“Maddie” (Melanie Rose Wilson) enjoys a serene moment in the upcoming Telefilm Talent to Watch feature film, All-in Madonna, written, directed and produced by Susie Winters, Arnold Lim and Ana de Lara, respectively, and executive producer Robin Chan. (Photo courtesy of Blue Lake Films Ltd.)

Black Press videographer leads Island-made film

Local filmmakers, writer partner for feature film

As the year comes to a close, so does the work of an all-Island crew and cast as they shoot the final pieces for the feature film All-In Madonna.

Hoped to be released by the spring of 2020, All-In Madonna is the story of 17-year-old Maddie growing up in the fictional Vancouver Island town of Blue Lake. Having been home-schooled, Maddie enrolls in public school for the first time. There she discovers dark secrets about her father and Maddie now has to reconcile the father she knew with the person he is.

Director Arnold Lim (centre) on set for Telefilm Talent to Watch feature film, All-In Madonna.
(Photo courtesy of Blue Lake Films Ltd.)

The script was written by University of Victoria graduate Susie Winters and this feature film is four years in the making. It started when Arnold Lim, executive producer of the Black Press Media Video Network, partnered with Winters and producer Ana de Lara and earned one of the last grants from BravoFact (worth $32,500) to create a short film of All-In Madonna.

READ MORE: CineVic contest pairs filmmakers with local musicians

The team then used that 2018 short film as proof of concept and submitted it to win one of 38 feature film grants from the Telefilm Canada Talent Fund worth $125,000, and a B.C. Arts Council grant of $25,000. It’s this, plus donations and sponsorships that are helping de Lara, Lim and another producer, Robin Chan, bring All-In Madonna to completion, de Lara said.

“Cast and crew work on a fair deal agreement where everyone gets $100 per day,” said de Lara, a longtime member of the Victoria scene and who is also a comedian turned actor and writing teacher. “We do get grants to make the projects but they’re small compared to what the actual cost is of the project.”

The movie is entirely shot on the south Island and all cast and crew are Island-based except for one actor from Vancouver.

As members of the “small Victoria independent-film community” De Lara and Lim have combined on several shorts but this is their first feature-length film.

“It’s just not a big community so we’ve supported each other on each’s projects,” de Lara said.

It’s part of a third-calling for Lim, who found his second-calling when he moved into photojournalism 12 years ago after a career as a restaurateur. Lim is a regular photographer at the Olympic Games, will shoot the Tokyo Games in 2020, and is a winner of numerous Canadian Community Newspaper and Ma Murray (B.C.) awards.

While reporting for the Victoria News in 2011, Lim wrote a piece on the CineVic Reel-to-Reel music video contest. Before the contest closed, Lim signed up to create an entry with the band Step Back Dave. The video was judged as the audience favourite by the 2011 jury.

“I thought about the contest but I got busy, and when I filed the preview story, CineVic told me all the available artist songs were already chosen. But I called back anyways and was told, ‘actually there is one video left.’”

So Lim entered that contest, won the audience favourite prize, created contacts with CineVic, and opened doors to more.

“I had grown up more as a documentarian, and through that, then with Reel-to-Reel I got a taste for narrative which I’m really passionate about,” Lim said.

READ ALSO: Black Press videographer wins TeleFilm grant to direct full-length feature

Lim is the director of All-In Madonna. The team has completed principal photography and is awaiting one cast member to re-grow his beard so they can complete the “pick-up shoots” before the year ends.

After that, it’s a matter of getting the film into the festival circuit. Otherwise, getting eyeballs on Canadian independent features is challenging, Lim said.

Once this movie is complete, Lim and de Lara will soon turn there focus to a web-based comedy series they’ve partnered on called Best Friend Me, a comedy about depression and self-compassion.

reporter@oakbaynews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Migration drives Greater Victoria’s population growth

Region surpasses 400,000 population despite seeing more deaths than births

Recent arrests skim surface of Victoria’s human trafficking problem

Port city makes desirable place for traffickers flying under the radar

Two-vehicle crash in Langford sends one to hospital Monday morning

Driver sent to hospital with unspecified injuries

Victoria Canadian Forces member honored with exceptional Rotary Club award

Capt. Jacqueline Zweng is the Western Canada Ambassador of Wounded Warriors Canada

Oak Bay athletes rule the slopes at Island ski and snowboard series

Oak Bay boys take top ski, snowboard honours

VIDEO: Ottawa wants quick, peaceful resolution to pipeline protests, Trudeau says

The protests have manifested themselves as blockades on different rail lines across the country

Canucks acquire forward Tyler Toffoli from Kings in push for playoffs

Vancouver sends Schaller, Madden, pick to L.A.

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

Wet’suwet’en and B.C. government have been talking Aboriginal title for a year

Coastal GasLink says it has agreements with all 20 elected First Nations councils along the 670-kilometre route

Trudeau tightlipped on plan to end protests ‘quickly and peacefully’

The prime minister, who cancelled a two-day trip to Barbados this week to deal with the crisis at home

Canadian standards for coronavirus protection to be reviewed, health agency says

The protocols set out how health workers should protect themselves and their patients

Monday marks one-year anniversary of man missing from Langley

42-year-old B.C. man, Searl Smith, was last seen leaving Langley Memorial Hospital on Feb. 17, 2019

Amtrak warns of delays as railways from Seattle to B.C. blocked by Wet’suwet’en supporters

Coastal GasLink said it’s signed benefits agreements with all 20 elected band councils along pipeline route

Federal emergency group meets on pipeline protests as rail blockades continue

There’s mounting political pressure for Trudeau to put an end to the blockades

Most Read