A Hamilton filmmaker who says he sort of stumbled into making a sci-fi thriller has had it picked up by an online network that would do J.R.R. Tolkien proud.
The Fantasy Network has picked up “Hell or Tide Water,” which was made by Scott Newman, a former CBC editor and Global TV documentary worker.
The Seattle-based network, launched in 2018, is a privately-owned independent film and TV distribution company for the fantasy genre. It has been called a global hub for independent fantasy films and series. The movie was made available Dec. 13.https://player.vimeo.com/video/332735354
“I was kind of looking at Crave or Netflix but this just seems to fit,” said Newman, 44. “It’s going to be big. They have a crowdfunding aspect to the site. They are looking at series, I think it’s perfect.”
He describes his independently-financed movie, which has no big stars but features local talent, as a cross between “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “Under Siege” and “The Hunt for Red October.”
The plot is about a Norwegian energy company bringing oil through a British Columbia fjord in a giant submarine. There’s spies, action scenes, time travel and killer robots. The tag line on the movie poster says “Spirits Run Deep.”
The film was worked on by Amin Taghipour, a special effects technician from Iran who worked on such films as “Blade Runner 2049.”
“It was amazing,” said Newman. “I just bumped into him in Toronto. He was unemployed.”
Left to right: Actors Tony Bifano, Victor Bohm, Julia Kollek, Richard Newsome, and gaffer Jordan Heguy.SCOTT NEWMAN
The film was shot over 20 days in the summer of 2019 and Newman said it took him six months to edit. He filmed it at a welding firm on Frid Street — owned by his business partner Victor Bohm, who has a role in the movie — as well as on the Burlington Bay, at the Binbrook Conservation Area and at Digital Canaries Film Studios, which has more than 50 film sets at its Burlington Street East location.
Newman was inspired to write and make the movie after a visit to Chedoke Hospital to see its soon-to-be demolished buildings, medical machines and boiler rooms. It made him think of submarines and some of his favourite movies like “Ice Station Zebra.”
“I didn’t intend to make a movie,” said Newman. “I intended to do something safer, but, obviously, art is dangerous.”
Actor Victor Bohm provided an electrifying performance. SCOTT NEWMAN
His movie has been shown on CHCH-TV twice this year. There is a two-and-a-half hour version — which Newman calls his “director’s cut” — and a 90-minute version.
Newman attended Mountview Public School and Hill Park Secondary School. He took drama and English for one year at McMaster University and then graduated in 2001 from the media arts program at Sheridan College in Oakville.
He worked as a continuity editor on “The Red Green Show” and “Train 48” before he landed at the CBC and worked as an editor with such people as Peter Mansbridge and Wendy Mesley.
Newman is thinking about a sequel to “Hell or Tide Water.”
“The time travel at the end of the first film gives me lots of options,” he said. “I’m thinking of setting the next one 150 years in the future, so look out for more sci-fi, industrial espionage and, of course, killer robots.”