Fort Langley is known as one of the most ideal settings in B.C. for filming movies. Countless films have shown the fort, the community hall, and the countryside around the historic village.
Whatâ€™s not as well known is that Langley is producing a growing number of people destined for film careers.
Two actors have landed plum parts in Suspension, a psychological drama.
Itâ€™s thanks to a Langley Fine Arts School graduate that Suspension is being filmed in Langley and Fort Langley in the first place. Jeffrey Lando, a director, producer and cinematographer, had wanted to shoot Suspension in Los Angeles, but Sage Brocklebank convinced him to choose Langley.
Brocklebank, Suspensionâ€™s producer, knows Langley well.
One of the leads in Suspension, Langley’s Rustin Gresiuk, 19, plays Frank.
The LFAS student is Annie Bellis. She plays mean girl Brenda.
Gresiuk has landed a dream role, although heâ€™s sworn to secrecy over his character. He is hugely impressed by Landoâ€™s directorial expertise, helping actors get inside their characterâ€™s personna. That is plainly evident when you see the two go over a scene, frame by frame.
â€œHe is amazing, unreal,â€ Gresiuk said of Lando. â€œHeâ€™s a very good director, very experienced, and he works well with the cast. He shows you exactly what he wants you to do in each frame.â€
In an interview on a recent cold, Friday night on location at a south Langley property, Gresiuk spoke fondly of his Langley roots: He was a student at Belmont Elementary, and was also homeschooled. Somewhere in between school and family life, he managed to play in the Langley Minor Hockey organization.
Gresiuk began acting at the age of 12, and thanks to his mom who managed to have him signed by an agency, Gresiukâ€™s credits already include a role in Flickr 3, and the TV series Fringe, which was filmed in Vancouver.
He auditioned for the role of Frank in Suspension at the beginning of March, and within a couple of weeks, the cameras were rolling and Gresiuk assumed the role of Frank.
Itâ€™s clear that he is completely at ease in front of the camera. Heâ€™s equally relaxed (and utterly charming) in an interview that takes place just before he goes on to his next scene, a house party. Despite his young age, Gresiuk is aware that for all the triumphs, there are many, many more disappointments. And he knows that rejection is all part of the working life of an actor.
â€œIn this industry, you need to love what you do,â€ he said.
â€œYou get thousands of Noâ€™s and that builds character, and Iâ€™m learning to take those Noâ€™s to become a better actor. I want to succeed in this industry and do better work on camera,â€ said Gresiuk, who works with a private acting coach.
Kevin Mosley, who is the screenwriter and production designer, said the cast and crew are having a good time working in Langley. â€œWe are having such a blast here. Itâ€™s so much fun,â€ he said.
He and Lando had been trying to make the movie for about 10 years. They collaborated on Savage Island, their first independent horror film which did quite well, picking up seven awards in the US and Europe.
In 2004, Lando was about to start shooting Suspension, â€œbut we had to pull the plug the day before because we lost our lead actress,â€ Mosley said.
Lando went on to make more movies for sci-fi channels in the US.
In November, things began to roll with Suspension, which had a working title of Sitterâ€™s Night.
â€œ As the script evolved, we found that the script didnâ€™t fit [the title] so we changed it to Suspension,â€ he said, adding that he made 28 drafts of the script before he was completely happy.
The project was given that name â€œbecause itâ€™s about suspension of belief, suspension of reality,â€ Mosley said, revealing that it has a psychological aspect to the horror, making it a cross between Carrie and Halloween.
â€œThis is independent film making at its best,â€ he said. â€œEveryone is loving it and making sure itâ€™s the best.â€
Whether the movie will be shown on television or in cinemas isnâ€™t yet known.
â€œOur goal is for a feature film,â€ Mosley said. Heâ€™s planning for a showing at the Toronto International Film Festivalâ€™s Midnight Madness which highlights horror movies.