Theater Sarnia Goes Into Cinema With Holiday Feature


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The Imperial Theater is set to screen its Pandemic Project feature film for an in-person audience.

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Step Into Christmas, filmed last year and premiered online in December 2020 when the downtown Sarnia venue was closed to the public due to pandemic restrictions, will screen at the Imperial Theater on December 18 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 pm Tickets are $ 5 and available online at www.imperialtheater.net.

“That’s about all we could do in the movies, back then,” said Ian Alexander who makes promotional videos for the theater and was the co-director, co-writer and one of his. producers.

“We were definitely still closed,” he said.

The idea of ​​recording a show without an audience and selling tickets for the live broadcast emerged in the fall of 2020 as a possible way to generate income before the theater began to see the success of its 50- draws. 50 online, said Alexander.

“I had a camera and I’m used to filming stuff in the theater, so we just tried to figure out what we could do,” he said.

“It was cold outside so we couldn’t really do any outdoor shows, so we were like, ‘Let’s do a cabaret series for Christmas.’

But Alexander said they got ambitious and made up a story to go along with certain musical numbers “and it became a full-fledged Home Alone-inspired Christmas movie.”

The story tells the story of a little girl named Faye who feels sad because the theater is closed, so she runs away from her home, bursts into the hall, walks through the building and brings a dozen of them to life. songs with his imagination, said Alexander.

“We did the impossible,” he said of the filming, which lasts about an hour and 15 minutes.

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“We did it all in six weeks, which is a lot for a small crew and a full-fledged feature,” Alexander said.

After filming the musical numbers and other scenes with the members of Theater Sarnia, Alexander edited the film over nine days to be ready for its online release last December. “Which is crazy,” he added.

There were limits on how many people could be in the theater at a time, but they worked within social distancing rules by launching families, including young lead actress Faye Colborne, as well as her parents, Tia and Andrew, and her sister Molly.

There were scenes where actors having a conversation were shot one actor at a time and then edited together so that the filmmakers could follow public health rules at the time.

They were long days “but we had nothing else to do,” Alexander said of the hours the team put into the project.

He said they believed that even if the film didn’t raise a large sum of money, “it would lift our spirits and let our theater community know that we were still there and that we would do whatever we could, to this stage “.

Last year’s online release had more than 500 streams, Alexander said.

“It was definitely a weird process not being able to watch it with people,” he said.

It will be interesting on December 18 “to actually be in the theater to hear some laughs and reactions,” Alexander said.

Brian Austin Jr., was the film’s executive producer, co-director and choreographer Jackie Burns, and Brent Wilkinson the co-writer. They were all also producers, with Catherine Soullière.

“Honestly, this is one of my proudest works,” Alexander said of the finished product.

“You can really see the love we put into it and the time we spend on it.”

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