A silver screen and red carpet affair

Burns Lake is about to be launched onto the silver screen.

The cast and crew gathered for a photo during the 2008 filming of Neutral Territory.

The cast and crew gathered for a photo during the 2008 filming of Neutral Territory.

Burns Lake is about to be launched onto the silver screen.

Producer, director, actor and past local resident Josias Tschanz is set to premiere his film Neutral Territory, which was filmed on the Southside and Burns Lake, at the Beacon Theatre on May 21.

The event will be a red carpet affair and it will be the first screening of the 76 minute drama to be held in Burns Lake since its filming in 2008.

The story of Neutral Territory is very personal to Tschanz as some of the elements are based on his own life experiences.

His parents immigrated to Canada from Switzerland, settling on the Southside.

“We all went through a bit of an identity crisis at first, especially my dad and I,” Tschanz said.

“Ironically I decided to cast my dad, Hans Tschanz, to play my father. It was a great experience for both of us and I feel that we had some good chemistry on screen. I have cast him before in another film that I also shot in Burns Lake entitled Saskia’s Letter,” he added.

Neutral Territory was officially released at the Beloit International Film Festival near Chicago in February this year and has also been selected to be shown by 10 film festivals including New York, Florida and Washington. The film will also premiere in Beijing, China this fall. The film has been nominated for a total of 12 awards, including best feature and best cinematography.

While the majority of the filming occurred on the Southside, there were also scenes filmed on the Francois Lake Forrester, at the Lakes District Hospital and also at Root 16.

Tschanz gives credit to the local community for helping out during the filming. “Locals, Klaus and Angelika Posselt were very much involved,” he said. “Klaus was our helicopter pilot and allowed us to get the most beautiful cinematic shots of this breathtaking area from up above.”

Angelika helped to organize a lot of the extras and was also involved with location scouting. She was also cast as an extra in the film.

You won’t have to look far to see some familiar local faces in the film. Many locals were cast as extras while others had scripted parts.

Dan Probst plays character Christian Zurbriggen and Kris Shively plays a male nurse at the hospital. “Both are old high school friends of mine,” Tschanz said.

Kevin Derksen was cast as a doctor and Todd Gutteridge and Bob Morgan were cast as bikers. “I used to jam with Kevin Derksen as we were both local musicians.” Tschanz added.

Rhonda Michaels plays a waitress, Eric Evans a bartender and Jean Hopegood plays young Henry.

Cast and crew living in Vancouver will return to Burns Lake for the premiere event which will also be followed by an after party with live music featuring local band Acoustics Anonymous and possible guest artists. There will be prize give-a ways as well as an opportunity to purchase DVDs, Neutral Territory T-shirts and posters.

The screening of the film will also be followed by a question and answer session.

“The premiere will be a big thank you to the community of Burns Lake that have made this film possible and is responsible for a lot of its success,” Tschanz added.

For more information about Neutral Territory go to www.neutralterritory.net