Imagine your plane crashed on the top of a mountain. You wake up freezing, in white-out conditions. Once you rally other survivors, you hear a howl and realize your not alone. Hopefully Liam Neeson is with you, then you might have a chance.
The Grey, the second major motion picture to be filmed in Smithers, had a special pre-screening last Wednesday night that saw hundreds pack into Roi one to watch a chilling tail of survival.
The premiere kicked off in style with a silent auction, hosted by the Northwest Animal Shelter, and a gala to celebrate Smithers’ contributions to the film. As the excited audience made it to their seats, a special surprise was brewing. Just as the film was about to start, Clint Fraser, marketing director for Northern BC Tourism, opened up Skype on the big screen so director Joe Carnahan could thank everyone who worked on the film.
It was an unexpected send off for the premiere, that had everyone excited not only because of the theatrics of a Hollywood film, but because so many people helped make this movie possible.
People like Kristena Willing, who was there right from the start.
“It was awesome!” Willing said. “What I really liked about it was that it wasn’t one of these fabricated, Hollywood, you know what’s going to happen at the end, films.”
Not only did Willing’s sister, brother and son have credits in the film, Willing herself was an extra in the opening bar scene as well as her niece. Seeing the project come full circle for Willing was just part of a once in a lifetime experience. “What was really neat, was because there were so many extras from Smithers, the opening scene is the bar scene so of course the first time we watch it, we’re scanning for faces. That’s one of the highlights being at the premiere for me.”
For films like the Grey, dark tails of survival in the most inhospitable conditions on earth, Northern BC offers some of the best locations and now with two motion pictures under the belt, Smithers is sure getting a lot of publicity.
“This is the second time for a lot of these guys in Smithers now. We’re talking world class productions and now that they have been here twice, we’re getting indications they’re looking for a third and fourth project.” Fraser said.
The Grey has been receiving solid reviews in it’s first week in theaters. And with Neeson and Dermot Mulroney interviews on Jimmy Kimmel Live and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, talking about “sub-artic conditions”, it’s safe to say Smithers is definitely on the map.
“I think this is really going to do a lot for us from a [filming] respect. I think we’re going to see a lot of benefits from the profile that Smithers is gaining in the media, over the long-term for sure.”