Okaloosa County is serving as a backdrop for “The Maple Leaf Murders,” a short film by local independent filmmaker Nick Smith, who is making his first foray into comedy.
By Jim Thompson | 315-4445 | @Jimtnwfdn | email@example.com
FORT WALTON BEACH — Okaloosa County is serving as a backdrop for “The Maple Leaf Murders,” a short film by local independent filmmaker Nick Smith, who is making his first foray into comedy.
Most of the film is being shot Saturday and Sunday, with a full day of filming set for Saturday at Fort Walton Beach Bowl on Beal Parkway. Other weekend shooting locations include Okaloosa Island and a private dock in Shalimar, Smith said.
“I’m trying to show some of the local attractions,” said Smith, a resident of Fort Walton Beach transplanted from Miami.
After this weekend’s main filming has concluded, Smith and some of the stars of “The Maple Leaf Murders” likely will be seen around town in the ensuing days shooting some individual scenes, he said.
The film centers on two Canadian “hit men” who are sent to Northwest Florida “to take care of a couple of troublemakers,” Smith said.
The two Canadians, played by Pensacola-area actors Trent Dill and Jonathan McIntosh, are excessively polite, creating bemusement among the people they meet as they carry out their murderous mission, Smith said.
Smith is billing the film as a “comedy of manners,” a satirical look at the affectations of different social classes.
The cast of “The Maple Leaf Murders” comes entirely from Northwest Florida after a casting call several weeks ago at the Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce.
“We didn’t really get a lot of people, but we got quality people,” Smith said.
Like the actors, the film crew comes from the immediate area.
“We have a great filmmaking community here,” said Smith, who added that “a lot of local businesses have been very supportive.”
“The Maple Leaf Murders” is scheduled for completion early next year. Smith, who also has a “day job” with ResortQuest, plans to use the holiday season to edit the film.
He’d like to premiere the film somewhere locally, Smith said, in conjunction with other locally produced short films.
When completed, “The Maple Leaf Murders” will run somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 minutes. That’s the optimum length for getting “The Maple Leaf Murders” into film festivals, where his work and the work of the actors and crew can be seen by knowledgeable audiences, Smith explained.
After making the rounds of local and national film festivals, “The Maple Leaf Murders” likely will go into the digital marketplace — on video discs and online, Smtih said.
“The Maple Leaf Murders” is something of a departure for Smith, a native of England whose work as a director, producer, actor and cinematographer has focused largely on more serious cinematic enterprises, including documentaries, action and horror movies. His credits include “Bagpipes of Caledonia,” a history of the bagpipe, “All for Liberty,” a feature film set during the Revolutionary War and “The Fixer,” a 2017 TV series.
“I’m trying to stretch myself,” Smith said.
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