Homegrown talent working to put Edmonton on the movie map

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Homegrown talent working to put Edmonton on the movie map
WATCH ABOVE: A group of Edmontionians is dreaming big, hoping to bring the bright lights of Hollywood right to our backyard. Community reporter Morgan Black has more on the homegrown talent trying to put Edmonton on the map – May 25, 2020

The video depicting three friends fighting for the bill is light-hearted and fun, but the goal behind it is serious business.

The creators of the short film “Battle for the Bill” hopes it attracts the bright light of Hollywood to Edmonton.

“We wanted to create a piece that showcased the Edmonton film community,” director Arthur Mah said. “We don’t have quite the same infrastructure as Vancouver or Toronto, but there are still amazing people here within our city.”

A scene from Battle for the Bill. Courtesy: Raoul Bhatt

Edmonton stunt performers, cinematographers, editors and directors came together to create the piece.

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“We have quite a few talented people here. The resources are here. We can make cool looking films,” said Mah. “We want to be able to take this to different broadcasters, pitch different series and take it to all of these people.”

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The video is certainly grabbing some attention, boasting more than 10,000 organic views in two days.

“The attention has been awesome,” said Mah. “It’s a big win. Everyone is just thirsty for content so the online space is very competitive.”

Mah said he hopes he can help promote local talent, stunt group 3 Takes or Less* and the film’s cinematographer Raoul Bhatt.

Behind the scenes of Battle for the Bill. Courtesy: Raoul Bhatt

“I’d like Alberta to be considered a place where work can be outsourced. Right now, you get one or two big features that come into the province and create jobs. We need to create more awareness about filmmakers in Alberta,” said Mah.

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Martin Cochingco said the biggest barrier for Edmonton talent is visibility.

“You don’t have to fly out talent from L.A. or Toronto and Vancouver. The talent is right here in your backyard,” said Cochingco, who has worked in Vancouver and Toronto. “We want to be recognized in the industry. We want Edmonton to be a hub that we can work from.”

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Bhatt, who has been making short films for the past 20 years, recently signed on to work on a production for Netflix.

“I just got notice two days ago. It’s one of very few being produced in Alberta. There’s ‘Heartland’ and there’s my production,” said Bhatt. “It took me a full day to process what was happening.”

Bhatt said his production will focus on Alberta’s oil and gas workers and the changing economy.

“Edmonton has all the parts. Edmonton has everything,” said Bhatt. “We just have to believe in ourselves.”

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