Movie highlights Lloydminster

By Geoff Lee

June 23, 2016 12:00 AM

Lloydminster film director Benjamin Musgrave created a short musical Late Harvest that was filmed in Lloydminster featuring dancers from Studio Encore Dance Centre in town. He hopes to show it at Canadian film festivals this year.

The real estate mantra,  location, location, location came into play for 21 year-old Benjamin Musgrave who directed his first short musical film called Late Harvest in Lloydminster.
Young Musgrave got help with shooting locations last fall from his real estate dad, Scott Musgrave, manager of Royal LePage Musgrave Agencies.
“He was great actually,” said young Musgrave who grew up in Lloydminster.
“Obviously, it’s home based so he could articulate a few things and assist with communications and that kind of stuff.”
He also credits the local Weaver family for allowing him to film on their farmland.
More than 80 per cent of the musical was filmed in and around the countryside of Lloydminster with choreographed dancing by local members of Studio Encore Dance Centre.
Musgrave said the whole inspiration for the film came from listening to music that reminded him of the vast, open fields of wheat, and he decided to create a story around that image.
“In the most basic sense, it’s a story about the generations, a story about family, about the pressures of expectations and about the pursuit to follow one’s own dreams,” said Musgrave.
The 19 minute film including credits, is currently in a mastering house in Vancouver with the goal for a film premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival or TIFF for short.
“We will definitely have a Lloydminster screening for everyone that helped out and that will be sorted out when it comes to it,” said Musgrave from Calgary.
Musgrave produces commercial music videos, which allowed him to self-fund most of the film.
He got the idea for the film after graduating from the Centre for Arts and Technology in Kelowna last March.
His instructor and film producer, Natasha Howes,  said Late Harvest is a launch film for Musgrave’s career.
“This is very much a festival release,” she said, noting the film will be submitted to festivals in cities across Canada including Edmonton and a few in the United States.
As the film producer, Howes was on the set in Lloydminster for the filming and was bowled over by the rural beauty of the area with farm combines in action.
“It was glorious to actually experience the sunrise and sunsets,” she said, adding it wasn’t without its challenges.
“We had a couple of crazy storms that blew in at times as well that we literally had to deconstruct the set in about 10 minutes.”
She said they also used some zoom booms to get elevated shots of dancers in synchronicity in fields of wheat.
“We did that during high winds so it was very challenging at times,” said Howe.
“The footage that we achieved was absolutely incredible.”
The film’s leading lady, Lauren Hjalmarson, also says the film’s setting added so much
to the experience.
“My favourite moment on set was arriving,” she said.
“The scene was more beautiful than I could possibly have imagined.”
The bulk of the singing was performed by Austin Axenty,  from Kelowna.
The short film trailer with music, available at https://www.facebook.com/lateharvestfilm/?fref=ts puts the fall harvest beauty of Lloydminster under a favourable spotlight.
A few of the interior scenes were filmed in sets created inside a private hangar at the Lloydminster airport and few others in a Vancouver studio.
The reaction to the film trailer has been positive.
“We hope that it can generate some sort of excitement,” said Musgrave, who added the reaction from his family has been predictably good.
Alan Griffith, his teacher at Lloydminster Comprehensive High School, also gives his prodigy the thumbs up.
“I am excited to see Late Harvest and from the small bit of footage that I have seen online, it looks stunning,” said Griffith.
“As long as I have known him he has been passionate about film and filmmaking and he produced some very impressive student films while he was a student at LCHS.”
Musgrave said with a musical you can speak to the audience in a more direct sense than you can in a different genre.
“In the most basic sense, I found myself interested in music before I was interested in film musicals,” he said.
While Musgrave waits anxiously for word of a possible film premiere at TIFF, he’s hard at work on his next project.
“Right now, I am working with a writer from L.A. and we’re writing a feature film that we can put together so that when we tour with the short, we can give them a package to invest in a feature film,” he said.

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