By Jessica E. Masse
(WINDSOR, ON) – The Windsor Essex Economic Development Commission (W.E.E.D.C.) launched their first five year regional economic roadmap on Feb 9th 2011, which included the creative industries digital media. “Social media, marketing firms, mobile application development companies, IT infrastructure specialists, and graphic design companies have recently established themselves in our area.” (Workforce Windsor-Essex Promising Sectors 2012-2015)
As most of us are aware in 2011 the University of Windsor announced their Visual Arts and School of Music would be moving to the downtown area. Through additional announcements, and local business growth this sector is likely to experience growth in the next 3-5 years. (Workforce Windsor-Essex Promising Sectors 2012-2015)
According to the Canadian Media Production Association, in the year 2011 Ontario received 308 million dollars from Canadian made feature films, this number does not reflect foreign film, or short films.
As a native of Windsor, Kyle Van Dongen found his dating life in disarray. As he began to reflect upon his recent break up he started to become inspired to incorporate his personal experiences into the script of his first feature film “Closer Apart”, a comedic drama about a young man who tries so hard to endure a horrible date with a repulsive girl. Kyle was so invested in this endeavour he used his own personal money to finance his movie.
Kyle feels that “aspiring film makers are sometimes too obsessed with how Hollywood makes movies. You don’t need big name producer or multiple assistant directors to make a great film, all you need are good friends and some pocket change.”
If the public were to use his film budget to investigate his claim, his statement would prove to be true, considering the fact that Kyle produced an entire feature film on a budget of $500.00! Imagine what he could of done with more money, special effects etc; however, this truly speaks to the dedication that he had to produce an entertainment film piece for our public to enjoy.
The film premiered at Theatre Windsor, a non profit theatre located inside Market Square on Ottawa street. The early spring night was rainy, one would wonder about the turnout; on the contrary the rainy weather did not stop Windsor and the surrounding area’s film lovers from packing out the theatre.
Kyle now plans on submitting his film to film festivals.
Sean Bardgett another local actor and film maker became inspired to make a movie during his time at the University of Windsor, after learning of a student’s death which was rumoured to have been launched by a fraternity involvement.
As a fan of detective films and the Noir movie genre, Sean began to write his first film A Fortnights Rest, which is about a detective whose life, is threatened by a disappearing moon and a mysterious mob who wants him dead. Sean tenaciously submitted his film to 15 film festivals all to which were not accepted; however Sean recently received news that his film was accepted to be screened at the Detroit/ Windsor International Film Festival (D.W.I.F.F), a publicly attended film event which is held annually in the month of June with events taking place in both Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan. The D.W.I.F.F is closely associated with Wayne State University, as they recently incorporated their own student fest into the D.W.I.F.F, and many events are held on their campus.
“There are a number of reasons why producers are looking at doing filming in our region, but at the end of the day it really comes down to the bottom line. Films are, after all, about making money,” explains Karolyn Hart, VP Marketing, Operations, and Community Development of Windsor Essex Economic Development Corporation. “What we’ve been told by producers is they are beginning to look at our region for a number of reasons which includes things like we are accessible through a domestic US flight, for those who qualify, their ability to leverage the Canadian Tax Incentives, and even the fact that we have the most t-shirt days of any location in Canada.”
Is there a future for film makers such as Kyle Van Dongen and Sean Bardgett? Definitely, but its going to take time, collaboration and networking.
This is why Windsor should value and support events such as Biz X Magazine’s Second Tuesday Biz X Mixer which allows time for business to meet n greet each other and arrange networking and collaborating, because I truly believe no one can take a vision and run with it alone.
In closing I am reminded of a children’s movie written by Dr. Seuss; one particular phrase and scene from the movie comes to mind. There was a scene where the little town of Who Ville shouts out “We are here!” and this is the message that needs to get out. Yes world, Windsor is here!