Durham Region Film Festival hosts Docville

Photo by James Jackson

Docville film crew show a actress her lines before her performance.

Docville hosted a spaghetti western movie shoot September 17…only without actors.

Docville is a movie set north of Newcastle. It was backed by the Durham Region Film festival. They invited anyone to come in and act on screen in a short movie. The Docville set contains a main street, complete with saloon, stables, and jail house. Hollywoodland, American Lawmen, and the adventures of Spaghetti cowboy have all been filmed there, as well as many music videos.

This is the second year the Durham Region Film Festival has hosted the Docville shoot. Dozens of people came this year to Docville to take part in the movie in a day shoot. The actors on this weekend were people who just walked on set. The film crew and editors where students from Durham College and UOIT.

The script was written days before hand, though few read it. Que cards were made up to allow the “actors” to read their lines. Durham Improv was there to help the “actors” with their acting and to get them comfortable enough to act on camera. The “actors” moved from set to set to and where encouraged to jump in wherever they wanted.

The shooting took place over three hours. There was a constant rotation of actors playing different roles. Gender or age didn’t matter. Each character could be played by any actor.

Stephen ‘Doc’ Holiday is the owner of Docville.  Holliday said “this is the only film festival that offers a hand on approach.” The visitors could watch the movie being filmed and edited live.

After the three hours of filming, a team of editors took what was recorded and spent 4 hours editing it down to 5 minutes. During the editing process, the Durham Improv group ran acting and improv workshops for those in attendance. They taught people how to get into the acting business and how to get a role.

Greg Murphy is the dean of the School of Media, Art and Design at Durham College. He’s also a board member of the Durham Region Film Festival.  He said “ it was a lot of fun. And if you look at the videos that were done and the photos that were done you can really see that people are having a great time with it”

The Docville shoot is planned again for next year at the third annual Durham Region Film Festival.