That's a wrap! After months of filming this is where it all comes together now. The Monarch documentary is officially in post-production with the release planned for Fall 2022.
Jun 12, 2022
May 18, 2022
Apr 21, 2022
Production on the Monarch documentary has been ongoing this month.This week I've been following up on rumors about several artifacts / stories surrounding the Monarch Theatre. I literally examined screw placements on vintage chairs over the weekend lol. I crawled on my hands and knees through a century of basement cobwebs in search of another secret hatch. And, perhaps best of all, yesterday I successfully acquired an untapped collection of images featuring the former neon marquees lit up two decades ago.
Piece by piece we're pulling this thing together. Post-production is on the horizon. Now, how cool would it be if we could invite everyone back and premiere this in the old Monarch?
Apr 9, 2022
This weekend I posed a question on my socials targeted at Medicine Hat, Alberta locals to share their movie memories from the former Towne Theatre. Closed in 2007, this was once the spot to see all of the biggest flicks when they came to the Hat. The responses were excellent.
Production on the documentary briefly moved into the Towne last month to capture some new footage of the abandoned movie theatre. You can expect new interviews, images, and the history of this former landmark theatre to appear in the finished film.
Mar 21, 2022
Mar 16, 2022
Documentary production briefly moved centre stage this week with some exploration of the abandoned spaces within the former Towne Theatre in Medicine Hat, Alberta. Those who remember seeing movies here would now be hard pressed to recognize this interior as the cinema it once was, but there are still a few clues hiding within these walls.
It's a strange feeling to return to a place you so actively remember from your own childhood, not least of which because you find yourself tapping into memories you didn't know you still had. Each step just gets me a little more excited about how this documentary is coming together.
This stage of production has become about rounding out a lot of the specific visuals inspired by the stories collected during numerous interviews at the nearby Monarch Theatre. Creating a record of a lot of these forgotten spaces has been a real bonus.
Mar 11, 2022
Mar 10, 2022
Currently in its second month of principal photography, my latest documentary featuring the Monarch Theatre in Medicine Hat, Alberta has provided some really memorable experiences so far. With hours of interviews shot and a deep dive into every space, cubby, and rafter of this old theatre, I'm already certain that I've uncovered a few untold gems in the story of this cinema that have never been formally documented or contextualized before.
In addition to this being a story about one of the oldest surviving cinemas in all of Canada, what's been particularly interesting about the Monarch is how little material actually exists about it. Photographs, artifacts, records, etc. are few and far between so connecting the dots to go beyond the obvious has been a really involved, but fascinating undertaking.
While I'm saving a lot of the surprises for the finished documentary, I wanted to share a few of the production highlights up to this point:
- Interviews are still ongoing, but a few early highlights have come from acquiring stories from both a 101 year old with a unique connection to the theatre and a 94 year old who used to work at the Monarch as a teenager.
- In addition to the obvious task of documenting the Monarch, the cinematic side of the production has involved playing with various lighting rigs, gimbals, cameras, props, and even painting with projections throughout the cinema.
- As a result I'm certain I've now filmed and photographed more details inside the Monarch Theatre than anyone else in its 110+ year history.
- I'd be remiss if I didn't acknowledge how helpful the social media response has been, in addition to features in the local news, Toronto Star, etc. in helping to connect me with a wide array of people with memories about cinemas in this area.
- Numerous highlights have also come from uncovering clues through old paperwork, basement finds, and mapping out the history of the theatre. What's been so thrilling about this is that I know just the exploratory aspect of this documentary will be compelling to a lot of people who have likely never even heard of this place.
- Speaking to former employees has made me wish I'd have worked at a movie theatre as a teenager too lol.
- And finally, one of the absolute coolest things about shooting this documentary has been the unfettered access I've been given to the Monarch. While it was always going to feature this space, the ability to arrange and film every interview within the cinema, while also coordinating multiple ancillary shoots, has been practically ideal.
If you have any information or memories to share about the Monarch Theatre (or any of the former cinemas in the Medicine Hat area) please contact me via my business site here.
Feb 8, 2022
With interviews for the Monarch Theatre documentary kicking off this month, I'd like to take a moment to introduce you to one of the interviewees - Alice.
Alice will be 95 years old this year. Yesterday I had the privilege of speaking with her about her time working at the Empress and Monarch theatres as a teenager in the early 1940s. From the uniform she wore to first seeing Gone With the Wind, moments like this - capturing memories and untold first hand experiences - are what make documentary filmmaking such a thrill.
Still razor sharp, her memories tap into a time when very little was written about these cinemas. This is what's been so exciting. The process unlocks doors that haven't been opened in decades.
Much more to come about this latest film project.
Jan 31, 2022
The Medicine Hat News story about my new Monarch Theatre documentary was picked up in the Toronto Star today with subsequent features in their partner publications. It's exciting to see this latest project garnering early attention. Read here.
Jan 29, 2022
My thanks to the Medicine Hat News for featuring my latest documentary (currently in production) on the front page of the newspaper this morning. Read here.
What's exciting about getting greenlit to produce a project like this one (with hometown roots) is that you're able to amplify a story for a wide audience that has likely never even heard of this place. The result is something that feels new and untapped, while at the same time inspiring support from those "in the know" who are rooting to see it succeed.
I'm really grateful to everyone who has been reaching out to share so far - this genuinely wouldn't be possible to pull together otherwise. Thank you!
Please don't hesitate to get in touch here.
Jan 20, 2022
As my final announcement of 2021 I shared that my latest documentary proposal had been greenlit with plans to move into production in early 2022. With things continuing to progress I wanted to share a few more updates about what the project is actually about.
Inspired by my love of vintage films and the cinematic experience - specifically, going to the movie theatre - this new documentary is all about cinemas. Highlighting the evolution of the theatre going experience and showcased through the rise and fall of some largely forgotten movie houses, this new documentary tells the story of how the oldest purpose-built cinema in all of Canada ended up (in of all places) my hometown - Medicine Hat, Alberta.
Locals are sure to recognize names like the Monarch, Towne, and Gemini, but what makes this story unique is how much hasn't been widely told - particularly regarding the 110+ year history of a single screen cinema on main street that is actually older than every major Hollywood studio. Perhaps most amazing, it's still here!
There's a lot to unpack, but I'm really excited to bring this story to life in this new feature documentary in the months ahead.
Here's where I could use some help ...
Did you, a family member, or friend ever work at a movie theatre in the Medicine Hat area?
I'd love to connect with anyone who has stories to share about what your time was like at the Monarch, Towne, drive-ins, etc. I'm deep in research these days and have already coordinated with the Friends of the Monarch, local archives, and City - what's missing is you!
If you have any pictures or souvenirs from these venues from over the years it would also be a massive help as (not surprisingly) a lot of these places were not documented. Thank you in advance.
Lots more to come as this ramps up! 🎥😉 Please get in touch if you have anything to share that you think may be of interest. Cheers!
Dec 30, 2021
So, a little news to share ...In the spring of 2021, feeling like I was still spinning my wheels with everything going on, I went into development on some new ideas. I came up with a few concepts, pitched them around, and settled on one that I was really excited about.
I won't drag this news out ... this fall it all came together. Word came back that my latest film proposal received the greenlight!
With the treatment approved, funding secured, and the production agreement signed - I'm happy to finally announce that my next feature documentary project is going into production in 2022.
There will obviously be lots to share as everything unfolds in the months ahead - particularly as production kicks off next month - for now, just let me say how thrilled I am to have the opportunity to dive into an elaborate storytelling experience like this and direct another original project. Details to come.
Happy new year, indeed! 🎥😉🎬👌
Aug 23, 2021
I have social media to thank for reminding me that two years ago this week I completed "that Medalta documentary" called Clay, Creativity & the Comeback. Late 2019 only feels like 5 years ago given the weird time loop we've all been in, but as I'm currently in the middle of finalizing several new contracts it's exciting to look back at a project that by all accounts was a success.
As a quick recap, this doc tells the story of the industrial ruins and abandoned factories of a once booming clay industry in a small prairie city and how a group of volunteers helped to transform the area into a National Historic Site of Canada through efforts that spanned decades.
I think more people have found this documentary in the last year as a result of having more time, but I also attribute it to more house cleaning and organizing. No joke, the number of messages I've received about this documentary because someone found a random piece of pottery that lead to them discovering this film is amazing.
While I really don't have more to say about this project that I haven't already said in previous posts, I'm always happy to recount what a great experience it was and have a reason to share it again. Given the incredible amount of work that went into this and all of the efforts from so many amazing individuals, I will gladly keep promoting it.
The entire documentary is free to view online here.
Aug 8, 2021
Sep 18, 2020
Clay, Creativity & the Comeback is the story of how the factories and abandoned ruins of a once booming industrial clay district were saved from demolition and renewed through the work of artists, volunteers, and a community with a vision.
Shot in my hometown of Medicine Hat, Alberta this was a story that I felt echoed one of the challenges that communities across Canada are continually facing. How do you preserve heritage while also adapting historic sites for renewed purposes? What does that even look like? And who are the people that make these visions a reality?
Clay, Creativity & the Comeback is a documentary that captures the first hand stories of many of the individuals directly involved in this decades long transformation - a transformation that lead a collection of crumbling structures to not just be saved or restored, but to become a National Historic Site of Canada that would welcome artists from around the world.
The entire feature length documentary is FREE to watch and has been posted on Editing Luke. View Clay, Creativity & the Comeback here.
Sep 19, 2019
To be in this old factory, surrounded by many of the people who stepped up to save it, while watching a film I'd worked on for months inside what is now a National Historic Site of Canada - it was an experience I won't soon forget.
I've been truly humbled by the reactions and messages regarding the documentary and am so grateful to everyone who made it possible. Thank you for the incredible night!
Clay, Creativity & the Comeback will be released on the Editing Luke website tomorrow, September 20 for those who missed it.
Sep 16, 2019
See the full article on the Medicine Hat News website here.
The debut screening of Clay, Creativity & the Comeback takes place Wednesday, September 18 at 6pm at Medalta Potteries in Medicine Hat, Alberta. All are welcome. Admission is free.
Jul 15, 2019
All that said, I'm really excited to see this project coming together. This is going to be an interesting story to share about the historic clay district in my hometown of Medicine Hat, Alberta. It's a story that I was personally interested in, one that I hadn't seen told before, and certainly one that you won't find at the Medalta museum.
You'll have to excuse the lack of new photo sets in the meantime - although there are lots of those still in the works too. This new documentary is set to be completed by the end of August.
Jun 12, 2019
Having explored Vancouver several times over, the trip was mostly a comfortable refresh. The real highlight of my time in BC was in flipping through vintage albums and sharing stories over coffee. The interview was a success and I think it'll help play up the novelty of the project. Of course, more on that to come as the documentary moves into editing next month.
I also played around in a Jaguar while in British Columbia - because, why not make a few more memories? As always, I shared a few sneak peeks on the @editingluke Instagram. Be sure to follow for updates on the documentary and to see when these new photo sets go live.