Crew celebrates Canada’s first post-pandemic production
Kelowna, BC – Kelowna actress Shanelle Connell makes her debut in the upcoming release of the TV movie A Wedding to Remember, filmed onsite in the Okanagan Valley by Reel One Entertainment — and Canada’s first production to film under new strict Covid protocols.
“It was an honour to be a part of one of the first productions to start up after Covid,” says Connell who recently signed with the Kelowna-based BookIt Talent Agency. “Acting has been my dream since I was young, so witnessing everyone working together to keep all of our ‘Hollywood’ dreams alive was really special.”
West Kelowna locals were caught up in the movie excitement this summer as TV crews set-up production at the Cove Lakeside Resort on the shores of Gellatly Bay on Okanagan Lake.
“We look forward to seeing this romantic movie of the week that was filmed entirely in our beautiful Okanagan region,” says casting director Angela Quinn, “Many local actors and background performers will be excited to see themselves on TV.”
The lakeside resort not only offered a stunning backdrop for the movie wedding, but a safe refuge for the production crew as the Okanagan film industry became a model for movie-making in the post-pandemic world.
“We worked with Work Safe BC to create protocols for the industry, and the Okanagan became the first region in Canada ‘to go to camera’ during Covid,” says Okanagan Film Commissioner Jon Summerland. Newly hired health and safety organizers facilitated personal protective equipment and sterilized the set before and after crew members arrived for shooting.
The romance-comedy, a made-for-TV movie, casts Connell as Frankie, who offers some best-friend advice to star Cristina Rosato (Olivia Owens), and Calgary-born actor Greyston Holt as Brain Wolf, Olivia’s love interest. Directed by David Strasser, the comedic romance finds Olivia and Brian on opposite sides of a development project. They have to put their feelings aside to save their best friends’ wedding.
Connell is joined by local BookIT Talent actress, Sharon Estephan, who plays the hotel concierge — showing how much opportunity is in the valley for our local actors.
The Okanagan Film Commission estimates the economic impact of film production in the Okanagan to be upwards of $35 million this year, which will surpass previous years.