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 George Crosby is aN Original Kids Theatre Company Cast Member

iFilmGroup Actor George Crosby

iFilmGroup Actor George Crosby

iFilmGroup is proud to share the news that iFilmGroup member George Crosby is now an Original Kids Theatre Company main cast member. George worked very hard preparing for his Audition for OKTC. His mom says he couldn't have done it without the help of his vocal coach Paula Thomas, and most definitely without the support of his favourite acting coach Lesley Chapman from the Elgin Theatre Guild (ETG). The Crosby Family is all super excited to see where his journey takes him!

iFilmGroup is proud of George's accomplishment and is proud to work with him in the present as well as looking forward to working with him in the future as he continues his acting journey at all levels.

iFilmGroup is looking forward to the release of the movie “Not Ready” written by Donald Michael Hickey and directed by Matthew Marshall, where George plays a very important role.

#ETGkidfirst #newbeginnings #OKkid #ifilmgroup #actorslife #acting #notreadyfilm

iFilmGroup.org- Press Release - George Crosby - Original Kids Theatre Company main cast member - 08-21-19

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 iFilmGroup Meets Deadline

iFilmGroup’s Production Team on set of movie “Not Ready”

iFilmGroup’s Production Team on set of movie “Not Ready”

iFilmGroup
Completes Tight Summer Shooting Schedule

The tight summer schedule of shooting film for the movie “Not Ready” is finished, which was shot in London and St. Thomas, Ontario. The last day of the “summer schedule” was August, 17th. Director Matthew Marshall says, “There is only one more scene to shoot for this film, and it’s in the autumn, when the tree leaves change their colour. So 98% of the movie is shot.”

Over 130 actors along with crew members contributed to the successful shooting of over 65 scenes. Three commercial establishments and a private home was used, along with the campus of the University of Western Ontario. People in the film industry created a buzz in amazement about the tight schedule of this movie and the reason behind it. Marshall realized that the summer was the only window of opportunity for most of the actors and crew. Some of the youth actors are moving on to college or university and they had great desires to be in this movie. iFilmGroup actors and crew and their families banded together to make this movie happen. This movie was very important to them.

A local London magazine featured an article of the filming of the movie, “Not Ready” because of it’s connection with a north London neighborhood. This home in old north London was the “cardinal point” of all scenes of the movie.

Don Hickey, the Community Engagement Manager with iFilmGroup said, “That using a home in old north London established a “community value” that was required to authenticate to the audience the “real” feelings of a warm, safe neighborhood. The script also called for the home to be near the university and the college. Post production starts immediately and we are always looking to add to our roster of volunteers to help with marketing, fund raising and editing. What’s neat about our mandate with our organization, is that we are a mentoring organization and we don’t make profit…. we rely on donations, and we have teams of volunteers doing all departments. Many students and business people, along with retired folks contribute to our success. Right now, we need digital editors. Any skilled person working on camera or editing will get listed with IMDB through our iFilmGroup program”.

Photo by Louise McBride

iFilmGroup.org - Press Release - iFilmGroup Meets Deadline - 08-19-19

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 Day Six of Filming “Not Ready”

Elgin Theatre Guild, St. -Thomas, Ontario

Elgin Theatre Guild, St. -Thomas, Ontario

Many youngsters looked forward to this day of filming. Just after 8am in the morning parents dropped off their kids at 40 Princess Avenue in St. Thomas, Ontario at the Elgin Theatre Guild.

Today were three big scenes for a movie being shot during the summer of 2019. Co-Producers Matthew Marshall of m & s Marshall Productions and Don Hickey from iFilmGroup had already cast over 30 young actors for these three scenes. Most of the actors had connections with the Guild.

Some actors were brought in through iFilmGroup’s actors roster. Casting for the movie- “Not Ready” was done earlier in the year.

What’s special about one of the scenes is that in the movie a “real stage” is part of the props. Like in the 1954 famous movie “White Christmas”, starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and directed by Michael Curtiz. A successful song-and-dance team become romantically involved with a sister act and team up to save the failing Vermont inn of their former commanding general.

A rehearsal scene from movie “Not Ready” using a stage as a prop in a 2019 movie by iFilmGroup.org

A rehearsal scene from movie “Not Ready” using a stage as a prop in a 2019 movie by iFilmGroup.org

“Not Ready” like in “White Christmas” uses a stage with multiple actors and triple threat performers.

Large youth cast from a “special scene" in the movie “Not Ready”.

Large youth cast from a “special scene" in the movie “Not Ready”.

Lesley Chapman from the Guild said “ there were a lot of happy young actors this day and they had a blast! Thank you iFilmGroup”.

iFilmGroup.org - Press Release - Filming Day Six of movie “Not Ready”.

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Meeting Actor Mitchell Reaume

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Don Hickey, iFilmGroup’s Community Engagement Manager was invited to attend a luncheon in London early in 2019 for Chris Potter a TV star and director.

This was the day that Don Hickey met Mitchell Reaume. “I was really impressed with Mitchell’s manners and his excitement of meeting Chris Potter from the Canadian Heartland TV series. He could rhyme off past episodes, actors and names of all the horses”, said Hickey.

 
Mitchell Reaume

Mitchell Reaume

Hickey invited Mitchell to auditions for the movie “Not Ready” held in St. Thomas at the Elgin Theatre Guild (ETG). “Mitchell came to the auditions with a prepared monologue and blew us away”, said Matthew Marshall, director/producer at m & s Marshall Productions. This was Mitchell’s first movie audition and he was among many other individuals auditioning this day. iFilmGroup gives opportunities to individuals that would like to act, a chance to prove themselves. Acting coaches are available during the auditions and provide help for any individuals that might struggle with lines, timing or presentation. Mitchell was very excited about being on a real stage with lights and cameras. Mitchell said, “ This is what I always wanted to do, to be in a movie.”

 
Elgin Theatre Guild in St. Thomas, Ontario

Elgin Theatre Guild in St. Thomas, Ontario

Matthew Marshall, a co-founder of iFilmGroup says, “Elgin Theatre Guild has some great talent and iFilmGroup holds workshops for youth and adults at ETG. Over the years I’ve been watching the results of the work at ETG. It only seemed sensible to marry our two groups together for some film productions and auditions. On this day we held auditions at this location in St. Thomas. Don Hickey had told me about a young male wanting to be an actor and that this would be his first audition. This is the day I met Mitchell Reaume.”

 
Three actors awaiting their cue to audition for “Not Ready” the movie at Elgin Theatre Guild, St. Thomas.

Three actors awaiting their cue to audition for “Not Ready” the movie at Elgin Theatre Guild, St. Thomas.

Mitchell’s audition was fantastic. Hickey looked at Marshall and Marshall looked at Hickey. They both beamed huge smiles and realized that this just might be a “great star” in the making.

Everyone in attendance took to Mitchell right away. Many seasoned actors where stunned by Mitchell’s great performance. Mitchell was not with the Guild, but was invited right off the street, so to speak, by Don Hickey. Mitchell is a natural actor and Hickey saw that.

 

Can Mitchell Act Under Pressure ?

Day six was the biggest shoot to date of assembled actors and crew. The day of filming was at the Elgin Theatre Guild in St. Thomas, Ontario. Don Hickey of iFilmGroup estimated that there were over 50 people involved with the filming process. Lesley Chapman from the Guild happily watched as her group of “Theatre Kids” (over 25 young people) were “blocked” for filming for two very huge scenes.

The mandate behind iFilmGroup is “inter-generational”- young people with adults, mentoring each other. The opportunity came up when writing the script to cast many youth from the ETG. Donald Michael Hickey the writer of the script “Not Ready” and co-founder of iFilmGroup admits that the talent from these young actors is superb.

Matthew Marshall with actor Mitchell Reaume.

Matthew Marshall with actor Mitchell Reaume.

One young man, not yet affiliated with the ETG group of kids was here to act. Film director Matthew Marshall spoke to Mitchell during rehearsals prior to shooting scenes that Mitchell would be in.

Mitchell was sent downstairs to wardrobe, and then returned on stage in full costume for the film scene, the crew and other cast members were spellbound by his appearance. All eyes were glued on Mitchell. Mitchell played an important role during this scene. He was cast to open this scene as a “focal point” actor that would lead the other characters into the scene.

This was the largest cast of any scene to the movie thus far. The importance of this scene was explained to Mitchell and he showed confidence.

Hickey looked at Marshall, and Marshall looked at Hickey… no smiles now, they both held their breaths.

Blocked into position and Mitchell in costume, this opening scene resting on Mitchell’s shoulders… then Marshall called “ACTION”.

 
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Film director Matthew Marshall congratulates Mitchell Reaume on his “one take” perfect performance.

“Here’s an example of a young man with a dream, waiting and wanting to be a part of the film industry, but not knowing how to get his foot in the door without spending loads of cash and having to travel distances away from London. But, he took the initiative to appear at a luncheon in London where he met people in the film business. He arrived as a “fan”, but left with an offer to act in a movie. How neat is that?”, said Hickey.

Marshall said, “What a great rewarding experience for us at iFilmGroup and for Mitchell to have him as an “actor”, and the fact is, that life turned his dreams into reality and we’re happy the day we met- Mitchell Reaume, and now Mitchell has fans ! Awesome!”

Mitchell Reaume- actor, Ringmaster in movie “Not Ready”.

Mitchell Reaume- actor, Ringmaster in movie “Not Ready”.

The Rest of the Cast of the Huge Scene

The Huge Scene Shot on Stage at The Elgin Theatre Guild, St. Thomas, Ontario with iFilmGroup.org

The Huge Scene Shot on Stage at The Elgin Theatre Guild, St. Thomas, Ontario with iFilmGroup.org

iFilmGroup - Press Release - Meeting Mitchell Reaume - 08-08-19

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iFilmGroup Co-founder IS GUEST SPEAKER AT Scriptwriting Workshop for Teens
at Elgin Theatre Guild

Elgin Theatre Guild Scriptwriting Workshop 2019 Participants with iFilmGroup’s co-founder Matthew Marshall.

Elgin Theatre Guild Scriptwriting Workshop 2019 Participants with iFilmGroup’s co-founder Matthew Marshall.

 Award-winning film director and iFilmGroup co-founder Matthew Marshall took time out of his busy production schedule for the dramatic film “Not Ready” to visit the Elgin Theatre Guild and be a guest speaker on script writing for Lesley Chapman’ s workshop for the tweens and teens of the ETG.

Workshop participants in their groups collaborating on their scripts.

Workshop participants in their groups collaborating on their scripts.

Marshall and fellow iFilmGroup co-founder Don Hickey visited the ETG last summer and were guest speakers when Chapman ran a week-long workshop for 11 tweens dealing with the difference between film and theatre. 

This summer Chapman ran a week-long workshop for the ETG Youth in early July dealing with Scriptwriting. The group came up with a theme of "Then There was Silence" and each of the three groups ( "The Purple Aligators", "The Unknown", and "The Bactors") had to come up with a concept, write a script and then rehearse it and perform it at the end of the week. Many of the youth from last year were back for this year’s workshop. There were also a number of faces from the ETG Youth who are part of the cast of the film “Not Ready” as theatre kids in the Theatre Guild that is part of the film.

Benchwork for each group outlined on whiteboard.

Benchwork for each group outlined on whiteboard.

Marshall, who is a playwright and scriptwriter himself, felt very honoured to be asked to come to speak. “I have a connection with a large portion of this group, through seeing them on stage at the ETG and even having had a number of them being apart of past films as well as being cast in the most recent film "Not Ready”,  says Marshall. Some of Marshall’s numerous award-winning films include awards for his scriptwriting.

Marshall was blown away by the creativity of each group and what they came up with for scripts and some of the moving content and storylines they created. ‘They are a very talented bunch who think very deeply” adds Marshall. There was even talk at some point the ETG and the ETG Youth organizing a competition where the kids write short plays and they put them on for public view and have iFilmGroup be associated with the competition.

Marshall’s time with the ETG youth allowed mentoring by Marshall on scriptwriting and sharing his experience, but also gave him a chance to see the very talented work of up and coming local artist, many of whom are working with iFilmGroup already.

Future Stars in the making, at a Workshop on scriptwritng held in St. Thomas at the Elgin Theatre Guild mentored by Matthew Marshall - iFilmGroup

Future Stars in the making, at a Workshop on scriptwritng held in St. Thomas at the Elgin Theatre Guild mentored by Matthew Marshall - iFilmGroup

iFilmGroup - Press Release - Elgin Theatre Guild - Script Writing Workshop - 07-10-19

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Day Five of Shooting Movie “Not Ready”

On the set of “Not Ready” during Day 5 of the shoot, actor Helena Rose brought her talent and poise along with her wit and humor to the busy set. Director Matthew Marshall of m & s Marshall Productions enjoys her humor between takes. Young Bree Hamilton plays a PSW in this movie. Bree and Helena hit it off right away.

Charismatic actor Helen Rose (on left) with Bree Hamilton and director Matthew Marshall on set of  “Not Ready”.

Charismatic actor Helen Rose (on left) with Bree Hamilton and director Matthew Marshall on set of “Not Ready”.

It’s great to see two actors that connect so instantaneously and the chemistry is outstanding. The shooting schedule on Day 5 introduced Rose’s character to the other cast.

Two supporting male actors (Andre Dao and Castro) that acted with Helena Rose found her a delight to work with.

Don Hickey of iFilmGroup says, “You know when Helena Rose comes on set because the mood on the set changes to a very enriched “loving family and friendship camaraderie”.

Dianne Newling, a lead actor in this movie acted in many scenes with Helena Rose. Matthew Marshall says, “that both actors have great futures ahead of them in this industry after seeing them work on this movie”.

 

Amardeep Devgan a Punjabi music video sensation visits on set of “Not Ready” learning the skill set from iFilmGroup co-founders Matthew Marshall and Don Hickey.

Devgan an international star releases his music with a huge recording company in India called Jass Records. CBC Canada has featured Devgan and his work. His YouTube hits are over a million.

His latest music video called “International Student” became a huge hit. Devgan has chosen iFilmGroup to mentor him in english Canadian productions. Mentoring by iFilmGroup for international students and artists in Canada (Southwestern Ontaio) within the film and music industry fits right into iFilmGroup’s mandate. Don Hickey of iFilmGroup is looking forward to working with Devgan.

 
Amardeep Devgan with Don Hickey of iFilmGroup on set of “Not Ready”.

Amardeep Devgan with Don Hickey of iFilmGroup on set of “Not Ready”.

Day Five CAST WITH SOME CREW

Day Five Cast and Crew of Movie “Not Ready”. in association with iFilmGroup

Day Five Cast and Crew of Movie “Not Ready”. in association with iFilmGroup

iFilmGroup.org - Press Release - Day Five of Shooting - Movie “Not Ready” - 07-19-19

ALL PHOTOS BY STEVE STRUTHERS

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 DAY THREE OF FILMING “NOT READY” - MEDICAL STAFF STANDING BY TO ASSIST

Medical personnel on set of movie “Not Ready”.

Medical personnel on set of movie “Not Ready”.

Actors were cast as PSW (Personal Support Workers) in this Ontario, Canada film called “Not Ready”.

Below are stills taken from behind the scenes. Youth actors and crew and some seniors are used in this production produced by iFilmGroup (in association with) m & s Marshall Productions.

 
Kevin Francis from India on set of “Not Ready”.

Kevin Francis from India on set of “Not Ready”.

Director Matthew Marshall of m & s Marshall Productions and co-founder of iFilmGroup enjoys it when a young actor or crew member is able to multi-task on set. Marshall said, “We have some youth that are interested in almost every aspect of film production. We put youth on sound and have them help with lighting. (It’s common for visitors to our sets to exclaim in amazement , “Those young actors just finished their lines, and then walked over to a camera or clipboard to help assist the director to shoot the next scene for other actors.”). ”

Kevin Francis an electrical student at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario was on set of iFilmGroup’s movie- “Not Ready”.

Don Hickey, iFilmGoup’s Community Engagement Manager met Francis whose from India and offered him a day on set. Francis stayed more than one day. He was offered an acting role as an extra. Francis, smiled and said, “Looks like I was at the right place at the right time to get the acting job!'"

 
iFilmGroup actors and crew with director Matthew Marshall

iFilmGroup actors and crew with director Matthew Marshall

iFilmGroup actors and crew with director Matthew Marshall at camera

iFilmGroup actors and crew with director Matthew Marshall at camera

iFilmGroup.org - Press Release - Day Three Filming - “Not Ready” - 06-30-2019

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 City of London Ontario SHOP KEEPER ALLOWS a Perfect Backdrop For Shooting A Movie SCENE

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iFilmGroup actors enjoying a break on set.

iFilmGroup actors enjoying a break on set.

iFilmGroup Media Team visited the cast & crew on set of Day Two of filming the dramatic film “Not Ready” being shot in London. Day 2 shooting took place on Dundas Street at the Cardboard Cafe and at Western University (UWO).

“Not Ready” has over 35 youth actors in the movie, which lines up with the mandate of mentoring youth in film through the iFilmGroup programs.

Some of the actors on set of “Not Ready” Day Two.

Some of the actors on set of “Not Ready” Day Two.

Josh Rivers, owner of The Cardboard Cafe was very generous with his support once he learned of the successes of iFilmGroup’s history of film awards. Director Matthew Marshall of m & s Marshall Productions and co-founder of iFilmGroup said, “ The Cardboard Cafe” was the prefect setting for the scenes where youth are gathered in the community engaged in social interactions in a safe environment.

Film Director (c) instructs two youth actors/crew members at UWO location.

Film Director (c) instructs two youth actors/crew members at UWO location.

Director Matthew Marshall trains on a “live set” with sound equipment. Max Steinberg on “boom” and Andre Dao on “digital recorder”.

Both Steinberg and Dao are youth actors in the movie. Dao was discovered on UWO campus in 2018. Dao came to auditions in May 2019 and was cast in “Not Ready”. Steinberg has been in many film productions through m & s Marshall Productions.

 

Filming will continue in London and St. Thomas until September at private secured locations. Don Hickey co-founder and Community Engagement Manager of iFilmGroup said, “We have a great Production Team of volunteers who love the task of sharing with seniors and youth who want to be a part of film. We are wholly supported by contributors of cash donations and free location access.”

iFilmGroup Production Team said, “Mighty shout of thanks to “UWO” and “The Cardboard Cafe” from the huge cast and crew (over 50) of youth and seniors that are in the film of over 60 scenes.

Leanne Mayer and David Parisian on set of “Not Ready” - at the Cardboard Cafe.

Leanne Mayer and David Parisian on set of “Not Ready” - at the Cardboard Cafe.

iFilmGroup.org - Press Release - Day 2 Filming - “Not Ready” - 06-29-19

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 DAY ONE OF FILMING “NOT READY” IN SOUTHWESTERN ONTARIO

The city of London is used as one of the many locations in Ontario for filming a feature film involving many local talent.

Crew of “Not Ready” on Day One - London, Ontario

Crew of “Not Ready” on Day One - London, Ontario

Filming of the dramatic film written by Donald Michael Hickey and produced by iFilmGroup in association with m & s Marshall Productions began in London, Ontario late June 2019. iFilmGroup held auditions in May 2019 in St. Thomas at the Elgin Theatre Guild.

 
iFilmGroup actor Lee Highgate resting before his scene.

iFilmGroup actor Lee Highgate resting before his scene.

Director Matthew Marshall of m & s Marshall Productions will keep a tight schedule each day of shooting. Filming is scheduled to be completed in September 2019.

Over 60 actors and crew are involved with this production.

Day One Cast & Crew of Movie “Not Ready” shot in Southwestern, Ontario.

Day One Cast & Crew of Movie “Not Ready” shot in Southwestern, Ontario.

There are many youth acting and are part of crew in this production. Many family members arrive on set to watch their children in the production. Youth actors from Sarnia, St. Thomas and other surrounding areas in southwestern Ontario are cast in this movie. The two principal leads are Toronto actors Diane Newling and David Parisian.

iFilmGroup.org - Press Release - Day One - Filming “Not Ready” - 06-28-19

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 “Filtered” wins Best Canadian Film at the Toronto Smartphone Film Festival

Previously featured in an iFilmGroup Press Release, the cast and crew of “Filtered” wins Best Canadian Film at the Toronto Smartphone Film Festival. Back in February 2019, Matthew Marshall, co-founder of iFilmGroup met the cast and crew of this film while he was a judge with the Western Smartphone Film Festival (WSFF).

Matthew Marshall (left) meets with “Filtered” actors and crew.

Matthew Marshall (left) meets with “Filtered” actors and crew.

Marshall at an iFilmGroup Production Meeting predicted that the “EMG Productions” cast and crew that made “Filtered” would win more awards for their work. They did… and the film won in Toronto.
Best Canadian Film at the
Toronto Smartphone Film Festival

 

Paula Dormiendo and the cast and crew of the shooting of “Filtered”…
Sabrina Soto, Sam Batterbury, Taylor Jeanette Gaudon,
Robin Welka, Karin Elyakim, Sumi Ragu, Matt Quinn

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The film was produced by Scott Edward Morris and directed by Paula Ner Dormiendo. It features the cast of Taylor Jeanette Gaudon who played the role of Alanna and also has a connection to London Ontario. Karin Elyakim played the role of Cassie and Sabrina Solo played the role of Emily.

This film was shot by a group of Sheridan College students under the title of EMG Productions who came together to make a film called “Filtered” about two best friends walking home from a party only to be attacked by an unwanted follower. The entire film is told through the footage on a cell phone and when Marshall first saw the film he admits that he was not entirely in favour of it due to the film being presented in a vertical format verse tradition horizontal. “The film broke the traditional rules of film, and as a filmmaker, it bothered me at first, but then I started looking at it more closely. Because the films needed to be filmed on a smartphone, this brilliant team thought outside the box and filmed their film in tradition smartphone format of perpendicular. The entire film is the viewer seeing the videos that are on the cell phone,” says Marshall.

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 iFilmGroup congratulates the cast & crew of ‘Filtered” with a big Toronto Win.

iFilmGroup - Press Release - “Filtered” Wins at TSFF - 2019- 06-22-19

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BUSY MOVIE DIRECTOR AND PRODUCER VISITS KIDS ON STAGE IN ST. THOMAS, ONTARIO

Cast and crew of “The Exciting Exploits of an Effervescent Elf “ at the  Elgin Theatre Guild

Cast and crew of “The Exciting Exploits of an Effervescent Elf “ at the Elgin Theatre Guild

Busy movie director and producer Matthew Marshall of m & s Marshall Productions and co-founder of iFilmGroup was once again invited to visit the Elgin Theatre Guild in St. Thomas, Ontario. Marshall broke from his busy schedule of shooting preparations of a movie being shot locally in St. Thomas and London this summer. This movie called “Not Ready” , co-produced and directed by Marshall will feature some stage actors (youth and adults) from the Elgin Theatre Guild (ETG).

Marshall said, “ I have a strong connections with ETG that goes back many years. I’ve seen actors of all ages working with ETG grow into superb actors. When connecting with these young actors and their parents I open up an invitation to develop their skills by getting involved on a movie set and working with film.”

M & S Marshall Productions had the pleasure to cast from the actors of ETG for his films. Just recently, actors from ETG had an Audition Day at their location in St. Thomas held by iFilmGroup. Lesley Chapman, President at Elgin Theatre Guild (Community Theatre) said, “It’s a great event when we have professionals like Matthew coming by to visit our actors. The boost of energy and excitement is seen in the actors. Matthew is keen on sharing, teaching and definitely re-enforcing skills and attitude of our actors and volunteers”.

Matthew Marshall with cast and crew of “The Exciting Exploits of an Effervescent Elf “ -Elgin Theatre Guild, St. Thomas, ON

Matthew Marshall with cast and crew of “The Exciting Exploits of an Effervescent Elf “ -Elgin Theatre Guild, St. Thomas, ON

Matthew Marshall said, “ I had a great afternoon with the cast and crew of “The Exciting Exploits of an Effervescent Elf “ at the Elgin Theatre Guild . Also a special time being the VIP Guest and chatting with the “ETG Kids” giving acting and line learning tips for their up coming production.

“The Exciting Exploits of an Effervescent Elf “
Production runs June 27th -June 29th
Visit the ETG website for tickets at http://www.elgintheatreguild.ca/tickets.html

iFilmGroup.org - PR - ETG - Invitation - 06-19

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 ACTORS FROM SOUTHWESTERN ONTARIO

AND TORONTO CAST IN A 2019 SUMMER MOVIE

CALLED “NOT READY”

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Here are some actors from our roster that are playing roles
in this summer’s production of a dramatic movie influenced by “real life” events and situations.
The events of a journey have "purpose of meaning" and as events unravel, they remarkably seem like pre-destination.

 
David Parisian - Lead Actor

David Parisian - Lead Actor

 
Diane Newling - Lead Actor

Diane Newling - Lead Actor


Some Supporting Actors that have been cast

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More actors will be displayed as we cast them. We are still requiring extras.


iFilmGroup.org - Press Release - Partial Cast - Movie - “Not Ready” - 07-31-19

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Toronto Acting Pair Leads For “Not Ready”

David Parisian - actor

David Parisian - actor

 iFilmGroup’s newest production “Not Ready” has two main characters that when brought to life on the screen will move people in a profound way. The script is written by iFilmGroup co-founder Don Hickey. Many who have caught a sneak glimpse at the script are very moved by the words on the page. The team has been working on finding the right people to bring those words to life and they believe they have found the right combination in David Parisian and Diane Newling.

 
David Parisian in  “Blue Love”.

David Parisian in “Blue Love”.

David Parisian will be playing the lead role of Professor Richard Pratt.  The professor has just received the bad news he is going to die. Now he must get his affairs in order and try to prepare for his impending death. Parisian is a character actor in the truest sense of the word. He has brought to life characters ranging from those you feel sorry for, to those you love, to those you hate. He is known for playing John Carroll in Black Donelly’s, Charles Tripp in Black Gold, along with over 30 other films and many TV series.  Parisian has also previously worked with the iFilmGroup team when he was in m & s Marshall Production’s Blue Love. He played a small role of the minister in the film.


Diane Newling - actress

Diane Newling - actress

Diane Newling will be playing the professor’s wife Gail Pratt. She is a talented Fashion design teacher who finds out she has won an award and is supposed to be going to Paris. That is until the news comes about her husband Richard changing the course of events in their lives. Newling is a Toronto based actress who has played Chloe in “The Petrichor,”  Ida in “Life of CY” and a Financial Aid Officer in “Tuition” and appearing in two TV Series.  Playing Julia Ames in the episode “Deadly Duplex” on Fear Thy Neighbour and Inspector Juvelle on the episode “Discord” on Bizarre Murders.  

Parisian and Newling have worked together on previous projects and are both excited to be working together again.  Filming for the production will be taking place over the summer of 2019 in London and St. Thomas.

iFilmGroup Press Release - Acting Pair - David Parisian and Diane Newling - Cast in “Not Ready” 02-19-19

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At Auditions For Movie “Not Ready”

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iFilmGroup held Auditions on Sunday, May 19th for their upcoming film “Not Ready” written by iFilmGroup co-Founder Don Hickey.  The film is about a professor named Richard who is facing death straight in the face and has to look at his life, the time he has spent with his loved ones, how he has used his time and whose lives has he changed. 

The Auditions were held at Elgin Theatre Guild in St. Thomas and were attended by close to 30 people ranging in ages from 10 years of age up to seniors. Some familiar faces from iFilmGroup’s recent past were in attendance as well as some new faces from London and surrounding areas. “We had people from London and St. Thomas but we also had people come in from as far away as Sarnia and Toronto audition as well”, says Hickey who is also the film’s Producer.  His iFilmGroup co-founder Matthew Marshall is directing the production.

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Marshall was impressed with the level of talent at the auditions.  Marshall will confirm that certain members of the cast have been selected coming out of the audition day, but no official announcements have been made just yet. Cast will be announced on the iFilmGroup Facebook page and in press releases at iFilmGroup.org.

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Filming for the production will be taking place over the summer of 2019 in London and St. Thomas.

iFilmGroup.org Press Release - “Not Ready” Movie - Auditions - 05-19-19

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iFilmGroup Duo Cast in Major Roles

 

Max Steinberg

iFilmGroup.org actor Max Steinberg

iFilmGroup.org actor Max Steinberg

 

 Zachary Wilson

iFilmGroup.org actor Zach Wilson

iFilmGroup.org actor Zach Wilson

Basketball Gang from movie “Blue Love”

Basketball Gang from movie “Blue Love”

Max Steinberg and Zachary Wilson have been associated with the key members of iFilmGroup for several years now. They have been a part of a number of the movies that the production team has made and have also participated in the various workshops that iFilmGroup has offered. They have been a part of a number of film productions together. They both were part of the Black Donnelly’s. With the iFilmGroup production team, they have been a part of Malicious Attack about bullying as students of the high school in the film. They have camped out in nature together with Summer of Discovery. Most recently, they were teens playing basketball together taunting the main character in Blue Love.

 

The iFilmGroup team will be announcing more cast in the coming days. Some familiar faces who have worked with iFilmGroup previously and some new faces that will be joining the team.

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Now they have been cast to be playing friends in the new iFilmGroup film “Not Ready”.
Max will be playing the third biggest role of the film in the role of Michael. Zachary will be playing Michael’s best friend Glen. For both of them, this is the biggest roles they have played so far with iFilmGroup.  “It is a testament to thier growth with the group over the last few years”, says iFilmGroup co-founder Don Hickey who is also the writer of Not Ready.

Filming for the production will be taking place over the summer of 2019 in London and St Thomas.

iFilmGroup.org Press Release - Max Steinberg and Zachary Wilson - Duo Cast in Major Roles - 05-19-19

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iFilmGroup’s Newest Film has Three Interesting Support Characters

Through the process of casting for the film, much discussion went into who would be best to play these three roles. The roles are of two sisters who attend a Performing arts school and their controlling “stage mom”. The Campbell sisters are considered Triple Threats which in the performance world means they can sing, dance and act. Their Mother is going to ensure that these two girls make it to the big time and she is going to push them every step of the way if need be. 

Talia Mielke - actor

Talia Mielke - actor

Jessica Fediw - actor

Jessica Fediw - actor

Shelby Simpson -actor

Shelby Simpson -actor


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Many people applied for the roles. In fact, the two sisters were two of the most applied to roles for casting. But two individuals very familiar to the iFilmGroup emerged above all the rest.  Both are true real-life certified triple threats. The first is Talia Mielke from Sarnia that has been in a large number of theatre productions and played some major roles including Dorothy in the “Wizard of Oz” and Anne in “Anne of Green Gables”

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Her talent has recently lead to her being accepted into the musical theatre performance program at Sheridan College. She has also worked with the iFilmGroup previously when she played the role of Maizie Dunne in Blue Love. Mielke will be playing the older sister Katherine Campbell.  The younger sister role of Cassandra Campbell will be played by another familiar face of iFilmGroup and that is Shelby Simpson.  Simpson came to iFilmGroup back at the beginning of filming Blue Love. She actually played two roles in the film due to her ability to change her look and also due to a growth spurt that she had from the first scene to later in filming. 

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Both Simpson and Mielke have been apart of several workshops in the last year with the iFilmGroup team and participated in the filming for promotional material for Drama Therapy where an instant connection was formed. “Shelby and Talia were paired together for the puppet portion of the workshop and they instantly connected. What was even more interesting is they look like sisters” says Not Ready director and iFilmGroup co-founder Matthew Marshall.  That chemistry was shown again at Auditions when they instantly connected again to form a bond when playing the sisters when reading scenes for the film.  Again the look between the two of them like sisters was very clear. Even there interactions when not on stage was that of two people that had known each other for years. They both also showed up to auditions dressed like private school girls in uniforms. “We had a lot of good people come audition for the Campbell sisters but two people stood out above the rest on several levels.  That was Talia and Shelby” adds Marshall.

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The final piece in the puzzle came in who would be cast as Mrs. Campbell.  Jessica Fediw someone that Marshall has known since High School and who has acted in many of the Elgin Theatre Guild productions in recent years came to Auditions. Jessica has played small roles in some of Marshall’s films. She was a school board member named Mrs. S. Smith in Malicious Attack.  Then she played the mother of a small child in the hospital waiting room in Blue Love. That child was Shelby Simpson for one of her two roles in Blue Love. “Shelby and Jessica share some similarities in looks so they were the perfect mom and daughter for the scene,” says Marshall.  So Fediw was a natural top choice to play Mrs. Campbell. At auditions, that choice was confirmed when Fediw showed her acting talent by becoming the “Stage Mom” that would be the mother of the Campbell daughters.

With Talia Mielke, Shelby Simpson and Jessica Fediw all being cast as the Campbell family members it fills in more of the central roles of Not Ready.

More casting selections will be coming from iFilmGroup in the coming days.

iFilmGroup Press Release - Three Interesting Support Characters - Movie- “Not Ready” - 05-19-19

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 Santa Clause Gets an Acting Job with iFilmGroup

Thomas William Brown -  actor

Thomas William Brown - actor

Thomas William Brown a mall Santa auditioned with iFilmGroup for the production of "Not Ready" written by Donald Michael Hickey (co-founder of iFilmGroup) and directed by Matthew Marshall (co-founder of iFilmGroup) of m & S Marshall Productions.

Hickey scouted for a particular character actor over a year ago and found Brown in his annual role of Santa Clause at White Oak and Westmount, and Masonville malls in London Ontario.

In conversation with Hickey who is the Community Engagement Manager for iFilmGroup and scout for local talent, Brown disclosed his acting resume. He started as a young 13 yr. old as Snoopy in the Santa Clause Parade (29yrs) and The Turkey Festival (8yrs) in Strathroy, Ontario 1966-1995. Also played Sir Topham Hatt with Day Out with Thomas the Train in St. Thomas and Ottawa and even Winnipeg. Brown also was a clown in parade & festivities .

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His debut as the "Happy Daze Clown" for the Western Fair in London Ontario lead to his debut in a commercial as the "Happy Daze Clown" in 1989 for the Western Fair District. Mrs Anne Eadie, Public Relations Manager of Western Fair District was quoted, “Mr. Brown performed most professionally, bringing the character to life and interacting with fair visitors”.

To add to his list; in 1992- Rocky Horror Picture Show - St. Catharines Gay Players in Toronto, St. Catharines and Kitchener, Ontario. He was “Homer House" covered in fun fur for the Niagara Lifestyle Home Show. Then onto “Mr. Grape “ at the Niagara Grape & Wine Festival in the fall of 1991. “He was one grape looking Mascot” said- Kim Pecora Executive Director of the festival.

His volunteer work 2012 to Present- London Pride Festival 2013-2017, and Fringe Festival 2011- 2014, also Aeolian Theatre and Palace Theatre and Grande Theatre London as an usher.

Thomas Brown has been involved in small acting parts over many years. Matthew Marshall co-founder of iFilmGroup always expresses that, "all roles are important. There's no such thing as an unimportant role. And most likely, playing a small role will lead to a bigger role, if the right opportunity shall arise!" The opportunity arose with the audition through iFilmGroup's casting call.

Bernadine Spencer of Pride London Festival says, "Thomas is very caring and compassionate about his work. He is kind, considerate, enthusiastic, provides a great deal of enjoyment for adults & children, pleasure to work with, very gentle, hard working and dedicated to all those he touches, in all that he does. Thomas has been highly recommended over the years. As a person who has worked close with Thomas I can attest to his art. He is a hard worker and committed to whatever he puts his heart and soul .”

When Thomas left the auditions held by iFilmGroup he was quoted saying, "I waited all my life for this opportunity. All my small acting gigs have paid off and I always looked forward to this day.. the day I would be discovered. This day will change my life! Thank you iFilmGroup."

iFilmGroup Press Release - Thomas Brown (mall Santa) - Cast in movie “Not Ready” - 05-19-19

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Maysee McLean with other students are making a short film

Katie Depont, Eric Thompson, Madison Joyce, Maysee McLean

Katie Depont, Eric Thompson, Madison Joyce, Maysee McLean

iFilmGroup member Maysee McLean, along with three other Strathroy District Collegiate high school students are pursuing a dream to make their own short film. With the help of the Prestige Pictures team that dream is coming true. Together they are making a thriller themed short film called “Tristis”.

They have been working for months to bring this to life. With mentors from Prestige Pictures as well as a donation of equipment from Ontario Camera’s they are excited to start shooting in a couple of weeks!

Tristis is a short film that was created by a group of passionate and determined high school students. But this is more than just a short film, as three experienced professionals have agreed to come on board as mentors to provide a hands-on learning experience for these students. In order to provide a full on-set experience, they required a budget to cover production expenses and ensure the students can learn with industry-standard equipment.

Maysee Mclean will be the "Director Apprentice for the film and will also be playing the role of Sydney in the film. Sydney is a little nerdy. She hasn't been sleeping which has made her feel really down and depressed. Sydney has a hard home life as her dad left a few years back. Her mom is having to balance multiple jobs and always seems to be tired and sad. The rest of the team includes Eric Thompson as DOP / Cinematographic apprentice, Madison Joyce – Production Manager Apprentice and Katie Depont as Production Co-ordinator apprentice. The student team will be helped by Matt Blain who is the Writer/Director/ Producer of the film and Matthew Read is the owner and founder of Prestige Pictures and the cinematographer

The student team is learning all the aspects to film making and learning what goes into making a film. Like insurance, food for cast and crew, casting, post-production.  

The team has been looking for a few remaining cast for extras for the film.  This film Student-driven project has the help of mentors to guide the student team along. The students have put together a dynamic thrilling story fearing some good old fashion High School drama. Including popular girls, social status, and jealousy. The team is really excited about the project and the journey through making a film.  The team is excited about the opportunities for people to be involved in the project.  “This is a great learning opportunity and, if you are a high school student it is a great way to obtain volunteer hours,” says McLean.  

This opportunity is similar to what the iFilmGroup program does with people of all ages from youth right up to seniors. The iFilmGroup team is very proud to see one of its members Maysee McLean branching out and doing her own projects. “Maysee has been with us for a few projects. Now she has been accepted into the Media Production Program at Ryerson University and will be learning more about the media industry. Add to that, she is working on producing a short film of her own. It’s so amazing to see the growth.” says iFilmGroup co-Founder Don Hickey.

The film is being shot on Saturday, May 18th; Full day and Tuesday, May 21st.  The filming for the film is taking place in Strathroy, Ontario.

iFilmGroup.org Press Release - Maysee McLean and Fellow Students- Make a Short Film - 05-08-19

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 First Take showcases talent from Fanshawe Filmmaking

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On Saturday Night April 27th the Fanshawe's Advanced Filmmaking First Take Film Festival took place at Wolfe Performance Hall in London. The festival is a collaboration between Fanshawe College and the Advanced Filmmaking Program, who together are very proud to present the festival which showcases the students of the Advance Filmmaking course.  The course is offered at Fanshawe College and is a hands-on, one-year Graduate Certificate Program that will build upon the film student’s theoretical and creative knowledge, and introduce them to a wide range of possibilities when working as a part of a filmmaking crew.

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Those that attend the course are guided through the stages of production in documentary and narrative filmmaking; and produce films with their classmates, as well as with students from Fanshawe’s Theatre Arts, Audio Post-Production and Visual Effects & Editing programs. Students gain a strong understanding of the Canadian film industry and have the option of taking on an internship with one of the many industry partners. Industry-experienced faculty and guest lectures from visiting filmmakers give the students an inside look at the industry, and what it takes to succeed. 

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Earlier this year the iFilmGroup co-Founders of Don Hickey and Matthew Marshall had a chance to attend Fanshawe College and be one of the guest lectures for a Film and TV class. Marshall spoke about independent film making, film festivals and about iFilmGroup.

This year-end film festival is an annual event that premieres some of the best work from that year's Advanced Filmmaking Program (AFM) class. The AFM students each direct a film of their own, and work on other students’ films in roles such as producer, script/continuity supervisor and assistant director. Students in Fanshawe’s Theatre Arts program are actors in many of the films. Audio Post-Production (APP) students work on the films from the Audio perspective.  The APP students also added music and sound effects and fixed audio issues in the final cuts of the film. Some students even composed original music for the films.

Several faces who have worked with the iFilmGroup were associated with the festival in various capacities. Johnson Olowofela who was one of the festival directors and who was a student in the Advanced Filmmaking had several films he was a part of. The one he directed was called “FlippiNg the Paige” and featured a familiar acting face in Ian Smith. Olowofela worked with Marshall on Blue Love both as an actor playing a police officer and as crew for the film as well. While Ian Smith has worked with the team on various films. He was part of the crew on Struggles within and played a role in Marshall film “Malicious Attack about Bullying. Olowefela also was part of several other films as crew at the festival including; Forest Noise, Pressure, and Tim’s Got The House For The Weekend.

Another face familiar with iFilmGroup was Amy Curtis who acted in a couple of the films. Curtis was I the first year Theatre Arts program this year and finished the year off with starring in one of the Advance Filmmaking students films. The film was called “Capital i”. In fact, Curtis earned herself the Best Performance Award for the role at the festival.

 
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Marshall had the privilege of attending the festival and found the films very interesting and felt it showcased the talent that London has within the film making community.  With the conclusion of the festival, it put a wrap on the school year for the students of the various programs. Some will be back for additional years in their programs while the Advance Filmmaking students will have graduated and now go on to work in the Film production industry.

iFilmGroup.org Press Release - Advanced Filmmaking First Take Film Festival 2019 - AFFTFF - 04-19

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“Legally Blonde” Done in Local High Schools with iFilmGroup Members

When most people hear the title “Legally Blonde” they jump to thoughts of the 2001 American comedy film based on Amanda Brown's novel of the same name. It starred Reese Witherspoon, Luke Wilson, Selma Blair, Matthew Davis, Victor Garber, and Jennifer Coolidge. The story is about Elle Wood who has it all in her life except one thing. The man of her dreams. She is a sorority girl who wants nothing more than to be Mrs. Warner Huntington III. But there is one thing stopping it.  She is too blond.  Elle rallies all of her resources and gets into Harvard in an attempt to win back her ex-boyfriend by getting a Juris Doctor degree. The title is a pun on the term "legally blind".

iFilmGroup Member Lauren Fuoco From Chatham Played The Lead Role of Elle Wood

Lauren Fuoco   with cast from “Legally Blonde”.

Lauren Fuoco with cast from “Legally Blonde”.

Lauren Fuoco

Lauren Fuoco

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The story has expanded past that original movie into a play format and then in February 2007, a musical adaptation of Legally Blonde premiered on Broadway. It had mixed reviews overall. But that has not stopped the production from finding success.  The play version, as well as the musical version, have gone on to be done in various High Schools in North America. Including a few in London and area.  The production was done at the Grand Theatre in 2013 for the 15th anniversary of the High School Project.  Then in 2014 in Chatham, Ontario at the Chatham Capital Theatre. For that production which was the musical version, iFilmGroup member Lauren Fuoco from Chatham played the lead role of Elle Wood.  

“Playing Elle was the first experience I had playing a real lead role. I was honoured to have been picked” says Fuoco.  She says the role was a lot of hard work and dedication. “It takes a lot out of you. I had to be at every rehearsal and had my own private rehearsals outside of the regular ones. I was constantly singing the songs and running through lines. Before bed, I would run through the scenes in my head as I fell asleep. By the end of it all, any members of my family could have been the lead because they heard it 24/7”, adds Fuoco.

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In the end, the production itself turned out amazing. Unfortunately, there were some things that they had to cut out for time purposes and to make it more appropriate for the kid’s shows.  But that did not take away from the experience for Fuoco. “Overall it was so awesome! I would do it again in a heartbeat. You get so close to all your cast mates that you feel like a family. I miss doing the show all the time” says Fuoco.

Fuoco has been working with iFilmGroup since late 2018. She is newer to the group but is looking forward to working with them more once the school year is out and she is done her university term. She was a part of “Blue Love” as the character of April Anderson a waitress that has gone into labour and who is in the maternity ward at the same time as the films lead Kaitlyn.  Lauren is also auditioning for the upcoming iFilmGroup production of “Not Ready”.

 

iFilmGroup’s Shelby Simpson Audition for this Pre-professional Program

 
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Another connection to the show and iFilmGroup comes in the pre-professional program at Drayton Festival Theatre. They are doing “Legally Blonde Jr” in 2019. Shelby Simpson audition for this pre-professional program. Her audition for Legally Blonde came out of her auditioning for the summer musical theatre acting camp at Drayton in the spring of 2018.  Thus far she has not heard back from her audition for Legally Blonde or if she got a role.  But Simpson considered the experience “awesome” regardless if she gets a role.  Simpson has been an active participant in the iFilmGroup workshops and activities. She plays a role in “Blue Love” and was part of the Drama Therapy footage shot with iFilmGroup. She is also auditioning to be part of an iFilmGroup’s movie production “Not Ready”.

 

Parkside College Institute Performed The Musical Version of The Show

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Parkside College Institute performed the musical version of the show in late February, early March of 2019. Parkside is iFilmGroup co-founder, Matthew Marshall’s old high school. Marshall attended the production and found it very good. “For a funny little show it has a bigger message about keeping it positive,” says Marshall. Marshall felt the cast did a great job in bringing the story to life. The play has an important message about breaking down stereotypes to prove we are more than what people assume we are.  Marshall feels that is a message that people need to hear. Especially the younger generation, which is our future.

 
Haley Gordon

Haley Gordon

 
Aaliyah Paul

Aaliyah Paul

 

Parkside’s production features some cast members that are both newer faces as well as a familiar face to the iFilmGroup community. The new faces are Haley Gordon who in the play, plays the role Serena. Gordon has worked with the iFilmGroup production team in “Blue Love” where she had a small role.  She is also auditioning for “Not Ready”. Adam (AJ) Longlade is playing the lead male role of Emmett Richards in Parkside’s version of the play. Longlade has applied to “Not Ready” and is interested in participating with iFilmGroup. The familiar face of the play was Aaliyah Paul who played Gaelan and was part of many of the dance numbers. Paul is known for her roles in Marshall’s bullying film “Malicious Attack” as the reporter and in “Summer of Discovery” where she plays the role of Becca the best friend of the lead.

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The story of Legally Blonde is sometimes fluffed off as just a silly and goofy one, but the deeper message of not judging a book by its cover and achieving your full potential is one that iFilmGroup stands behind. It is what the iFilmGroup team is trying to do within their mandate of mentoring its members. They want each person involved to be the best they can be, discover the many wonderful and interesting aspects of film making. While also forming lasting connections and relationships across generations.

With the newest production- “Not Ready” in the pre-production stage, the team will explore the themes and topics of the value of life and relationships within this newest production. They are currently gathering acting resumes and headshots for auditions which are coming up.  Look for more information in the near future about this production.

iFilmGroup.org Press Release-Local Highschools-Legally Blonde-03-01-19

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Marshall talks film at Stanton Academy

Matthew Marshall; guest presenter at the Stanton Academy, London, Ontario.

Matthew Marshall; guest presenter at the Stanton Academy, London, Ontario.

Award-winning film director and iFilmGroup co-founder Matthew Marshall was the guest presenter at the Stanton Academy in London, Ontario. He spoke to a group of students from the Academy about film making and the iFilmGroup. The students are working on small film projects either on their own or in small groups. Many are focusing on stop motion animation while others are working on scripts, short films, and trailers for film ideas they have.

Stanton Academy is a responsive learning environment committed to the emotional, social, and intellectual needs of children in our community. They offer unique opportunities for home-schoolers, for bright and gifted children, and for everyone looking for an authentic and personalized learning experience.

 The two classes involved have been learning and studying about film and film making. The group have been viewing samples of movies and brainstorming about what they want to create. They are working on simple storyboards and scripts with the end goal of making a short film or trailer for their movies.

Marshall spoke to the group in two one hour sessions. He talked about his career in film making and what goes into making a short film. He also discussed iFilmGroup and the inter-generational film making the group does. At the end, the group talked about their ideas and concepts about what they are interested in doing for their projects. Marshall offered suggestions and advice to help them along on their various film projects. The groups finished films will be done in a few weeks. Marshall is interested to follow up with the various teams and Stanton Academy and look at ways he and the iFilmGroup can further help promote these young inspiring youth.

“The day offered me an opportunity to talk about film and mentor youth that are interested in film,” says Marshall. Mentoring is at the heart of the iFilmGroup mandate and Marshall feels it is important to mentor others after the many people that have mentored him. “I have had a lot of great people in my life that have taken me under their wing and mentored me to where I am now. I feel I need to “pay it forward” and mentor others in the same manner as what I received”, Marshall adds.

For more information on Stanton Academy and what they are doing, you can check out their website http://www.stantonacademy.com/

Check back into iFilmGroup on their website or Facebook page for more updates on this and other projects or events that are in the works.

iFilmGroup Press Release - Stanton Academy-02-26-19

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Registered Psychotherapist and Drama Therapist Joins iFilmGroup

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iFilmGroup co-founders Matthew Marshall and Don Hickey are delighted to announce a new member to their award winning Production Team. Golden opportunities for all existing and future actors and crew members with the introduction of Angel Bilagot to our Production Team will enhance our acting workshops and teaching methods.

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Angel Bilagot is a Registered Psychotherapist and Drama Therapist. Angel graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University with a combined degree of Psychology and Theatre. She completed her Master’s Degree at Concordia University, specializing in Drama Therapy.  She continued her training in Drama Therapy in New York City while working as a Therapist at the PTSD Clinic in New Haven, Connecticut. She was provided with the opportunity to have gained professional experiences to work, teach, and develop programs for environments such as the Jewish General Hospital (Montreal), The Canadian Institute for Neuro-Integrative Development (Montreal), The Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter, and The University of Alberta (Edmonton).  

Drama therapy uses drama and theatre to achieve therapeutic goals. Simply put, a drama therapist uses drama in a skilled and intentional way to help others. In drama therapy, dramatic play can be done in a safe environment under the guidance of a trained therapist who can use these moments of play to help a child heal and grow.

It is through the art of drama and play that many people learn to express themselves better and gain confidence in interaction in the world as well as how to effectively deal with personal matters and worldly issues in a more effective way. Drama and acting can be a tool in which those involved can gain some amazing benefits and encourage personal growth within individuals and positive meaningful change in a person’s life.

She is dedicated to helping children, teens, and families through the use of art. She has worked nationally and internationally and strives to provide a safe, supportive and creative space that encourages personal growth and change in a meaningful way.

Dramatic play, whether formal (theatre experience) or informal (playing at home) allows children, youth and teens to safely express themselves, try on different characters, experiment with a different voice, and make brave choices.

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WESTERN SMARTPHONE FILM FESTIVAL WINNERS ANNOUNCEMENT

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The Western Smartphone Film Festival (WSFF) had another successful festival on Saturday, Feb 2nd at the Western Film Theatre on the 2nd floor of University Community Centre on the Campus of Western University. The event was the showing of the top ten films of the 2019 festival. The theme was “Perception verse Reality” and the ten finalist filmmakers did not disappoint as there were five of the ten films that were contenders for the top prize.

Matthew Marshall, iFilmGroup co-founder was one of the WSFF judges of the event and he enjoyed the various entries and the creativity that went into the films by the various filmmakers. He was joined on the judging panel by Jordan Christopher Morris, an award-winning producer, and director of films like “Nintendo Quest” and multiple festival best documentary winner “Missing Mom”. He is the creator and host of Sighthound Studio. Jordon is also a committee member of the Forest City Film Festival.  The third judge on the WSFF panel was Allen Saulnier who is the award-winning author and director. He is the founder of E11even Entertainment Studios. He has been writing, directing and editing films since 1989.

All films entered into the festival had to 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.

The Western Smartphone Film Festival is in its fourth year and is a student-run organization at Western 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. 

The top ten entries had a few familiar faces as part of the films. One of the stand out films “My Guardian Angel Only Wears Black” by Barry Tanner Bennett features lead actress Kelsea Crowe. Crowe is not directly connected with iFilmGroup but was part of the cast of Marshall’s award-winning 2014 feature film Daughter of the King. Crowe played the role Nadia.  Daughter of the King won 32 awards, had 16 Official Selections, 3 nominations, and 1 finalist award. Crowe’s performance in the film is quite moving as the wife in the film.

In the theme of Perception verse Reality, the story unfolds in a way that leaves it unclear till the end what has really gone on. Some very talented work went into the films editing that impressed Marshall very much.  Bennett has studied advance filmmaking at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario and was the Director of Photography on another of the top ten films “For the Absured” by Antonio Martinez. “For the Absorb” also included some familiar faces to Marshall and the iFilmGroup. Both Ryan Mason and Max Steinberg were in the film.  Ryan Mason played the abusive husband in “Blue Love” by Marshall and m & s Marshall Productions.  Max has had a number of appearance in various films associated with Marshall and iFilmgroup. He is also an active member of a number of iFilmgroup events and workshops.

Kydra Ryan who is a local London scriptwriter and was part of “Blue Love” in a small role as part of another top ten films “Antipsycho” by Liam Kuchta.  A couple of films included crew familiar to Marshall’s Production included Stephen LeGresley who was not only part of the crew in a couple films but also was part of the group of individuals who help organize WSFF. Brandon Heessels who has been a grip in some of Marshall’s Productions played the lead actor in two films which included “For the Absurd” and “Antipsycho”

The 2019 field had a lot of good films and some familiar faces were back with films that helped elevate the game and made for some tough competition for this year’s festival.

The director of last year’s second-place film at WSFF, Matthew Downs had a new entry for this year. His film “Fatal” created waves last year and was in consideration for best film in the festival before being edged out by “Man in A Box” which won the festival as well as the audience choice in the 2018 WSFF. This year Downs’ brought his newest film "LoVeliness” which feature Ciarra Thompson. Thompson was also the star of “Fatal” last year.  This year’s film brought an interesting take to the theme of perception verse reality. The film follows Thompson’s character after a recent break-up, @Abbaluvr58 (Thompson) has a new high-tech device installed in her eyes, which allows her to download an artificially intelligent new boyfriend (who just so happens to be a replica of her ex).

Since WSFF began, the Universe City Productions team has never failed to submit a film. Last year, their film, "Toronto", won 3rd place! This year’s entry kept up the tradition. With a few familiar faces from last year, the team brought a new and fresh entry to this year’s theme with “Our Father’s Sins” by Mis Afgan Talpur. It is a story of a young man whose father's company destroyed the environment. His guilt for his father's actions consumes him. We see how he perceives the world that his father ruined and how a girl enters his life and helps him see the reality of the situation.

Another outstanding entry to the festival came in a film from a group of Sheridan College students under the title of EMG Productions who came together to make a film called “Filtered” about two best friends walking home from a party only to be attacked by an unwanted follower. The entire film is told through the footage on a cell phone and when Marshall first saw the film he admits that he was not entirely in favour of it due to the film being presented in a vertical format verse tradition Horizontal. “The film broke the traditional rules of film, and as a filmmaker, it bothered me at first but then I started looking at it more closely. At its heart, the film embodied what the Western Smartphone Film Festival is all about. Because the films needed to be filmed on a smartphone this brilliant team thought outside the box and filmed their film in tradition smartphone format of perpendicular. The entire film is the viewer seeing the videos that are on the cell phone,” says Marshall.

And true to the theme of perception verse reality, what you see, to begin with, is not the full story. “We see footage that gives you one perception of these friends having fun together. But the truth is something different” says Marshall. As the film moves forward you start to see footage that starts to possibly explain why two friends have been attached. And as we move forward each one of the video clips that reveal the new information is deleted. In the end, through the telling of the story, a new story is revealed.

Cast and Crew of “Filtered” - winning First Place, standing with iFilmGroup co-founder Matthew Marshall at WSFF 2019, UWO

Cast and Crew of “Filtered” - winning First Place, standing with iFilmGroup co-founder Matthew Marshall at WSFF 2019, UWO

It was a story and style that spoke to all three of the judges for this year’s WSFF and it leads to “Filtered” being selected as the Best film overall at this year’s festival. The results were a surprise to the “Filtered” team as they felt they were up against a very tough field and they were happy to just be at the festival. The surprise of winning quickly lead to the happiness of the team. 

The film was produced by Scott Edward Morris and directed by Paula Ner Dormiendo. It features the cast of Taylor Jeanette Gaudon who played the role of Alanna and also has a connection to London Ontario. Karin Elyakim played the role of Cassie and Sabrina Solo played the role of Emily.

The line at the end of the film spoke to Marshall and summed up the entire concept of the WSFF. The team thanked WSFF “for showing us that everyone holds a potential story in their pockets”. It spoke to the entire concept of the festival. After the final results were announced the three judges along with Dorothy Downs from the Forest City Film Festival made up a panel which the filmmakers and audience members got a chance to ask questions about film making and the industry.

FINAL RESULTS:
1st Place
“Filtered” by EMG

2nd Place – “My Guardian Angel Only Wears Black” by Barry Tanner Bennett

3rd Place – “Our Father’s Sins” by Mis Afgan Talpur / Universe City Productions

Audience Choice – Marco & Lil Glock – Zeshan Ahmed & Faraj Abushawish

 iFilmGroup congratulates all participants in this student run festival at UWO.
Until next year… keep creating!

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Talia Mielke TAKES HER TALENT DOWN THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD

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The talented Talia Mielke has some big news that she just recently announced to the theatre/production community. She is thrilled to announce that she will be portraying the role of Dorothy Gale in Theatre Sarnia’s production of The Wizard of Oz!

Talia is a newer part of the iFilmGroup family but has worked with iFilmGroup on a couple small projects as well as attended iFilmGroup workshops and having a small role in Blue Love as Maizie Dunne.

Talia is a triple threat with experience in acting, dance, and singing. She has been involved with dance for 11 years with extensive training in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, and Contemporary.

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She is looking forward to moving on to post Secondary studies in a performing arts field. But before she does she will putting on the ruby slippers and looking to get back home as the lead Dorothy in the production of the Wizard of Oz which picks up when a tornado rips through Kansas. Dorothy and her dog Toto, are whisked away in their house to the magical land of Oz. They follow the Yellow Brick Road toward the Emerald City to meet the Wizard, and en route, they meet a Scarecrow that needs a brain, a Tin Man missing a heart, and a Cowardly Lion who wants courage.

The wizard asks the group to bring him the broom of the Wicked Witch of the West to earn his help before the Wicked Witch of the West catches up with them. The show runs  May 10th to May 12th and then May 15th to May 18th at Theatre Sarnia. This is her last show before she is off to school. She can’t wait to go over the rainbow with the amazing people that have been cast!

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Talia Mielke is no stranger to the Theatre Sarnia stage having roles in Cinderella, The Music Man, Mary Poppins, Beauty and the Beast, Oliver, and Legally Blonde. She also was involved with dance choreography with Theatre Sarnia as well as Sarnia-Lampton Rebound. Most recently she played Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables at the Petrolia Community Theatre.

Refer to The Sarnia OBSERVER -NEWS Post

 
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iFilmGroup.org - Press Release - PR-TM-OZ-02-03-V1

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Marshall Returns as WSFF Judge

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Award-winning director and iFilmGroup co-founder Matthew Marshall will be returning as a member of the judging panel for the 2019 Western Smartphone Film Festival. Marshall was a judge for the 2018 addition of the festival and feels it is a privilege to be invited back.

The Western Smartphone Film Festival is in its fourth year. The 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. This year’s theme is “PERCEPTION vs REALITY” and Marshall can’t wait to see what those that have submitted have created this year.  Marshall along with several other industry professionals will make up the panel that will this year’s submissions. The festival will be held on Saturday, February 2nd, 2019 on the Western Campus.

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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.

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The mission behind the WSFF is close to the hearts of Marshall and 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 Marshall. He goes on to say “the level of talent and films in last year’s festival were very high, as was the professions and work ethic of the organization committee that ran the festival”, Marshall adds.

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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 last year and took some real discussion on the part of the judging panel. I expect nothing less this year” says Marshall. He was also part of an industry professional panel which took questions from the audience and students about filmmaking. He has been invited back to be a part of the panel again this year and sees it as an opportunity to help spread the word about iFilmGroup. He was very impressed across the board with the festival.  “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. 

Marshall has over 30 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 80 awards and have been officially selected in 38 other festivals around the world. With additional nominations in festivals as well. Of the awards won, Matthew has won 11 awards for director of his various films.  Marshall has served on several film festival panels during his career and is very pleased to be returning for his second year as part of the 2019 Western Smart Phone Film Festival as a judge and panel member.

The festival will be from 1pm-4pm at Western on Feb 2nd where films are screened from 1-3pm and there is a networking session from 3-4pm.

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Western Smartphone Film Festival 2019

The Western Smartphone Film Festival is in its fourth year. The 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. This year’s theme is “PERCEPTION vs REALITY”. The festival will be held on the Western Campus, London, Ontario.

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The festival will be HELD from 1pm-4pm at Western on
Feb 2, 2019 1pm-4pm.
films are screened from 1PM-3pm
and there is a networking session from 3PM-4pm.

See Press Releases on 2019 WSFF under “Press & Media Releases”

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iFilmGroup Holds Workshop and Commits to Cast All Actors Attending WORKSHOP in a Production in 2019

 The iFilmGroup team held its third workshop of the year in conjunction with some still pictures and filming of footage for upcoming promotional and marketing projects dealing with Drama Therapy. 

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The event took place at the Elgin Theatre Guild located at the Princess Ave Playhouse in St. Thomas and included various iFilmGroup member as well as some parents. The workshop / Production shoot was led by iFilmGroup Co-founders Don Hickey and Matthew Marshall.  In attendance were some familiar faces included Max Steinberg, Shelby Simpson, Devynn Carver, Jacob Gagen, George Crosby, Talia Mielke, Petrina Cook and John Kakalas.

The Drama Therapy focus comes after some interactions with a local Drama Therapist who wishes to work with iFilmGroup and partner with their mission to help youth and seniors on their life journey. The idea of Drama Therapy is the intentional and systematic use of drama and theatre processes to achieve healthy psychological growth and change. Action methods, spontaneous and dramatic play, drama games, mime, movement, voice, role-play, scripts, masks, myths, stories, metaphor, and symbolism are used to enable clients to express, experience and explore relevant feelings, emotions, and issues.

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The day included the use of masks and puppets as well as a dramatic expression to show emotion as well as techniques in expressing thoughts and feelings.  All these elements were incorporated into the workshop component of the day as well as the photos and filming.  The day also included an opportunity for friendship and interaction. Many social media connections were being made by the end of the day and friendships were most certainly formed.

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Both participants, as well as the iFilmGroup team, considered the day a huge success that created some very powerful images to be used in the future. Coming out of the workshop the iFilmGroup Production Team was impressed with the attendees and commits to cast them in future 2019 productions.  

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“Blue Love” cast- laboured for the end reward 

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Three of the four main cast of “Blue Love” along with some new faces for m & s Marshall Productions and iFilmGroup filmed scenes for the film which included the final scenes of the movie. The scene took place in the “Baby 4 You” Maternity ward and centred on the film’s lead Helena Rose whose character Kaitlyn Butler has gone into labour. The scenes pick up after she has had the baby in the maternity ward.  The scenes also include Kaitlyn’s best friend Paige played by Alex Tremblay and Dylan played by Steven Trevor.

The scenes also featured three young ladies new to iFilmGroup and m & s Marshall Productions.  All three played women in labour who were in the background of the scenes. They included Lauren Fuoco out of Chatham who played the role April Anderson. A young pregnant mom who is poor and working at a restaurant as a waitress right up to the point of going into labour. That’s where we first see Fuoco’s character as she is brought in by a nurse to the maternity ward. She is part of a number of scenes that were filmed.

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Fuoco had actually seen the original casting call ad for “Blue Love” when the production team first started looking for actors/ actresses, and she thought about applying but she was busy with school. She is no stranger to acting. She has played Elle Woods in “Legally Blonde: The Musical”, and Veruca Salt in “Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory”.  Fuoco was also part of the “Tuna Fish Eulogy” put on by the Chatham Kent High School. She played the role of the mother.  The production went to the Sears Drama festival in 2015 and won an “Outstanding Production Award” at the District level. Lauren, along with the rest of the cast won an “Award of Excellence- Acting” for the production at the District level. The play went on to the regional level where Lauren won “Awards of Merit- Performance”.

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The scene also included Talia Mielke who has been a part of a number of theatre productions in the Sarnia-Lampton, as well as Petrolia area. Including playing Anne Shirley in a production of “Anne of Green Gables”.  Mielke is looking to branch out and explore her opportunities in acting. She is looking to the future and towards taking the next steps in her life of studying acting in Post-Secondary school. The third pregnant mom was Jessica Windibank from London who is new to acting but has been looking for opportunities. “I live to be a part of something big and creative and want to build my experience”, says Windibank.  

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A few of the scenes also included cameo’s by iFilmGroup co-founder Don Hickey and Registered Drama Therapist Angel Bilagot both as doctors.

The scenes were simple but a lot of work and detail went into them. Making the filming day long with a lot of hard work and labouring for the cast and the team. “In the end, all the labouring has paid off with a great result”, says the film’s director Matthew Marshall. He is very pleased with the end results that came from the day of filming. “The scenes look great. The cast that was part of them were really good. The overall footage, like much of the film looks really amazing and will make for a great final product”, says Marshall. 

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“Blue Love” is just a few scenes away from wrapping principle filming and heading into post-production.  The production team looks to finish filming in the early part of 2019 schedules permitting. “We have a couple locations to nail down and once that happens the filming will wrap up very quickly” adds Marshall.


After filming is complete Marshall turns his focus to preparing for a film in the spring to be filmed and also working on some iFilmGroup initiatives. 

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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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Talented Costume Designer worked on wedding dress for “blue love”

Costume Designer Janice Ulbrich that worked with Vogue, Linda Lundstrom Inc., Macy’s - Bloomingdale’s and Walt Disney World provided seamstress services through iFilmGroup for m & s Marshall Productions movie “Blue Love”. Wedding scene shot in Port Stanley Ontario.

Janice Lucas Ulbrich is a seasoned professional seamstress with over 45 years in the industry, and a graduate of Ryerson in Fashion Design and Merchandising. Janice’s thrilling career has led her to work for notable corporations including Vogue, Linda Lundstrom Inc., Macy’s Bloomingdale and Walt Disney World. Her greatest achievement was working in Animal Kingdom costuming and her daily activities included the dressing of characters for the parades. Additionally, Janice uses her talents sewing and designing for clients including the Winter Ball for the Children’s Hospital.

Below are shots with Helena Rose in the wedding dress that she wore in the movie “Blue Love” .

Actor Helen Rose in wedding dress from movie “Blue Love”. ©

Actor Helen Rose in wedding dress from movie “Blue Love”. ©

Behind the scene shot while filming in Port Stanley, Ontario. ©

Behind the scene shot while filming in Port Stanley, Ontario. ©

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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
Chris potter from
cbc Heartland Series

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.

PR-IFG-CP-CBC-HEARTLAND-10-09-18

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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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PR-MM-FANSHAWE-FILM STUDENTS-10-03-18

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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.

PR-SW-INDIE-FF-09-18

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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.

PR-PQ-GRAND-09-29-18

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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  • 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.

Marley Cabral OF ifilmGroup.org

Marley Cabral OF ifilmGroup.org

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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