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Locally-shot film hits mobile big screen

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When Geoff Archambault and Curtis Wyatt were looking to screen an outdoor movie in Transcona, picking a film wasn’t all that difficult.

On Aug. 15, Archambault, a Century 21 realtor who partners with wife Regan, and Wyatt of Wyatt Dowling Insurance Brokers, showed the 2011 movie Beethoven’s Christmas Adventure, the bulk of which was shot in the neighbourhood. Families brought lawn chairs and filled Transcona Centennial Square to come see the movie. Attendees also enjoyed free popcorn and candy canes.

"We were thinking about what movie to show, and Beethoven’s Christmas (Adventure), it’s a perfect fit," Archambault said. "It’s a Christmas movie in August, but looking at the crowd, it’s the right movie."

The film is the latest in a long line of sequels telling the story of a heroic St. Bernard who must help recover Santa’s bag of toys after it finds its way into the hands of crooks.

Two local residents got the opportunity to look for themselves on the big screen. Siblings Ben and Jolene Galagan worked as extras on the movie for a day, and were looking forward to re-watching the movie to try to spot themselves.

The pair was on-set for one day to film a tobogganing scene at a local snow hill.

Jolene, 10, said she was looking forward to trying to find the scene during the movie.

"I’ll be excited," she said, noting her best friend, parents, and grandparents were in attendance to watch the movie as well.

Ben, 14, said while the extra experience can be tedious — the actors spent much of the day huddled in a room — it was worthwhile in the end.

"It’s a pretty good thing, being an extra, because you make pretty good money," he said.

Meanwhile, NVR Construction project co-ordinator Rick Purling also got a little taste of Hollywood. The company was getting set to move into its second-floor offices at 119 Regent Ave. W. when it was approached by the filmmakers. The company agreed to let the space, which rests above L’Arche Tova Café, be transformed into a toy store for approximately two weeks.

"It was a good way for us to help out in Transcona," said Purling, who hadn’t seen the movie but noted his daughters had. "It’ll be interesting to see our building on the big screen."

The free movie screenings have been taking place across Winnipeg for the past three summers. The screen was a rental for the first year, but the Archambaults decided to purchase one after that. They’ve held eight screenings so far this year.

Archambault said though they’ve attempted to bring movies to those who have asked for them at no charge up to this point, next year they will ask for a donation to the Rotary Club of Winnipeg East A.M.

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