance Program. They are Ryan Mason as Kaitlyn’s husband Craig Butler and Marley Cabral that plays a supporting major role of Diamond in the film.  The rest of the cast includes a number of other people who have graduated from the Fanshawe Theatre Arts Performance Program or are currently enrolled in it.  Including Cheyenne McLean (detective), Kydra Ryan (wedding guest), Samantha Barker (Police Officer), and Amy Curtis (extra and Sound recorder).

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The cast and crew also includes more past and present Fanshawe students including Dina Jasim (nurse), Zaid Shamsi( Police Officer & Crew), Jessica Fediw (extra in various scenes), Mary Anne Ciuciura (elderly Lady), Aaron Kramers (Crew),  Stephen LeGresley (crew), Brandopn Heessel (crew), and Suliman Abuslem (crew).

“Fanshawe has some great programs that are very hands on and train the people that come through them to come out into the world to excel in their fields” says Marshall. Dina Jasim got to play the role of a nurse in the film. Something she attended the Fanshawe and Western Program for. She wants to change the lives of others and help people. Through being apart of the productions that Marshall company and iFilmGroup are doing she got to be a part of a production where she play a role of a nurse which is very near and dear to her as well as be a part of something that she enjoys doing in acting.  “Several of the film Students have gain experience in making films by being a part of productions with us” Marshall adds. He enjoys being able to work with students and graduates from Fanshawe because he knows he is getting high quality in the people that are attend the school and that come out of the programs.

Recently Marshall went back to speak at Fanshawe to one of the Film Making courses as a guest speaking. (see a previous Press Release -iFilmGroup’s Matthew Marshall Guest Speaker at Fanshawe College for more ) Marshall has enjoyed working with the Fanshawe students that he has so far and he sees a strong connection with his former school where he was trained. He is looking forward to possibly more doors opening in the future and possible working closer with various programs in community partnerships if the opportunities were to arise.  “I think iFilmGroup can help them and they can help us” says Marshall

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Grow and learning of Life on Set

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The independent dramatic film Blue Love filmed a full day in London, Ontario of the scenes that are the “backbone” of the film. Filming included scenes of the lead character Kaitlyn Butler (Played by actress and iFilmGroup Acting coach Helena Rose) and Dr. Fairbanks (Played by iFilmGroup member Mary Ellen Herder) and took place on a set that was a therapist office.  The scenes centre around Kaitlyn who has been court ordered to attend therapy (the reason is revealed in the film) talking to Dr. Fairbanks about her emotional and mental issues due to events in her life. It is in these scenes that the films themes dealing with mental illness, depression, thoughts of suicide and domestic abuse are all explored.  Flashback scenes of further explanation and telling the full story are between the scenes in Therapy.

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The talented pair of actresses in Rose and Herder showed wonderful chemistry during filming of the scenes. The chemistry between them was first seen in original auditions when Herder was reading opposite Rose.  As the two of them have got to know each other since casting the chemistry between them when they act opposite each other has grown and shows with the screen magic they make when acting opposite of each other.

With the completion of this filming day Blue Love moves into the final stages of production with just a half a dozen more filming days depending on schedules and locations. A day at the end of October will complete another eight scenes for the film. With other dates on the horizon in November and with at least one date in mid-December.

Don Hickey, iFilmGroup co-founder was in attendance for the filming with his iFilmGroup partner and other co-founder Matthew Marshall. Marshall owns m & s Marshall Production the company producing Blue Love. Marshall is also the film’s director. He is co-writer and Co-Producer with lead Actress Helena Rose.  Rose is a familiar face with iFilmGroup. She is the Acting Coach for the group. As well, Rose has been a part of five previous production associated with Marshall and Hickey and is cast in an upcoming project as well. Including Blue Love that brings her total to seven productions she has acted in and another she was acting coach for.  This is Rose’s first time stepping behind the camera to work as a producer and writer of the production.  It has given her a new perspective on the process of film making.

Rose along with a number of others, both cast and crew have been given an opportunity to grow in their production experience and be mentored in the art of film making through the film. It has also given a voice to many in the cast and crew to work on a film that has themes and a story line on some important issues in society today.  A number of people within the cast and crew have talked about the growth they have felt and experienced from working on this project.  Marshall feels with performances like what Herder and Rose gave the film will touch and speak to a lot of people. “You will feel for Helena Rose’s character. She has been through a lot. We touch a number of very core pulse themes and topics that are going on in society right now with this film”, says Marshall. After filming is complete the project will move into post production. A release date has not been set yet.

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ifilmgroup meets with actor/director
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iFilmGroup’s Max Steinberg and his dad, along with Don Hickey meet with actor/director Chris Potter at the Canadian Club luncheon in London. Chris spoke about his life growing up in London and his fondness of his family and friends

 iFilmGroup Max Steinberg and his dad, with Don Hickey, meet Chris Potter Actor/Director from CBC TV series Heartland.

iFilmGroup Max Steinberg and his dad, with Don Hickey, meet Chris Potter Actor/Director from CBC TV series Heartland.

He shared some experiences of over 30 years from his movie and TV careers. He demonstrated heart-felt emotion when talking of his family. All that listened to Chris speak were moved by his embrace. He certainly is a gentleman that engaged the audience. Sample footage from Heartland WOW’ed the audience.

Heartland is a Canadian family drama television series which debuted on CBC on October 14, 2007.

The series is based on the Heartland book series by Lauren Brooke. Heartland follows sisters Amy and Lou Fleming, their grandfather Jack Bartlett, and Ty Borden, through the highs and lows of life at the ranch.

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As of the episode shown on March 29, 2015, Heartland surpassed Street Legal as the longest-running one-hour scripted drama in the history of Canadian television. It celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2016, and Season 10 began airing October 2, 2016. It was announced on March 22, 2017 that Heartland was renewed for Season 11. The season premiered on September 24, 2017. It was announced on April 26, 2018 that the show was renewed for a 12th season.

Christopher Jay "Chris" Potter (born August 23, 1960) is a Canadian actor, musician, and pitchman. He is primarily known for his roles on soap operas and prime-time television. Potter is known for his roles as Peter Caine, the son of Kwai Chang Caine (played by David Carradine) on the 1990s crime drama Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, Dr. David Cameron on the first season of Queer as Folk, as the voice of Gambit in the animated X-Men series, and for his recurring role as con-artist Evan Owen on The Young and the Restless. He plays Tim Fleming on the drama Heartland.

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iFilmGroup’s Matthew Marshall
Special Guest Speaker at Fanshawe College for a Film and TV class.

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iFilmGroup co-founder Matthew Marshall returned to the roots of his training and education recently. Marshall was the special guest speaker at Fanshawe College for a Film and TV class.   “It was special to return to where I got my educations in film making” says Marshall.

Marshall recalls the guest speakers and industry specialist that spoke to him in his college career at Fanshawe. Now several decades later it is Marshall who is the industry professional that had come to the school to be the speaker and mentor to a new generation of students studying the art of film making and production.

A lot has changed since Marshall had attended Fanshawe College. The school is much bigger and more diverse. More programs are offered and the campus has expanded as well as offering a secondary campus downtown. He spoke about his experience as an award winning director in film making and about entering films into film festivals.  He also discussed the iFilmGroup program and how through iFilmGroup Marshall is mentoring and teaching a new generation of film makers wanting to learn about the art of film making.

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Marshall felt that it was very cool to return to Fanshawe where his training all began. Fanshawe has grown in the film making course since Matthew's time at Fanshawe.  “When I was at Fanshawe there was no film making course. Now it’s a program”, says Marshall.  When Marshall attended back in the late 90’s he took “Audio Visual Multi Media Production” which was an over view of a number of the various production streams. From film making, photography, video production to audio recording.

He returned after that two year program to do a one year post graduate course in “Broadcast Television Digital Post Production Applications”. Which was all about nonlinear editing and post production done on a computer. He was part of the first ever class for that course. He was also one of only a handful of students that graduated that first year. They did not even have their own dedicated class room at the time and shared the Avid Editing Suit with the Television students. Now many years later there is an actual room for post graduate course in non-linear editing.

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One of the students that was part of the class Marshall spoke to has worked with iFilmGroup. After Marshall’s presentation, both Marshall and the other co-founding member Don Hickey saw several others were interested. Marshall and Hickey sees the potential of students working with iFilmGroup making films in the future. They also sees the possibility of working with Fanshawe on the horizon on other fronts with other courses in a community partnership that helps both students as well as iFilmGroup members to gain valuable experience in acting and crew. But also to gain real life practical experience in other aspects of their lives.   

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“Struggles Within” Receives More Awards

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The short film “Struggles Within” has added to its credentials at film festivals. The film has received two nominations for awards at the 2018 Top Indie Film Awards. The film was nominated for “Best Experimental Short” and “Best Original Idea”. In the final results “Struggles Within” was beat out in both categories by other films. But the entire cast and crew of the film are honoured to have been selected for the festival and to receive the two nominations. These two nominations build on the films win in the category of “Best Experimental” at the Fall Edition of the Alternative Film Festival in Toronto.

The production team was very pleased with these nominations especially the “best original idea” nomination. The film is turning heads as it speak to people in the international language of dance and drama with very few words explaining the message. Something that the film’s co-producer and iFilmGroup co-founder Matthew Marshall feels is strength and a weakness in the film. “The strength is that language is not a barrier in the film for people to see it, relate to it and understand from around the world. The weakness is even with the updates and added images some people still are struggling with what the film is about” says Marshall. That has been seen in a few film festivals who have not got what the film is trying to say.  But for the most part anyone who suffers with depression or anxiety is understanding the film and feel that the message is right on point. One viewer had this to say about people or festivals that are not getting the message. “If you see the film and you don’t understand it, then you yourself or no one near you has struggled with depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts. This film has its finger on the pulse of what it is like to deal with the inner demons in your head and what visually it looks like to have and deal with depression on a daily bases.” says Alexis G.

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The film is a 14 minute telling of a “story through almost all music and dance” about a girl struggling with depression and contemplating suicide.  It’s about her choices to find the hope to continue to live. “The story is told through the thoughts of the main character”, Marshall says.   The film is a timely story that speaks to what many people in society are struggling with. It's done in a way that words do not fill the story, but images, dance and music do, so the viewer can “feel” the story being told on screen. It also can be related to, if the person watching has had experience in their life either personally or through a member of their family with the issue of depression or mental illness. Many who have seen the film feel it shows what many people “feel” in struggling with depressions and mental illness.

“Struggles Within” is written and directed by Corrinne Wood a Chatham native. “Mental illness is something really near and dear to my heart, and this film is designed to show an audience who may not be struggling with a mental illness what kind of daily struggles really goes on inside the mind of someone struggling with depression”, says Wood.

The film was a collaboration between IME Films, m & s Marshall Productions and iFilmGroup.  Filming of the project became a story onto itself of life imitating the art being created.  “The film became about this group of people who had an understanding of depression and mental illness through life experience or association with people who had been through it.  The team wanted to share the message …that it’s OK to struggle. That through talking and communication about the issue we can help each other,” says Marshall.  “Struggles Within” was filmed and features dancers, actors and crew from St. Thomas and London.

Since its release the production team has received many messages and responses from people who suffer with depression and mental illness saying how much they enjoyed the production and how much it has spoken to them. “We are touching lives with the film and that is something very special” says Marshall. Marshall is known for making and being a part of films that speak to people on various levels. Especially emotionally. “a film by Matthew Marshall always makes you think and gives you something to digest after watching it. They generally evoke a reaction or emotion” says Don Hickey, co-founder of iFilmGroup.  Hickey feels that it is something that both he and Marshall share. The ability to make stories that have a very human aspect and teach a life lesson and cause a person to think. “It really is at the heart of the iFilmGroup mission to help those involved learn and grow as they journey through life.

“Struggles Within” has been entered into a number of other film festivals with a focus on festivals that have themes of mental illness and dance. Because of its unique style, structure and look the film is outside the box of traditional films and is fitting best into the experimental category more than the short film category.  Once it is finished being entered into festivals the team would like to give the film to organizations who deal with mental illness as a DVD that can be watched by others so the emssages included in the film can be shared with others who struggle.  “to be able to share with others and have them see that it is ok to struggle, is a very power thing that we can pass along,” says Marshall. He goes on to say. “We feel that what our team has been through personally is very much what many others are going through in their lives. Because the story has almost no words everyone can relate to what is being shown on the screen,”  Marshall adds.

The cast features: Katie Ostojic, Morgan Flanagan, Camryne Quinn, Maysee McLean, Julia Hunter, Olivia Torrance, Talitha Wood, Amy Krosnicki, Carly Schelken, Chassidy Fleming, Mackenzie Hyatt, Elizabeth White, Bianca Sinclair, Abby Johnston, Nia Wood, Ashley Wood and Rylan Rand.

The team feels that these two newest nominations are just another step in where this film is headed and the lives that it will change in the process.

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Saturday, September 29, 2018 marks the closing night theatre show of a program in London Ontario and area that changes the lives of teens that are within the theatre arts program.  It is an annually event that the Grand Theatre in London, Ontario presents and is a collaboration production lead by professions but put on by students from the surrounding community.  The Grand Theatre’s High School Project is the only theatre program of its kind in North America. It is an acclaimed mentorship program where high school students are taught the craft of theatre production and acting by some of the most outstanding people in the industry from London, Ontario. The High School Project offers an exceptional opportunity for students to receive education and training in a work environment of professional theatre.  The initiative provides leadership, creativity, and communication skills that serve these students on and off the stage, in every area of their lives. At the end of the journey their learning is culminated in a live production on the Grand’s Spriet Stage.

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The High School Project or HSP as it is known began in 1998 with West Side Story. Since then the Grand Theatre has produced 34 High School Projects. In 2016 the program celebrated its 20th anniversary with the bestselling Les Miserables: School Edition, which was followed by the hit production Evita last year.  This year will mark the first time the HSP brings a new Canadian Musical to the Stage.  This year’s selection of a production was Prom Queen: The Musical. The show was not without some controversy within the community.  When first released as the production that the Grand was putting forth to be doing for the 2018 edition, the script drew the ire of the London District Catholic School Board and the Thames Valley District School Board and they pulled their funding which left a dent in the project's $250,000 budget. It also marked the first time the two boards haven't contributed to the annual play.  Thames Valley School Board Trustee Chair Matt Reid was on record as saying “There are many things in the script that go against the culture and values of our schools” He went on to say “I think the message in the story is very important. The issue is how you portray the facts of the story." Reid also said the play's theme of LGBTQ rights isn't the issue, but rather the language in the script, and how the story portrays school boards, teachers and other adults in a negative light.  The community rallied and through various fundraising and donations reach and exceeded the goal for what was needed to put on the play.

Prom Queen: The Musical tells the true story of Marc Hall, a teenager who in 2002 wanted to bring his boyfriend to the school prom. A celebration of young people standing proudly for themselves, this award-winning production features 50 students onstage and another 30 backstage, bringing an authentic voice to a remarkable story.

Grand Theatre artistic director Dennis Garnhum said he chose the play because it allows high school students to play characters their own age in a powerful story of triumph.  He is always looking for what’s next and how we grow.  He doesn’t want to just keep going through the classic plays. Prom Queen is a brand new Canadian musical set in Ontario based on true fact about what happened when a young high school student innocently said 'I'm taking my boyfriend to prom.'"

Prom Queen was originally developed through Sheridan College's Canadian Music Theatre Project (2014). It was development workshopped at Theatre Aquarius in Hamilton, Ontario. (2015). The production had its world premiere at Montreal's Segal Centre for the Performing Arts in Montreal, Quebec in 2016 in a held-over run and was presented at New York's National Alliance of Musical Theater's New Musical Festival.  Prom Queen received the 2016 Pechet Musical Award from the Playwrights Guild of Canada and is currently nominated for 4 Montreal English Theatre Awards (META), including for Outstanding New Text (Book and Lyrics) and Outstanding Production. The Montreal Gazette considered the show a champion of human rights, celebrating diversity and shining a glitter ball in the face of intolerance. Broadway.com considers the show "Entertaining, hopeful, and accessible for any audience."
"A shining example of a homegrown show that is both vastly entertaining and immensely heartfelt."

 
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Several teens associated with iFilmGroup and the films being made by the group, had applied and auditioned to be part of the High School project production. Two made it to the cast. Both Jessica Ladd and Brooklyn Pritchard were part of the ensemble cast.  Jhasna Rivas-Vasquez was part of the crew in the props department.  The lead role of the production was played London native Devon Dixon from A.B. Lucas Secondary School who starred as Marc Hall.

Brooklyn Pritchard played the role of Chloe Carter one of the students that gets bullied in the short film Malicious Attack that is in post-production. Jessica Ladd played one of the teenagers who make fun of the lead character Kaitlyn Butler (Helena Rose) in Blue Love which is still in principle filming. Jessica is also in consideration for some other upcoming roles with iFilmGroup.  Jhasna Rivas-Vasquez is working with the iFilmGroup Team on the tech end. She is interested in gaining more experience in the art of film making with an interest in directing and how a film comes together.

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The Grand Theatre wants to be committed to providing enriching theatre-going experiences that ignite the imagination and connect learning with creativity.  The Grand Theatre's Board of Directors and staff is very thankful to Londoners and all those across the country who came forward to celebrate and support everything that the 2018 High School Project, Prom Queen: The Musical, embraces – diversity, inclusion, and human rights.  A community-driven fundraising effort, initiated by David Billson and Rachel Berdan of rTraction in January, generated an overwhelming response.

The show received some mixed feelings and reviews but has had a successful run from September 18th to 29th in the Spriet Stage and has given the opportunity to a large group of teens to enhance their skills within theatre and to make and grow friendships that will last a life time. “regardless where peoples thoughts and feels fall on the content of the show, no one can argue with what the High School project does for kids in the community relating to theatre”, Says Matthew Marshall iFilmGroup co-founder and award winning film director.  Marshall along with Don Hickey who founded iFilmGroup applaud the Grand Theatre for what they have done with their High School Program as an outlet to mentor and train youth and teens in the theatre industry and theatre production.  “I hope that iFilmGroup can have the long term high impact on our youth and teens in film making the same way the High School project has on them within the theatre community”, says Hickey. To date iFilmGroup and its Production Team have mentored over 350 seniors, youth and teenagers in the art of film making, with more joining and being a part of the iFilmGroup program every day.

The iFimGroup has several initiatives in the works for seniors and teenagers to gain experience through mentoring with them. They are holding workshops for acting and technical crew. As well, the iFilmGroup team has Accredited Mentoring Programs and Standard Mentoring Programs that high school students and college/university students can be part of.  Coming soon will be a Scholarship Program that iFilmGroup is preparing to roll out for the 2018-2019 school year for high School students who are graduating and planning to moving on to post-secondary studies in acting or in a multi Media/visual arts field. “A lot of things are happening at iFilmGroup and we hope that many seniors and teenagers will get involved”, says Hickey.

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“Struggles Within” won at the Alternative Film Festival (AltFF) in Toronto- “Best Experimental” Short Film

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“Struggles Within” the short film which iFilmGroup helped to co-produce has won the “Best Experimental” Short film at the Alternative Film Festival (AltFF). The film which is told through dance and dramatic images with very few words has captured its first award since being released online in July 2018. The film scored the highest in its category to snag the award of the pool of nine films nominated in the category.

The film is a 14 minute telling of a “story through almost all music and dance” about a girl struggling with depression and contemplating suicide.  It’s about her choices to find the hope to continue to live. “The story is told through the thoughts of the main character”, Matthew Marshall one of the film’s producers says.   The film is a timely story that speaks to what many people in society are struggling with. It's done in a way that words do not fill the story, but images, dance and music do, so the viewer can “feel” the story being told on screen. It also can be related to, if the person watching has had experience in their life either personally or through a member of their family with the issue of depression or mental illness. Many who have seen the film feel it shows what many people “feel” in struggling with depressions and mental illness.

Struggles Within is written and directed by Corrinne Wood a Chatham native. “Mental illness is something really near and dear to my heart, and this film is designed to show an audience who may not be struggling with a mental illness what kind of daily struggles really goes on inside the mind of someone struggling with depression”, says Wood.

The film was a collaboration between IME Films, m & s Marshall Productions and iFilmGroup.  Filming of the project became a story onto itself of life imitating the art being created.  “The film became about this group of people who had an understanding of depression and mental illness through life experience or association with people who had been through it.  The team wanted to share the message …that it’s Ok to struggle. That through talking and communication about the issue we can help each other,” says Marshall.  Struggles Within was filmed and features dancers, actors and crew from St. Thomas and London.

Since its release the producers have received many messages and responses from people who suffer with depression and mental illness saying how much they enjoyed the production and how much it has spoken to them. “Struggles Within” will continue to be entered into film festivals. Once it is finished the team would like to give it to organizations who deal with mental illness as a DVD that can be watched by others. “We feel that what our team has been through personally is very much what many others are going through in their lives. Because the story has almost no words everyone can relate to what is being shown on the screen,” says Marshall.

The cast features: Katie Ostojic, Morgan Flanagan, Camryne Quinn, Maysee McLean, Julia Hunter, Olivia Torrance, Talitha Wood, Amy Krosnicki, Carly Schelken, Chassidy Fleming, Mackenzie Hyatt, Elizabeth White, Bianca Sinclair, Abby Johnston, Nia Wood, Ashley Wood and Rylan Rand.

Struggles Within’s winning of the award marks the 88th independent film award that iFilmGroup and its production partners have won at festivals around the world.  Several of Marshall’s films lead the way with most of the awards. “Tuned In” a short film won 40 awards and had 22 Official Selections and Daughter of the King (feature) won 32 awards and had 16 Official Selections. The film “Ronny’s Bench”  written and produced by Donald M Hickey (iFilmGroup co-founder) is the third highest with 8 awards.

PR-SW-ALTFF-WON-TORONTO-09-2018

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Some of the cast and crew of "Blue Love" as well as representatives of iFilmGroup were on location at the Chatham Healthplex to film a short scene for "Blue Love" involving one of the main characters of the film Dr. Fairbanks (played by iFilmGroup Member Mary Ellen Herder). The scene involved Herder's character playing “Pop Tennis” in a gym, as she finishes her game she goes to take a drink and towel off and sees a message on her phone. That message is from the lead character Kaitlyn Butler (played by iFilmGroup acting coach Helena Rose).

The scene involves a number of extras from the Chatham area who were other players of the sport of Pop Tennis spanning three courts of the gym. The fellow players were members of the Chatham Tennis Club and the Chatham Pop Tennis Club. The extra’s ranged from teens to seniors and all ages in the middle. Proving the sport of Pop Tennis goes across generations.

The question that is coming up in many minds is what is Pop Tennis? Pop Tennis is a scaled-down version of traditional tennis.  It is the new POPular type of tennis with a twist on paddle tennis which dates back to 1898. It is being played across the USA and around the world. POP Tennis is Tennis just played on shorter tennis courts with shorter and solid racquets and lower compression tennis balls.  It uses the same scoring and rules as tennis -except for one underhand serve. Pop Tennis Canada is a newly formed Pop Tennis Club established by Rob Herder in Chatham Ontario and is the first and only established Pop Tennis Club in Canada.  More information can be found on the new sport at https://www.poptenniscanada.com/

Many of the traditional tennis players the Chatham Tennis Club have made the transition to the sport or did very quickly for filming. The Chatham tennis club has approx. 120 members, 4 lighted tennis courts, clubhouse and offer both Youth and Adult programs and lessons.

“It was cool to bring these players and this new sport into the film in a creative way for the scene” says Marshall. He said the group was great to work with and much mentoring was going on between players on how to play the sport as well as them taking in and asking questions about the filming process and how film making works. A number of the players there though it was an interesting experience that they learned a lot from.  This was one of about eight remaining filming dates for Blue Love.  The film is drawing to a close and will be wrapped soon, although Marshall feels it will still be till about October before they finish filming with working around various schedules.

PR-BL-PT-09-03-2018

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WOW! to "Struggles Within"

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The short film "Struggles Within" was recently released online for a short period of time before it heads to festivals. The short view period of the film was to allow cast and crew as well as the public to see the film prior to it being sent to festivals. The film is a 14 minute telling of a story through almost all music and dance about a girl struggling with depression and contemplating suicide.  The creators did not expect the over whelming positive response they have received. The messages have been coming in with people who identify with the film and its message. “The film is a timely story that speaks to what many people in society are struggling with. It is done in a way that words do not fill the story but images and music so the viewer can “feel” the story being told on screen”, says Matthew Marshall the film’s co-producer and Production Manager.  Many of the viewers are relating to the subject as they have experienced mental illness and depression in their lives or by someone close to them.

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The film was a collaboration between IME Films, m & s Marshall Productions and iFilmGroup.  Struggles Within is written and directed by Corrinne Wood. When asked about the film, Wood had this to say “mental illness is something really near and dear to my heart, and this film is designed to show an audience who may not be struggling with a mental illness what kind of daily struggles really goes on inside the mind of someone struggling with depression.” The film is an emotional look at one young women’s struggle with depression, her struggles with her inner demons and her choice as to whether she wants to continue to live.  

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Depression is the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide. More than 300 million people are living with depression, an increase of more than 18% between 2005 and 2015 alone.  Yet it is also one of the most stigmatized condition, and misconceptions are very common. Depression affects people of all ages, from all walks of life, in all countries. It causes mental anguish and impacts on people’s ability to carry out even the simplest everyday tasks, with sometimes devastating consequences for relationships with family and friends and the ability to earn a living.  In addition, people with depression normally have several of the following symptoms: a loss of energy; a change in appetite; sleeping more or less; anxiety; reduced concentration; indecisiveness; restlessness; feelings of worthlessness, guilt, or hopelessness; and thoughts of self-harm or suicide. At worst, depression can lead to suicide, now the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year olds.

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The condition of depression and those suffering from depressions surrounds and affects the m & s Marshall and IME Film teams. Also a number of iFilmGroup members struggle with anxiety, depression and mental illness. “The issue hits close to home for many of us” says Don Hickey, iFilmGroup co-founder.  “Friends, Family and those around many of us deal with depression every day” says Marshall. It is why Marshall, Hickey, m & s Marshall Productions and the iFilmGroup teamed up with IME films to undertake making this film.  The film’s lead dancer who plays the role of “The Girl”, Katie Ostojic feels dancing in the film was a wonderful opportunity to do what she loves the most, to dance. “Being part of this film is an opportunity to inspire others, especially youth” says Ostojic when talking about her role in the film.  She goes on to say, “The story about overcoming demons and finding hope Is one I know well, and It’s an honour for me to tell this story through the art dance. Hope changes everything”.

Some of comments about the film……

“I love this film! I relate on so many levels. Thank you for making it and opening up the conversation about mental Illness” – Tanya C.

“Great story. My wife suffers with depression and we both can relate to this film on so many levels. Great Job.” – Mark G.

“This film blew my mind. The team presented the issue of mental illness through the mind of someone who suffers from it, in a very real way. Awesome job.” – Megan T.

“Congratulations you did a fantastic job! The “I'm fine/ save me” was a really cool idea and worked really well to convey the message! I also like how seemingly outnumbered “hope” was by the multitude of “inner demons", yet “hope” refuses to be extinguished. You did a great job!”
– Dayna V.

“Thank you for making a film that open the doors to discussion on the topic of depression” – Jamie T.

Struggles Within presents the struggles that someone with mental illness deals with. I love the images. You had me gripping my seat and cheering for ‘the Girl’ to defeat Depression -  Emma L.

“A gripping story that so many people can relate to.” – Stacey R.

“I was moved by the telling of this story through dance and images. You touched me with the story. Thank you for telling a story that open doors to discuss the topic of depression and break down stigmas related to the issue.” – Angela B.

The film will be up online for viewing a bit longer and then will be entered into film festivals for the next year. Following that the film’s director Corrinne Wood would like to give it to various community organizations for them to have and use in sharing the story of what it is like to struggle with depression and with inner demons.

PR-SW-WOW-08-12-18

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Marshall Polishes Scenes in "Struggles Within"

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“Struggles Within” was the original concept of IME Films, who brought m & s Marshall Productions on in association with IME Films to make the film.  When the production was shown to the test audience and met with misunderstanding in what the message was, IME Films asked m & s Marshall Productions and its co-owner Matthew Marshall to come up with a solution that would help the film be understood by the general viewing audience.

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Marshall who was a co-producer of the film as well as holding several key positions on the creative side of the Struggles Within’s Production Team, mapped out a plan for how the vision of the film would be achieved. Marshall pulled on creative resources from the iFilmGroup and brought them on board with the film to be in association with the production. Making iFilmGroup a support service to the second production team opened the door to bringing a fresh perspective and resources to the table for the production to enhance the film.  With iFilmGroup helping the second Production Team I’m reminded of *Isadora Duncan’s philosophy of dance…preferring simple scenery and costumes over-elaborate ones. She maintained that the dancer should be the focus of attention.

I’m very delighted to see mixed ages with the actor/dancers in this production. This production was screened in southwestern Ontario which had the production team wanting to improve on the impact of the interpretation through dance. It was coming up to two years since the film was originally filmed. Through iFilmGroup’s Support Services, interviews were conducted with knowledgeable people in the medical industry. Studies were done by the iFilmGroup Support Services and during a workshop by iFilmGroup, Reza Khazaee associated with the University of Western Ontario, had a discussion with Marshall and Hickey and offered his advice. Through further discussion Marshall brought forward some of his ideas and Khazaee offered his medical insight on depression and and mental illness. Out of that discussion the visual design for dramatic images to enhance the productions were laid out and a time line to implement them was created.   

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iFilmGroup in association with m & s Marshall Productions cast additional actors to fill the new dramatic roles. The iFilmGroup team brought in their acting coach Helena Rose to work with some of those new actors to enhance their performance to bring out the best in them.  iFilmGroup brought in new crew and also used this opportunity to hold a very successful workshop during the process. Volunteers from the local colleges and university were helpful in this work. These volunteers went away with new skills from a working movie set that specialized in reviewing the original artistic vision and enhancing it through the new dramatic images. The collective visions were awesome. The message of this film was an important one that is relevant to what people are dealing with in their lives. It was important to ensure the film was finished and that the message was understood.

All people working on this film knew very well the delay in getting this finished. Especially with so many youth dancing and having their careers to look forward to, we were really concerned for these young people.

We’ve had positive comments come our way since it has been re-viewed after the second Production Team got involved.

To the youth that worked on “Struggles Within” as actors and dancers and crew… thank you for your patience. You all did a great performance.

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Don Hickey
Co-Founder; iFilmGroup.org

PR-SW-MM-POL-08-14-18

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iFilmGroup is Special Guest

iFilmGroup is Special Guest at the Elgin Theatre Guild's 'Film verse Theatre' “Tweens” workshop

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iFilmGroup co-founders Don Hickey and Matthew Marshall were Special Guest at the Elgin Theatre Guild's 'Film verse Theatre' “Tweens” workshop run by Lesley Chapman.  Chapman is ran a week long workshop from July 30th to Aug 3rd for 11 tweens that are associated with the theatre. These special guests taught them the differences between working on a theatre show and working on a film set.

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They were at the theatre from 9 am to 3pm Monday to Friday with the group putting on and recording their own program at the end of the week. Throughout the week in the afternoon they have guests. Hickey and Marshall were the guests on Tuesday afternoon.  They talked about both of their experience in film and Marshall told them about his 30 years of experience working both in Theatre and Film and what some of the differences are.

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Hickey and Marshall also talked about iFilmGroup and the work they are doing with their group in making films and building relationships. Following the speaking by Hickey and Marshall they took questions from the group of “tweens” and then the “tweens” showed them what they were working on for their Friday project. Marshall and Hickey observed and sat in on the group’s production meeting following the run through they did.

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Lesley Chapman gave the group notes on their presentation and Marshall and Hickey offered some further advice from their perspective.  The group then took some pictures with Hickey and Marshall before the day wrapped up. The “tweens” expressed that they had a great time and were very happy and thankful for Hickey and Marshall coming to speak.  The group appreciated the knowledge and the time that had been given to them.

From Marshall and Hickey perspective this was just the first step in what iFilmGroup is looking to do in the rest of 2018 into 2019. They wish to partner with Lesley and the ETG as well as other organizations related to theatre and film to provide knowledge and mentorship to people interested in learning more about the film industry.  Plans are in the works for future workshops and possible some further speaking engagements by iFilmGroup.

PR-ETG-SG-WKSP-08-02-18

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"Struggles Within" ReleaseD

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The short film "Struggles Within" has been released. The film is a 14 minute telling of a "story through almost all music and dance" about a girl struggling with depression and contemplating suicide.  The film is a timely story that speaks to what many people in society are struggling with. It's done in a way that words do not fill the story, but images and music do, so the viewer can “feel” the story being told on screen. It also can be related to, if the person watching has had experience in their life either personally or through a member of their family with the issue of depression or mental illness.

Struggles Within is written and directed by Corrinne Wood a Chatham native. When asked about the film, Wood had this to say “mental illness is something really near and dear to my heart, and this film is designed to show an audience who may not be struggling with a mental illness what kind of daily struggles really goes on inside the mind of someone struggling with depression.” The film is an emotional look at one young women’s struggle with depression, her struggles with her inner demons and her choice as to whether she wants to continue to live.  

The film was a collaboration between Chatham based IME Films and Port Stanley based m & s Marshall Productions.  Filming of the project became a story onto its self of life imitating the art being created.  “The film became about this group of people who had an understanding of depression and mental illness through life experience or association with people who had been through it. Wanting to make a film about the issue trying to explain it to the world and the outside world looking at the issue of depression and this film making group and trying to understand what they were creating” says Matthew Marshall the co-owner of m & s Marshall Productions and a Co-Producer of the project as well as the film’s production team lead.  

The film was shot in St. Thomas and area in the August and September of 2016. Editing of the film followed over the winter of 2017 and a limited test audience showing was done in May of 2017. The results of the showing was not good. People didn’t get the film. “The people watching didn’t relate the dancing and the story line to depression”, says Marshall. This was devastating to the entire production team. It was a question of what to do now.

The facts are that depression is the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide. More than 300 million people are living with depression, an increase of more than 18% between 2005 and 2015 alone.  Yet it is also one of the most stigmatized condition, and misconceptions are very common.

Depression affects people of all ages, from all walks of life, in all countries. It causes mental anguish and impacts on people’s ability to carry out even the simplest everyday tasks, with sometimes devastating consequences for relationships with family and friends and the ability to earn a living.  In addition, people with depression normally have several of the following symptoms: a loss of energy; a change in appetite; sleeping more or less; anxiety; reduced concentration; indecisiveness; restlessness; feelings of worthlessness, guilt, or hopelessness; and thoughts of self-harm or suicide. At worst, depression can lead to suicide, now the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year olds. With those facts how could the production team turn the production around to make people see what it was all about.  Marshall felt that the answer was in the fact that “from the inside looking out, it is hard to explain. From the outside looking in it’s hard to understand” Marshall said.  Marshall has always been a visual person he though with this idea maybe dramatic images would help.  But getting the original cast back to enhance the project was not easy as they all had busy schedules.

Time passed Marshall and Wood had ideas in the back of their minds. But how to make it happened and to ensure that it would work to solve the problems without undoing what had been already done or re-filming the entire project.

As that time passed Marshall got involved with creation of a new group of people in iFilmGroup. This organization in which Marshall was a co-founder of with Don Hickey, also opened the door to some new connections with individuals who were working in the health industry that were associated with iFilmGroup and one particular individual Reza Khazaee offered some insight into some ideas.

In December 2017 Marshall along with iFilmGroup set to work with some old and new faces of the project as well as a few new cast members to add a more dramatic twist to the film through dramatic images that showed the emotion and struggle of depression. IFilmGroup Acting coach Helena Rose was brought in to work with a number of the actors to ensure the proper tone and mood was achieved from the performances to add the right touch of dramatic impact to what was being filmed.  A second filming date was set for more new footage to be filmed and a secondary production team that was co-ordinated through iFilmGroup was brought in to work on the production.  With the various new images Marshall had, he combine it with the original dance footage to create the currant film. Which was released online at the end of July.

The condition of depression and those suffering from depressions surrounds and affects the m & s Marshall and IME Film teams. Also a number of iFilmGroup members struggle with anxiety, depression and mental illness. “The issue hits close to home for many of us” says Hickey.  “Friends, Family and those around many of us deal with depression every day” says Marshall. It is why Marshall, Hickey, m & s Marshall Productions and the iFilmGroup teamed up with IME films to undertake making this film.  The film’s lead dancer who plays the role of “The Girl”, Katie Ostojic feels dancing in the film was a wonderful opportunity to do what she loves the most, to dance. “Being part of this film is an opportunity to inspire others, especially youth” says Ostojic when talking about her role in the film.  She goes on to say, “The story about overcoming demons and finding hope Is one I know well, and It’s an honour for me to tell this story through the art dance. Hope changes everything”.

The original cast of dancers for the film also featured Camryne Quinn who plays Depression. The principle dancing cast is rounded out by another St. Thomas native in Morgan Flanagan who plays the role of Hope.  The rest of the dancers are from St. Thomas, London and Chatham Area who played “Inner Demons” including: Julia Hunter Olivia Torrance, Talitha Wood, Elizabeth White, Bianca Sinclair, Abby Johnston, Amy Krosnicki, Nia Wood, Ashley Wood.

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From the dramatic side the cast includes iFilmGroup member Maysee McLean as “the Voice” and the “Masked Girl”, as well from the drama side includes other iFilmGroup member Chassidy Fleming as the “Dramatic Girl”. The rest of the cast includes some more inner demons in Mackenzie Hyatt and Carly Schelken from a more acting dramatic perspective.

As for the plans of the film now that it has been released?  The film will be up online for a bit and then will be entered into film festivals for about a year. Following that the film’s director Corrinne Wood would like to give it to various community organizations for them to have and use in sharing the story of what it is like to struggle with depression and with inner demons.

PR-SW-RL-08-14-18

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extras give praise to crew

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The people have spoken. The response is very positive and has the iFilmGroup team very humbled. “The responses from extras that were part of the filming of "Blue Love" on Saturday, July 14th have been overwhelming”, says Community Engagement Manager and co-founder of iFilmGroup, Don Hickey.   “People had a great time and they have been sharing so with me” says Matthew Marshall who is the film director of "Blue Love" and the other co-founder of iFilmGroup.

The large extra list for the scene had a number of iFilmGroup members, but it also had an even larger number of people who had never been a part of a film or filming with the iFilmGroup. Those were the people that most of the comments came from.  Marshall and the team have received a large number of emails, messages and comments from people who attended the day of filming and found it “enjoyable”, “informative”, and “educational”.  A number commented on the professionalism of the set and how it was run.  Marshall’s response to all this praise?  “I’m honour and humble that they enjoyed the experience and have chosen to share their kind words with us. Thanks everyone for that. The positive feedback has been very nice”, says Marshall.

Marshall knows how a film sets works and how much goes into making a movie. Along with how many moving parts are involved in making it all happen, that people don’t always see. He also knows having that many people in a location and having to wait for lights, and camera set up and actors to finish makeup and hair can cause a lot of down time for those that are just there to be a small part.  “For anyone who has been on an "indie" film set you know if can be a bit of craziness for crew and a lot of prep for featured cast and a whole lot of waiting for extras.

So for people to have said the kind words they have is very nice to hear”, adds Marshall.  From Marshall perspective even though they had no lines and were just part of the “crowd” so to speak, the extras were very important. After all if no one attended the wedding what would that say about the people getting married. In the story line this scene is early on in the film and shows a happier time for the couple. Having lots of guest at the wedding shows that at one time they had a lot of people wanting them to be happy.  Neil Patrick Harris an American actor, writer, producer, comedian, magician, and singer known for his roles on “Doogie Howser MD” and “How I met Your Mother” has a quote that Marshall feels applies in this case.  “Sometimes you can have the smallest role in the smallest production and still have a big impact” Neil Patrick Harris.

Many of those that attended commented on how it was lots of fun or said thank you for the opportunity. All that responded with kind words said that they can’t wait to do it again. For many, it was their first time experience as an extra. They found it very enjoyable and got a lot out of the experience and thought it was an interesting, informative and educational look at how a film comes together. All of those that sent messages are excited for more opportunities in the future to be extras in a film.  Marshall and the iFilmGroup team now have a new list of extras that they will be calling on for the next time they need some for a scene.

PR-GP-BL-07-15-18

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exceeded movie director's expectations

The date was set, the casting call for extras were posted, and the numbers exceeded movie director's expectations for filming.

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iFilmGroup and m & s Marshall Productions hosted it’s very large filming date at St John’s Presbyterian Church on Saturday July 14th when it filmed the big wedding scene of Kaitlyn and Craig for the film “Blue Love”. Matthew Marshall the film’s director declared the event an overall success as it went off without a hitch. It ended up being a little smaller than originally planned but everyone in attendance enjoyed themselves and had a great time.  84 people had confirmed to be extra’s and wedding guest for the filming on the scene in Port Stanley but when the date came the final numbers of those in attendance were a little lower due to some illnesses going around.  73 people was the final total of those who attended the filming date and participated in the filming for Blue Love. 

The casting team for the film received a number of sick calls in the last few days before filming. “We had a few with strep throat that is going around and a number of people that were missing were just under the weather for various reasons. It may have been a little smaller number but it did not affect the overall end product. Just tighten the shot up a little”, says Matthew Marshall.  Along with being the film’s director Marshall is also the films co-producer, as well as he is the co- owner of m & s Marshall Productions and the co-founder of iFilmGroup. Both companies are working together on the film with Marshall Productions taking the lead.  IFilmGroup’s other co-founder Don Hickey was in attendance for filming.  Both were very pleased with the outcome. Marshall is especially pleased with the footage they got from the wedding scene as well as some other scenes that were filmed on the same day. “The day is very much declared a success” says Marshall.

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The Wedding Scene is a flash back in the film to the marriage of the lead character Kaitlyn Butler to her love of her life Craig. The scene featured iFilmGroup acting coach, Helena Rose, as the bride Kaitlyn. As well as lead, Rose is also the co-producer and co-writer of the film. It has been an opportunity for Helena to learn more about the production aspect of film. Marshall says, “It has exposed her to how a full production comes together from a technical perspective.” The groom, Craig is played by Ryan Mason.  St John’s Presbyterian Church in Port Stanley even got into the spirit of the filming changing their sign to read “Congratulations Kaitlyn and Craig”.  St John’s member and elder as well co-owner of m & s Marshall Productions Sharon Marshall had this to say, “The sign was a great way to create curiosity in the community and also was way to tell extra’s that was the location”.

Marshall has, had a casting call out for extra’s for over a month looking for extra’s for the film and got a very large response from the call. “This would have to be my biggest response I have ever got for a call for extras” says Marshall. He had 174 people that showed original interest in being an extra. That was more than double what would have fit in the church. But through time and the process the number slowly got smaller. 60 people who applied but did not message or respond back to messages that were sent to them. Another 30 were very interested and responded but were unable to come on the date due to conflicts or prior commitments.  Thus bringing the number down to the 84 which in the end due to illness became the 73 that attended. “It was a great day and everyone had a good time” says Marshall.

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Along with the wedding scene Marshall and his team also shot a few other scenes that will be part of the movie at the location. The film will continue to film through the rest of July through until fall.  The next filming date coming up is Tuesday July 17th in Chatham where an iFilmGroup member will be featured in special effects makeup.

With the completion of the scenes in Port Stanley it brings to a close the opportunities for extras in Blue Love. However, Marshall and Hickey have plans in the works that will offer more opportunities for new and current iFilmGroup members. Preparation has started for casting and filming the short film, “Not Ready”, written by Hickey. Workshops and events are being planned for the fall as well.

PR-BL-PS-07-16-18

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Extra call exceeds expectations

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iFilmGroup and m & s Marshall Productions have completed their goal of finding extras for the wedding scene of the movie, Blue Love. “We have had an overwhelming response,” says Blue Love director and iFilmGroup co-founder, Matthew Marshall. 174 people showed a desire to be an extra in the production. 84 extras had confirmed their attendance for July 14th, which meets the maximum number of people the production team could have for the capacity of the location. “We were blown away by the numbers of people that wanted to be part of the filming we’re doing. I am speechless,” says Don Hickey, also a co-founder, and Community Engagement Manager of iFilmGroup. Another 30 people were interested but unable to attend on the date set for the shoot.  While others the casting team had to turn away once they reached their max number.  The casting call had been out for several months to fill various extra roles within the film. The film’s wedding scene is the biggest to date for extras for the team. The production team is very excited to know they had a full location for this scene. “It will looked very impressive with all the seats filled,” says Marshall.

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Of the eighty-plus people who are extras, over twenty are already iFilmGroup members.  “It’s so great that so many of the iFilmGroup members are getting opportunities to grow in film through projects that are being filmed right within the area”’ says Hickey.  Hickey goes on to say “having our members be part of this filming is making the mission of iFilmGroup fulfilled in a very real way”. Marshall is enjoying creating opportunities for the actors of iFilmGroup. “Thirty of our members have been a part of the film in various ways as cast, extras and crew,” says Marshall.

“As part of iFilmGroup we enjoy opening doors and giving opportunities like this to people interested in film”, says Marshall.  People have the opportunity of growing through projects that are filmed right in the area. This is highly-beneficial for those who can’t travel to distances like Toronto. Hickey feels that this is at the heart of iFilmGroup. Giving talent, both young and old an opportunity to learn and grow through mentoring is really what iFilmGroup is all about. One of those opportunities has been for iFilmGroup acting coach Helena Rose. She will be playing the bride for the scene, Kaitlyn Butler which is the lead character in the film.  Rose is also the co-producer and co-writer of the film. “It’s been an opportunity to allow Helena to grow in her production experience beyond acting. It has exposed her to how a full production comes together from a technical perspective”’ says Marshall.

Hickey feels that giving opportunities and mentoring is at the heart of iFilmGroup. “Giving talent, both young and old an opportunity to expand their knowledge and give them opportunities to grow as an artist through mentoring from others who are in the industry is really what iFilmGroup is all about”, says Hickey.

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Filming for the wedding scene will happen on Saturday July 14th in Port Stanley. This is one of several scenes the production team is preparing for July 14th. These particular scenes will bring the opportunities for extras in the film to a close. However, Marshall and Hickey have plans in the works that will open up more opportunities for new and current iFilmGroup members. Preparation has started for casting and filming the short film, Not Ready, written by Hickey. Workshops and events are being planned as well.

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Al Sayyid in "Accredited Mentoring Program"

According to an article in Variety in April 2017 it mentioned that a recent study commissioned by the Doha Film Institute showed that Arabic independent films are twice as likely to be directed by a woman. In fact, 26% of independent film directors in the region are female, “much more than directors of studio films in the West,” it noted. Only 4% of filmmakers are female in Hollywood, according to research by the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

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That would have not been the story one would have assumed was to be written for Yasmine Al Sayyid. A young Muslim woman who has been travelling between Canada and the Middle East learning the craft of film making, specifically directing.  “Growing up in the Middle East I would have never imagined the opportunities that I am embarking on now. To be on the verge of directing a film, let alone a film about my culture and background. It is unbelievable,” says Al Sayyid.

Yasmine looks up to woman who have forge the path before her like Saudi Arabian film director Haifaa al-Mansour who is one of the country's best-known and most controversial directors, and the first female Saudi filmmaker. American-Egyptian Jehane Noujaim’s film "The Square", earning her an Oscar nomination.  Film Making is a growing industry for women from the Middle East.  “The Arab world need to see their own stories on screen” she says “to be able to see a film about your own life, and the kind of people you know and hear your own accent, it’s equally important. It tells you your life is worthy too, your small stories count, your life counts.

Cinema is not something for people in other places, “ Al Sayyid goes on to say.  She draws inspiration from the things she has seen in her home country as well as things she has seen in seeing world events.  All of this she has gather together and has been working on her film making skills through school and mentoring with Award winning director Matthew Marshall and the iFilmGroup. “I am so very thankful to Mr. Matthew Marshall, Mr. Don Hickey and the iFilmGroup for the wonderful opportunity to work with them and to be mentored in their Accredited Mentoring Program” says Al Sayyid about her opportunity to be mentored through the iFilmGroup "Accredited Mentoring Program".

Marshall is impressed with her drive and determination and is sure that she will be making films in the very near future about topics and issues that are dear to her heart.  “This is the kind of thing that we want to do with iFilmGroup” says Marshall. He feels it’s important to pass along knowledge and experience so that the next generation can carry on the craft of film making. Al Sayyid is not going to waste the knowledge she has gained. “ I intend to take all that I have learned and continue to advance my craft or film making and learn about all aspects of film making and perfect my skills as a filmmaker”, Al Sayyid says.  For Marshall and Hickey they continue to look forward to the new people on the horizon that will be part of their mentoring programs with iFilmGroup.
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Yasmine Al Sayyid- Film Director's Testimony with iFilmGroup

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Accredited Mentoring Student

Meet one student that has gone through iFilmGroup’s Accredited Mentoring Program

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Student and actress Anna Victoria performed her hours for “mentor week” with iFilmGroup under the supervision of award winning director and iFilmGroup co-founder Matthew Marshall.  The mentoring week program is run through Anna Victoria’s High School Ecole Georges-P.- Vanier in Hamilton.

Students find an area of interest within the community that they would like to learn more about.  Marshall originally took Anna Victoria under the umbrella of his company m & s Marshall Productions for the mentor program. But it made more sense that it was a better fit for the iFilmGroup program.  So Marshall continued as supervisor with m & s Marshall Productions and iFilmGroup working in partnership for the standard mentor position.

“The idea of an accredited mentorship is something that iFilmGroup has been developing for some time” says Marshall. The entire iFilmGroup program is all about mentoring and passing along knowledge and information dealing with film making.

iFilmGroup is a inter-generational film program with Youth and Seniors making award winning films. The group was created by Don Hickey and Matthew Marshall with a vision to network the different generations of skills and talents in making films as youth & seniors transition through their journey of life. This multi-generational film making group focuses on relationship building and mentoring. Striving to develop life skills in each participant that enriches everyone involved regardless of age. iFilmGroup’s mission is to have fun while learning and teaching… sharing values between the age generations. Victoria is an example of the mission being lived out. “Being a part of iFilmGroup's community has changed my life. I have forged great friendships, made wonderful memories, progressed immensely in my career and gained valuable insight into the film industry”, says Victoria of her time with the group.

A lot of the evaluation that Marshall had to grade Anna Victoria on dealt with that same core values that iFilmGroup is looking to instill in those who are part of their film program. Marshall had to grade her on areas of communication, problem solving, working in a safe environment, taking responsibility for our actions, positive attitude and behaviour. How she treats and interacts with others.  All of this happened within a working environment of working on independent film sets, making films and filming projects. Anna participated in being a part of several films as well as the iFilmGroup promotional video.  “I never thought I’d be able to do an accredited mentorship in the filming industry, but I did”, says Victoria.

Anna scored in the 90% for her evaluation. “She is a very talented actress and uses her training and experience she has learned to bring together a better acting performance. Anna brought her pleasant smile, positive attitude and friendly nature each and every day of the mentorship to the set”, says Marshall of his student.  Marshall went on to say “Anna is a pleasure to have working with me on my set. She is a talented actress with an outstanding grasp of performing and character. She also has a vast understanding of film and the film business.

Anna Victoria brought her experience of working on various size sets in the film industry.  She has been a background 'student' on the TV show “The Good Witch" starring Catherine Bell. Victoria also play the role of a Turkish protester on an episode of “Designated Survivor” starring award winning Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland [Disney-ABC Domestic Television].   On the smaller screen Anna has also played the lead, Teresa, in “Lost and Found” a short film about a young nun who is put in a tough a predicament of choosing between the convent and her dreams. Anna feels that her start with iFilmGroup has helped prepare her for bigger sets. “Working on the iFilmGroup sets has taught me “set etiquette” which has helped me feel comfortable on other sets like the ones of “Designated Survivor” and “The Good Witch”.

Anna has worked with Marshall for the last few years and has been part of a couple of his films including “Malicious Attack” and most recently “Blue Love”.  She has also been a big part of a few projects with iFilmGroup.

“Because of the opportunities given to me to work on a variety of projects, I had the chance to observe numerous aspects of filming, from working the boom mic, to watching the team  set up before takes, to acting on screen. Matthew, Don and the whole team at iFilmGroup were extremely welcoming and helpful, and have inspired me to begin writing and filming my own projects”, says Victoria.

The iFilmGroup looks forward to working with Anna Victoria more in the future, but as she moves on to university and transitions in her life, those opportunities may be harder to get. ‘She is a pleasure to work with and I would have her on my set any time” says Marshall who is optimistic that there will be more chances for the team to have Anna Victoria on an iFilmGroup or m & s Marshall Productions set.

– – – – – – – – – –

  • All participating Accredited Mentoring Program participants must arrange with iFilmGroup and their school before they are accepted into the accredited program with iFilmGroup.

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Movie Set of "Blue Love"

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A number of members of iFilmGroup were part of filming for m & s Marshall Production's newest production "Blue Love" at the Elgin General Hospital in St. Thomas on Saturday May 12th. What was extra fitting about filming on this date was that the week on May 6th to 12th was National Nurses Week. This week is set aside to celebrate nurses and raise awareness of the important role nurses play in society.

Saturday May 12th is the end of the week and this day is declared National Nurses' Day.  May 12th  and is also Florence Nightingale’s Birthday. Florence Nightingale was a trailblazing figure in nursing who greatly affected 19th- and 20th-century policies around proper care.  Her writings sparked worldwide health care reform, and in 1860 she established St. Thomas' Hospital and the Nightingale Training School for Nurses.

The connection of Nightingale’s birthday and the end of Nurses week and the fact that she established the St. Thomas Hospital in England. All played into the perfect setting for the m & s Marshall crew to be in the Elgin General Hospital in St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada to film for "Blue Love" scenes that took place in a hospital and involved nurses on the day set aside for them.

It was even special that the cast had nurses, PSW's, nurse students and other related fields being part of the people playing the roles of nurses in the film. “It was an amazing day with some amazingly talented people who helped create some truly awesome shots that will look "out of this world" when they are edited.” says Blue Love director and iFilmGroup co-founder Matthew Marshall.

Marshall is also the co-owner of m & s Marshall Productions and he really loved that they got to do those scenes on the day that is set aside for recognizing nurses. “Those kind of things are special to me. I have a lot of respect for the jobs nurses do. I know a lot of family and friends who are either retired nurses or currently nurses.  They are a special and important part of society”, Marshall goes on to say. Marshall and Don Hickey (who is the other co-founder of iFilmGroup) can relate to how special nurses are as they both can speak of personal experiences where nurses have taken care of them and or members of their families. “They do a special job and we at iFilmGroup are very grateful for the job they do”, says Hickey.  "Blue Love" centers on the main character of Kaitlyn Butler. The role is played by iFilmGroup acting coach and actress Helena Rose. Her character plays a nurse in the film.

The scenes also included a Medical Clinic scene with a number of extras that featured a number of iFilmGroup youth and young adults. As well as some iFilmGroup members who are seniors. The extras in the clinic scene helped bring the scene to life. Although they were extras, a number of them were playing double roles in different scenes as extras playing kids with injuries or who were sick or there for various reasons.  “It looked and felt like a real clinic with people waiting to see a doctor. All the extras were great”, says Marshall.

Over all he was very pleased with the day and the footage that was captured.  More scenes will be filmed in the coming weeks to months as production continues with filming happening in and around London / St Thomas area. Within those scene a number of the iFilmGroup members were involved in this filming day as well as others will be involved in future scenes. “That’s part of what iFilmGroup does, which is nurture talent and bring the actors along in the process of the art of filming and we help them to develop into better performers and crew to further themselves in their acting endeavors”, says Hickey.

 

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Adding More Scenes to "Struggles"

A special crew and actors got together late 2017 to film the last production scenes (not the ending scenes) of Corrinne Wood's short movie on depression- "Struggles Within".

Lesley Chapman from the Elgin Theatre Guild was there to support us. Also there from iFilm Group was Helena Rose [acting coach] and Matthew Marshall and Don Hickey.

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The filming took place on stage at the Princess Avenue Playhouse in St. Thomas with the support of the Elgin Theatre Guild.

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Maysee McLean Lands More Roles

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Strathroy native and actress Maysee McLean has left a big impression with the m & s Marshall Productions and iFilmGroup. To the point it has landed her three roles in three different productions. Miss McLean was part of the auditions held on Jan 27th in London Ontario.

She could have never anticipated what would come out of those auditions and the audition team was not fully prepared for what McLean would bring to the Audition. “When I saw her original audition video, I knew she had talent,” says Matthew Marshall the co-owner of m & s Marshall Productions and one of the founders of iFilmGroup.

But Marshall and the rest of the casting team were blown away by what Maysee brought to the audition in her talent. “I set up a number of elements to her auditions to feel out a gut feeling I had about her and she knocked each element out of the park and blew each member of the audition team away,” says Marshall about her auditions.

There was little doubt in discussions after the audition that McLean was really good and needed to be part of some of the upcoming productions. Her performance was so good it lead Marshall and his co-writer Helena Rose to change a character within the script of Blue Love into a bigger role for McLean to play. That role is the role of Piper Keys. A character that we originally see with several characters who are part of a group of prostitutes in which the husband of the main character has got involved with. Later we see Piper Keys connected with a group of street kids that the main character Kaitlyn runs into.

Marshall also has decided to cast Miss McLean in some more shots that are being done for the short film about depression "Struggles Within". Marshall along with the production team from the film did some shooting of some new dramatic footage to add to the original film to enhance and better explain the issue of depression told in the film. “Part of her audition really showed her strength in acting out a dramatic situation with no words about depression. I think her skills and talents will enhance the production by adding some shots with her in it.

The final role she has been cast in is the iFilmGroup promotional video in which the group is doing to explain what they are doing in making inter-generational films with youth/teens and seniors.

From McLean’s perspective she is very overjoyed for all the opportunities that she has been given. “I’m so excited to be a part of upcoming projects with m and s production as well as iFilmGroup. I look forward to working with the team. These three roles are such an amazing opportunity to learn and grow as an actress,” says Mclean.

In the last year or so McLean has been striving to broaden her experience. Which included attending the May 2017 CMTC (Canadian Modeling Talent Conference) in Toronto. CMTC was developed in 1991 to help create the right time and place for models/talent to be educated and showcased.

McLean is a talented singer who has sang in a number of recitals. She is also not new to acting as she has a fair bit of home town experience as well as some work In front of the camera. She has had a number of roles with the Youth Performing Arts in Strathroy. Including she has been an Oompa Loompa, in Willy Wonka. She was in all the scenes singing and dancing for "Gleek". She played the Big Bad Wolf in "Into the Woods", “Kaa” the snake in "Jungle Book" to name her highlight roles. She played Mama Ogre in "Shrek Jr", Doo Whop girl in "Little Shop of Horrors", Sandy in a Jr version of "Grease" and the female lead Molly in "Peter and the Starcatcher".

She has been part of three TV commercials; "Sharky's Cuts for Kids", "Progressive Countertops", and 2016- "Boys and Girls Club of London".

“I look forward to working with Maysee. I think she will be a huge asset to all the projects and her talent will most certainly shine through in the roles she plays” says Marshall.

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Maysee McLean cast as lead in "Peter and the Starcatcher"

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Maysee McLean from Strathroy, who is a new face of iFilmGroup and m & s Marshall Productions has been cast as the lead female role of Molly in Strathroy District High School Production of the Tonywinning “Peter and the Starcatcher “.

The play upends the century-old story of how a miserable orphan comes to be The Boy Who Would Not Grow Up (a.k.a. Peter Pan).

The play is based on the 2004 children’s novel “Peter and the Starcatcher” by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson and freely adapted for the stage by Rick Elice. It is billed as prequel to Peter Pan and provides a backstory for the characters of Peter Pan, Mrs Darling, Tinker Bell and Hook, and serves as a prequel to J.M. Barrie’s Peter and Wendy.

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The play was conceived for the stage by directors, Roger Rees and Alex Timbers, and written by Rick Elice, with music by Wayne Barker. From marauding pirates and jungle tyrants to unwilling comrades and unlikely heroes, “Peter and the Starcatcher” playfully explores the depths of greed and despair... and the bonds of friendship, duty and love. The play is seen as a coming-of-age adventure story about how a nameless orphan -- inspired by a remarkable and ambitious girl -- became the strange and celebrated hero that is the "Boy Who Would Not Grow Up".

The production is billed as “a wickedly imaginative play”, in which we meet a poor orphaned child on the high seas simply called “Boy” because, in the absence of a mother and a father, he was never given a name. His sad and lonely world is turned upside down when he meets Molly. The daughter of famous Starcatcher Lord Astor, our heroine is on a mission to save the world and protect a treasure trunk filled with magical star stuff from getting into the hands of evil and greedy pirate Black Stache. As they travel aboard the Neverland ship headed for a faraway land, Molly and Boy learn about love, friendship and forge an unbreakable bond.

The role of Molly in the production allows Miss Maysee McLean to do two things she loves to do. Sing and act. “I’m super excited to have been cast as Molly” says McLean about being cast in the lead female role and being a part of the production. “Molly the Starcatcher is a very confident, strong willed and intelligent girl who will risk everything for the sake of doing right”, McLean goes on to add.

Maysee McLean stepped into the spot light of iFilmGroup and m & s Marshall Productions when she attended an open casting audition call in January. She impressed the Audition panel and came out of those auditions in the weeks that followed cast in three roles. She has been cast as Piper Keys a troubled street teen in Matthew Marshall m & s Marshall productions drama Blue Love. McLean has also been cast as part of the iFilmGroup’s promotional video that currently is in production to be a tool to help show people what iFilmGroup is doing. She has also been cast as part of a number of people doing some dramatic shots for additional footage for the short film Struggles Within. She had a very successful iFilmGroup Production day in early March before she has now turned her focus towards getting ready for the play.

She can be seen at this Strathroy District Collegiate Institute’s version of Peter and the Starcatcher being shown Thursday May 3rd, and Friday May 4th @7:30pm.

Congrats Maysee,

iFilmGroup Production Team

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Kyle White with global tv career

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St. Thomas native Kyle White continues to make great strides in his film and TV career. Recently he became part of  Global’s reality TV series “Big Brother Canada Season 6: Heaven verse Hell” production crew team. He will be a production assistant on this seasons show.

Kyle got his start as part of the camera team on three projects “Tuned In”, “Struggles Within” and “Malicious Attack with the Production team.

He has since branched out and been soaring in his production career with credits in live sporting broadcast  in Toronto as well as working on set of several TV shows filmed in Toronto including; “12 Monkeys” on Syfy Network, “The Detail” on Global Network, and “The Beaverton”. Recently Kyle has produced his own documentary that called “MACHINE MEN”, exploring the effects automation had on the manufacturing industry in an attempt to make assumptions about the advancement of automation into the service industry. The documentary is based around Canada's steel city, Hamilton, Ontario because of its unique and massive manufacturing history. Hamilton serves as a lens to view the future; automation already happened here, so it should be used it to take a glimpse into the future. Kyle also runs his own photography company called of “Whiteflash Photography”.

Congratulations Kyle on your newest opportunity with Global’s Big Brother Canada.  We are so very proud of you and your success.

The iFilmGroup Production Team

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ABC, ROGERS, YTV GET OUR YOUTH

Anna Victoria Faklan

ABC Domestic Television had Anna Victoria play the role of a Turkish protester during an episode of “Designated Survivor” starring award winning Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland.

Congratulations Anna on getting this role. We are so happy when one from our group succeeds to further themselves with the choices one makes. This affirms to us your drive and vision.

We love it! The Production Team

Anna Victoria's Testimony

 
 Max Steinberg- actor

Max had the pleasure of interviewing Matthew Marshall about film making on his talk show "Max TV" airing on London Rogers Television. Max's role as host of the show received a nomination for "Best Young Host" from the Joey Awards.

On Max TV, Matthew discussed with the host (Max), the contribution independent films plays in getting the word out about important topics, that otherwise might not get the attention they deserve. One example is bulling, which happens to be the subject of Matthew’s latest short "Malicious Attack". It explores how prevalent bullying is, and the effect it is having on people Max's age, not only in schools, and communities, but on-line as well.

Max you are an aspiring young actor and host. The Production Team

Max Steinberg's Testimony

 
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Hayley moved on from our productions to leading roles in a number of theatre productions in London and area as well as St. Catharines. She was also in a couple TV/film productions including YTV’s “If Only these Walls Could Talk: and an extra in Walt Disney’s production “Mr. Headmistress” filmed partiality in St Thomas.

She also had the opportunity to work with several television shows such as “Now You Know” and “Odd Squad” produced by Sinking Ship Productions and YTV's “The Zone” as well as at different on site locations.

We are thrilled that we were a part of your life's journey and your success in the film industry.
The Production Team
Hayley's Testimony

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Ian James Smith in Black Donnellys & more

 Ian James Smith
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Ian James Smith's work with iFilmGroup has led to many opportunities including work in "background" [BG] on the film “Every Day” and the TV series “Fear thy Neighbour”.

Ian also had the opportunity to play John Kennedy Jr. in "Black Donnellys". 

He has been cast in "1000: The Sword in the Stone", to play Jack Siena which is a principle role. The film is a 20 million euro production. He has also had an opportunity to audition for lead in a TVO series.

Congrats Ian, iFilmGroup Production Team

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Marley Cabral ACCEPTS OFFER

London, Ontario native and award winning actress Marley Cabral announced via social media that she accepted the offer to attend Fanshawe College’s Theatre Arts-Performance Program at downtown campus in September 2018.

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This is yet another step for Cabral in pursuing her love and passion of acting. A path that was inspired by the process of working with award winning director Matthew Marshall when Cabral got the opportunity to play the lead role of “Emma” in Marshall’s short film “Tuned In”.  A role that she had to admit “I related to on a number of levels”, says Cabral. The role of Emma brought some challenges to Cabral in pushing through the process of making the film. Especially since the role of Emma was the lead character and was in just about every scene. "Tuned In’s" director Matthew Marshall fully understands how tough making a film is.

“Making a film or being part of a theatre show is not for the weak at heart. Regardless if you’re acting or behind the scenes“, says Marshall. But the reward on the other side for Cabral, lead to her capturing five “Best Actress” awards as well as several nominations for her performance. Including prestigious nominations in two big festivals. One being a nomination at the MIC International Awards Gala for Youth for Best Actress in a short film (Age 16 Category) for her portrayal of Emma.

Although she did not win, being nominated was a huge honour and tribute to her performance. The second big nomination for the role of Emma was at the International Christian Film Festival where she went up against the best in the world for “Best Lead Actress”. Again she did not win, but the nomination against the best in the world was a big honour. She followed up her role of Emma with a second production with Marshall where she played the role of “Brittany” in his short film, “Malicious Attack” dealing with Bullying. It was another role that she related to and was able to expand her expression of herself through the role. The film is to be released later in 2018.

Cabral feels these two films were a great experience for her and allowed her to develop her skills as an actor and be mentored by some amazing fellow cast members. “How do you put into words about a process that changes your life and helps to define what you want to do in the future? These two films changed my life in so many ways through the life lessons I learned and skills of acting and film production that I gain through them” says Cabral. “They set me on my way of knowing what I wanted to do”, adds Cabral.

What she wants to do is act and getting into the Fanshawe Theatre Arts – Performance program is that next step for her to learn how to take her acting to the next level. “I am so proud of Marley and her taking this next step in her acting career”, says Marshall. “This will do nothing but enhance her immense acting talent she already has. The Fanshawe Theatre Arts-performance program is amazing. I have worked with a number of people that have come out of that program”, adds Marshall.

Cabral feels a number of things that she took away from the process of the two films will help her with this newest adventure of post-secondary studies. But one thing stood out more than the rest that she really feels will help her. “From making the films, I took away from it all that no matter what when things get hard you have to push through them to get the amazing outcome of all the hard work you have put towards it”, says Cabral. That is something that Marshall feels will serve her well. Before she starts the program in September, Cabral will be a part of one more of Marshall’s productions as she will play the role of “Diamond” in the newest dramatic film by m & s Marshall Productions called “Blue Love”.

Marley is passionate about her craft of acting. She cut her teeth walking the boards of London Ontario’s very own Original Kids Theatre Productions. Over the past few years she been a part of a number of Original Kids Theatre Company Productions including “Chicago”, “Green Girl in "Shout", Billy in "Honk", Daughter in "Pirates of Penzance Jr", and Lulu in "The Best Haunted House Ever", Camilla in "Starmites" and Women #1 in "Trojan Women". She has also been a part of a TV series and other films outside of the ones done with Marshall. She has played a student in the short film “Crucified” and also a student in the TV series “Kids Town”.

Cabral is entering into a well-respected acting program in the Fanshawe Theatre Arts-Performance. The program is well known for preparing those that graduate for a career in theatre, film and television. The program is also an excellent preparation for drama teachers and entrepreneurs. The two-year conservatory program will give those taking it a practical experience in acting for the stage, mask work, play analysis, improv, and acting for the camera. Those in the program also take other specialized master classes and will work with professional artists on a graduating project that will come together as a professional production.

Each student is guided through a process of discovering a method of acting that brings out their full potential and they emerge with a deep understanding of Shakespeare, theatre history, movement for actors, and the business of acting. Those that graduate emerge with a strong foundation for launching a professional career. Helena Rose an iFilmGroup acting coach and the actress playing the lead role of Kaitlyn in "Blue Love", as well as having been cast in a number of other productions with the key plays of the iFilmGroup is a graduate of the program. As is other "Blue Love" cast members "Alex Tremblay" and "Steven Treavor".

Now Cabral prepares for this next adventure in her acting journey with this two year program armed with all her past experience and prepared for the new challenges that she faces. Cabral is excited to see what this new chapter in her life brings and how it will allow her to grow and stretch as an actress. “I can’t wait to get into the program and learn how to take my acting to the next level. I’m so looking forward to it”, says Cabral.

As the lights dim, the curtain will rise and Cabral will prepare to centre stage, to breathe life into her dream. The lights will come up and she will begin her studies for a career on the stage or screen in the state of the art facilities in the vibrant downtown of London, Ontario.

Marley Cabral take your cue and allow your dream to soar. iFilmGroup and m & s Marshall Productions congratulates you on taking this next step and wishes you all the best. “Break a Leg”!

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Steinberg Cast in  "Sword in the Stone"

 Max Steinberg

Max Steinberg who has been a part of several films associated with iFilmGroup and m & s Marshall Productions is setting out on his biggest acting quest yet. He is honoured to be part of the multi award winning screenplay, "1000 - Sword in the Stone" filming during the Summer of 2018.

The story of the genuine sword in the stone, set in Italy between the year 1000 and the year 1180. An adventurous and exciting journey through medieval Italy.

Max’s previous roles included Young Ryder in "Black Donnelly’s", Newsboy in "Red Ryder", Liam in "Malicious Attack", Chris in "Summer of Discovery".

Max has a busy 2018 schedule. As he will be part of iFilmGroup’s promo video and is also scheduled to be one of the Basketball teens in Matthew Marshall’s newest film "Blue Love". Later in 2018 he will be part of the cast IN the short film "Not Ready".

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ZACH WILSON SHOWCASE "PLAY"

 Zach with Matthew Marshall

An amazingly talented group of grade four to eight’s from LCA (London Christian Academy) presented "Fiddler on the Roof Jr." during late April. From the opening lighting dim, the young stars of the show began to shine.  The vision of the show started two years ago, as the creative minds on staff at the school started to day dream what "Fiddler on the Roof Jr." might look like when presented at LCA.

That vision did not disappoint. From the opening fiddle playing the “Fiddler on the Roof” Lana Luka to the opening number of “Tradition”. The cast, and the production lived up to the long history of the outstanding play. This very talented cast lead by a familiar face to m & s Marshall Production and iFilmGroup.org was Zachary Wilson who played the role of Tevye.  Zachary has been a part of the films "Malicious Attack" as a student and "Summer of Discovery" as Rob. Wilson is also to be a part of the newest m & s Marshall Production "Blue Love".  Along with that project Wilson will be part of upcoming filming and workshops with the iFilmGroup.org which will be happening in late May.

The talent did not stop at Wilson. He was surrounded by a very talented cast and crew from the school including Joy Ruby (as Golde), Annalene Bird (as Tzeitel), Joel Friesen-Walder (as Motel), Karys Embree (as Hodel), Joel Reibling (as Perchilk), Laura Reynolds (as Chava) and so many more. The play visually involves all of the school’s students from grade 4 -8 plus behind the scenes are also scores of volunteers and many LCA staff. All with incredible passion, working hard with an unwavering commitment to excellence for the show.

logo of Fiddler on the Roof production

The telling of this classic story of Tevye, a poor dairyman and his five daughters in a little village of Anatevka Czarist Russia surrounded by the tight-knit Jewish Community blends the old and tradition with the changing of times in a changing world.  It is a story that never gets old and being told by a young talented group of students proves it’s lasting endurance through the generations. “it certainly was a talented group of cast and crew from LCA who brought this together and told the story on stage in a very riveting way” says iFilmGroup.org co-founder and m & s Marshall productions co-owner Matthew Marshall.  He goes on to say “I have worked on many films and theatre productions in my over twenty five year career, it is not lost on me the amount of time and dedication it takes to pull together a show of this size with a cast size as Fiddler is.  I am very much aware of the extreme amount of work and dedication that goes into rehearsals to the end performances. Especially a live show.

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This group of students, teachers and parents did an amazing job” says Marshall.  He speaks from his over 25 years of making films with over 300 youth teens and being an award winning film director at festivals around the world. “I think the kid’s teachers and parents deserve a lot of praise and thanks for all that they have given to make a project like this come to a successful show point.  Marshall as well as the entire m & s Marshall Production and iFilmGroup.org teams wish to congratulate LCA on the wonderful and successful presentation of the classic story of "Fiddler on the Roof".

Great job Zachary and LCA

from the iFilmGroup Production Team

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Zach Wilson GETS lead role

Zachary Wilson
Zachary Wilson

Zach Wilson from London Ontario, who has been a part of film projects with iFilmGroup and m & s Marshall Productions, has been cast in the leading role of Tevye in the London Christian Academy’s musical production of "Fiddler on the Roof".

Zach production experience includes being young James Donnelly in the "Black Donnelly’s", Rob in the feature film "Summer of Discovery" and a student in the 30 minute short film "Malicious Attack" about bullying with m & s Marshall Productions. Zach is also scheduled to be a part of an upcoming iFilmGroup promo video and will appear as one a group of basketball teens in Marshal’s newest film "Blue Love".

Before these newest ventures, Zach is working on walking the boards of his lead role of Tevye in the classic Fiddler on the Roof. The play is a musical with music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick and book by Joseph Stein set in the Pale of Settlement of Imperial Russia in 1905. The story centers on Tevye, the father of five daughters, and his attempts to maintain his Jewish religious and cultural traditions as outside influences encroach upon the family's lives. He must cope both with the strong willed actions of his three older daughters, who wish to marry for love – each one's choice of a husband moves further away from the customs of his faith – and with the edict of the Tsarthat evicts the Jews from their village.

The original Broadway production of the show, which opened in 1964, had the first musical theatre run in history to surpass 3,000 performances. Fiddler held the record for the longest-running Broadway musical for almost 10 years until Grease surpassed its run. It remains the sixteenth longest-running show in Broadway history. The production was extraordinarily profitable and highly acclaimed. It won nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical, score, book, direction and choreography. It spawned five Broadway revivals and a highly successful 1971 film adaptation that was directed and produced by Norman Jewison. The film received eight Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director for Jewison, Best Actor in a Leading Role, and Best Actor in a Supporting Role.

The show has enjoyed enduring international popularity. It is also a very popular choice for school and community productions. London Christian Academy felt the same as their students decided to embrace “tradition” with their production of Fiddler on the Roof JR., featuring over 100 Grade 4-8 students examining important issues such as tradition, tolerance and faith. The students are working hard and are so excited to see it start to come together.

The show can be see April 25th – 2 pm, April 26th – 7:30 pm, April 27th – 10:30 am Tickets are $5/adult, $2/child or senior, $10/family and can be purchased from the London Christian Academy.

Congratulations ZachiFilmGroup Co-founders

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Elina Lattanzio as stage Manager

 Elina Lattanzio with www.iFilmGroup.org

Elina Lattanzio who was the main bully Savannah in m & s Marshall productions short film Malicious Attack, is stepping out of the spot light and going behind the scenes to call the cues of her high school production as the Stage Manager. Elina is familiar of walking the boards and being on screen, but this is not the first time that she has gone behind the scenes and been a member of crew. She has worked as Assistant Stage Manager and Stage Manager on a number of productions at the Elgin Theatre Guild.

Elina is a dedicated actress, eager to learn and has great empathy with other actors… “A Director’s Dream” says Leslie Chapman who has been the director of several shows that Elina has worked on both as an actress and as stage crew. Lesley is also the Elgin Theatre Guild President.

For this upcoming production at her high school- Parkside Collegiate Institute, she will be calling the shots as the Stage Manager of “Rock of Ages: High School Edition”. “Rock of Ages” takes you back to the times of big bands with big egos playing big guitar solos and sporting even bigger hair! It is a rock/jukebox musical, built around classic rock songs from the 1980s, especially from the famous glam metal bands of that decade. This Tony Award -nominated Broadway musical features songs from Styx, Night Ranger, REO Speedwagon, Journey, Bon Jovi, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister, Steve Perry, Poison and Europe among other well-known rock bands.

During the performance, the performers frequently break the “fourth wall”, directly addressing the audience and seemingly forgetting (or perhaps reminding the audience) that they are actors in a musical. Despite the musical’s title, the Def Leppard song of the same name is not included in the musical.

 Rock of Ages poster

The original Broadway production ran for 2,328 performances, closing on January 18, 2015 as the 29th longest running show in Broadway history. Since debuting on the Great White Way in 2009, it has spawned replica productions worldwide in Japan, Australia and the United Kingdom among others, as well as several touring productions. “Rock of Ages: High School Edition” is edited to be appropriate for younger audiences. The production has been adapted by the author and iTheatrics to create a version ready for high schools. The unforgettable rock anthems have been adjusted for teen voices and some subject matter has been adjusted for appropriateness.

Parkside is one of the very first schools to have the rights to perform this show. With their amazing cast of 50 students, they intend to bring the 80s back to life with neon, hairspray and a ton of rock and roll! The cast features Haley Gordon as “Sherry” and Aaron Houghton as “Stacee Jaxx”.  Two iFilmGroup Alumni were part of the production as well.  Aaliyah Paul was part of cast and Morgan Flanagan was head of sound and choreographer for the dances.

Tickets are $12 and the show runs from February 28-March 3.

Night shows run at 7 pm, and there is a 1 pm matinée on Saturday March 3rd.

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Helena Rose JOINS iFilmGroup team

 Helena Rose

Actress Helena Rose has been added to the iFilmGroup team. She will perform the role of Acting Coach for the group for productions and acting workshops. She is very familiar with the team, through her acting in a number of productions that the team has made. Helena is a Canadian Actor and a graduate of the Theatre Arts Performance at Fanshawe College in London Ontario. The program offered her two years of in-depth training in the area of acting. She is using that training to coach other young actors who are up and coming.

Helena is a big part of the creative team of the 1 hr long dramatic film "Blue Love" by m & s Marshall Productions where she plays the lead role of Kaitlyn Butler as well as being the co-producer and co-writer of the film.

She was already been the dramatic acting coach on the short film "Struggles Within". She has been a part of a number of short films. Credits in those films include: Whitney in "In Limbo", Alicia Turner in "Malicious Attack", Candy in "Summer of Discover", Medical Attendant in "Ronny’s Bench", Karla in "Zenno", a Towns Women in "Black Donnellys", a student and radio Announcer #2; in "Tuned In". Stage roles included Been Wendla in "Spring Awakening", Titania in "A Midsummer Nights Dream" and Mother in "Byrthrite".

“I very much look forward to working with her both with iFilmGroup as well as with me on Blue Love” says Matthew Marshall a co-founder of iFilmGroup and the director, co-producer and co-writer of Blue Love. Marshall feels this is only the beginning of hearing about this fabulous actress.

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WSFF Picks Marshall

 Matthew Marshall of iFilmGroup.org

Matthew Marshall of iFilmGroup.org

Award winning director Matthew Marshall, who is the co-founder of iFilmGroup and co-owner of m & s Marshall Productions is one of the 2018 Western Smartphone Film Festival Judges. Marshall along with several other industry professionals from London Ontario will make up the panel that will judge the top ten films submitted to the festival which will be held on Saturday February 10th on the Western Campus.

The Western Smartphone Film Festival is a student-run organization at Western University and is focused on developing youth in the field of film and entertainment by means of an annual smartphone short film festival. With a focus on inclusivity and garnishing Canada's diverse and talented student population. The festival uses the smartphone as a platform to allow a broad range of students to explore their creativity and further fuel their passion for the arts.

Matthew Marshall has over twenty eight years of experience in the film industry. He has worked with a wide variety of professional people and held almost every position of a film crew. He specializes in directing and script writing but has his post graduate certificate in broadcast digital editing and applications. He has produced such award winning films as the feature length, Daughter of the King and the short film Tuned In. His films have captured 79 awards and have been officially selected in 38 other festivals around the world. Of the awards won, Matthew has won 11 awards for his direction of his films.

Matthew is also the co-founder of iFilmGroup, which is an inter-generational program with youth and seniors making films. The group builds multi-generational relationships and networks by mentoring those involved through the film making process, as the different generations transition the journey of life. Information about the iFilmGroup can be found at www.ifilmgroup.org

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The festival was held February 10, 2018. Five of the films were shown then a short intermission. After the intermission there was a film panel Q & A in which Matthew Marshall was part of the panel for a 30 minute discussion. Following the panel, the other five films of the top ten were shown. Then the Audience "choice" voted and giveaway announcements were announced. Followed by the top three films of the festival. The festivities wrapped up with a reception where the public was able to interact with the panel and the film makers. Information about the festival can be found at https://www.wsffcanada.com/

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Blue Love auditions

Director Matthew Marshall and co-writer/lead actor Helena Rose  held the first audition call for their screenplay "Blue Love".

 Casting Team of iFilmGroup.org

Tremendous talent walked on stage for these auditions. It was a good day in London, Ontario for both the production team of m & s Marshall Productions that's producing this movie and the actors that came and auditioned.

Don Hickey was pleased knowing that future productions through iFilmGroup will garnish the rich talents of the participants.

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