Qualicum-based actor Dean Wray took on the role of producer for his latest film Down Here

Qualicum actor Dean Wray produces indy film

Down Here, a dark film with a social message, celebrated theatrical release after being picked up by Canadian and American distributors

Dean Wray’s film career may span over two decades, but he recently celebrated another first.

Last month, the long-time Qualicum Beach resident and his colleagues were in Vancouver for the theatrical release of his first film Down Here.

“I’m pretty proud of it,” said Wray, who was the star, co-writer and first-time executive producer of the film. “It’s been something I’ve been building toward.”

Down Here is a feature-length film set on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside that tells the story of an alcoholic detective who struggles with inner demons while searching to find a murderer targeting street workers.

However, as the detective’s life continues to unravel, and the lines between his professional life and addiction start to blur, he finds solace—and the opportunity for redemption—within the fragile community he is trying to protect.

Blending elements of a crime thriller and a contemporary social drama, Wray described Down Here as having documentary-like realism and grit with a social message.

“It’s pretty raw … but we don’t overplay that,” he said.

Yet despite the weight of the film, Down Here was shot in only 13 days.

“I got a champagne movie on a beer budget,” said the executive producer.

Wray placed a lot of praise on the Down Here team for this feat. Some of the main creative players for the film included director, writer, producer and supporting actor Teach Grant; fellow executive producer and Wray’s sister Shawna Wray; and producer Crystal Braunwarth.

According to a news release for the film, the cast was mostly filled with people Wray and Grant had worked with over the years.

“We’ve both carved out a pretty long path over the years in front of the camera and so each of us had a bank of tremendous talent to pull from,” said Grant in the release.

They also made a successful cold-call to actress Tantoo Cardinal, who is a Member of the Order of Canada for her contributions to the growth and development of Aboriginal performing arts.

Another major presence in the film was the Downtown Eastside itself.

“The cinematography is just beautiful,” said Wray.

“The locations were an important landscape for us to get right,” said Braunwrath in the aforementioned release

Braunwrath said it took about a month to scout out the Downtown areas alone.

“(We) really tried to dig in to the nooks and crannies that are seldom seen by even long time Vancouverites,” she said. “It was a real joy to get acquainted with this part of the city.”

Yet despite all this hard work, Wray said he was surprised at how hard it was to bring the film to a larger audience. As an indy film, Down Here had to first make its rounds at film festivals. It was an official selection for the 2013 Whistler Film Festival and even earned an award of excellence at the Canada Film Festival in 2014.

Only recently, however, did Canada’s Capital Motion Picture Group and the US’s Devolver Digital pick up the national and international distribution rights to the film.

It was at that point when Wray and the rest of the Down Here team finally got to have their big premiere at the Rio in Vancouver, an event that they turned into a fundraiser for the street youth charity Covenant House.

If you’d like to see Down Home, it is available digitally through iTunes, Vimeo and Google Play. You can also contact Capital Motion Picture Group for a DVD copy.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

PQBeat Podcast: Pro hockey goalie Connor LaCouvee of Qualicum Beach

Listen: Netminder talks BCHL, college, pros and training during a pandemic

Petition underway to get RDN to improve Sandpiper water quality

Campaign urges regional district to make issue a priority

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

COVID-19: Some gyms re-open in Parksville Qualicum Beach

Fitness facilities create space to allow appropriate social distancing

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Commercial rent relief applications open as feds encourage landlords to apply

Program would see government cover 50 per cent of the rent

COVID-19: B.C. park reservations surge as campgrounds reopen

Keep trying, many sites not reservable, George Heyman says

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

B.C. residents can now reserve a provincial campsite for a stay starting June 1

Campsite reservations will only be available to British Columbians

Cullen commission into money laundering in British Columbia resumes today

Inquiry was called amid growing concern that illegal cash was helping fuel real estate, luxury car and gambling

Bike shops busier than ever, but owners worry about stock supply issues

Uptick in cyclists brings new challenges for shops

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

Most Read