Last summer Sees Far Pictures visited Grand Forks scouting locations for their upcoming film and fell in love with the area. In August, rural Grand Forks will become Alpha Centauri – Alpha II planet, home to the Kyontawa tribe and downtown Grand Forks will star as itself. Writer, director and co-producer H. Scott Hughes will be bringing his crew of 25 to town to create the adventure / sci-fi flick Megami, and you have the opportunity to adopt an actor or crew member!
While the title has been changed since they visited last year from Food for the Gods II: Aftermath to Megami: Legacy for the Gods, Hughes says the plot is the same. “The storyline is essentially the same but the title has been changed,” says Hughes. “It still has that ‘For the Gods’ acknowledgement, but it’s got, I guess, a cooler title!” Megami means “goddess” in Japanese.
Plans for filming this summer are in a two week window with some shooting and rehearsals to be done in Vancouver before the cast arrives in Grand Forks. They’re hoping to be on location sometime between Aug. 22 through Sept. 4 for three to five days.
“We’re not planning to shoot the entire film, we’re going to shoot a series of scenes from the film to set up as teasers and trailers to garner additional support for doing the complete movie which we hope to have done within a year,” explains Hughes.
The cast list continues to grow with seasoned actors interested in doing the show. Yvette Lu, also co-producer of the film, returns in her role as Sheenyana, the protagonist of the film. Also returning is Beverly Wu, and Tomoko Hanawa rounds out the leading ladies for the film. Wu, is reprising her role as Princess Xionko, as well as Stephen M.D. Chang playing the film's primary villain, Kanukami. In addition to Lu and Wu, most of the original cast is returning, including Danny Dorosh, Taka Hiro, Yuki Morita, and Tara Pratt (who will be playing a dual role, reprising her role of Dr. Denise Hanson from the previous film, and a new character, twin sister, Dr. Theresa Hanson.) A number of new cast members including a role for Giovannie “Pico” Espiritu, best known to TV audiences as medical intern Ludlow on NBC’s ER, Caroline Chan, and Grace Chin who plays Major Hinoki will be joining the crew.
Hughes says the film will have more of an action-oriented plot compared to the more romance-driven plot from the first film. Chang along with Dorosh will be training the actresses in sword fighting for the battle scenes. The film’s production team includes Lu, Hughes and local film producer Nik Green who also participated in the original film.
“We’re not a big studio, we’re not MGM or Bridge, we’re a very small indie company basically working out of our pockets,” says Hughes. “What we need is whatever we can get in terms of material support – food is huge. To feed our cast and crew on set, coffee, water, blankets to keep people protected from the elements – some of the ladies will not be wearing a lot! Tents or gazebo even would be helpful for makeup or for actors to have a break.”
Hughes is hoping that the community will support the show which will give Grand Forks international exposure in a very positive light. One of the scenes calls for a helicopter that will land in downtown Grand Forks to shoot a scene with Major Hinoki. The helicopter will also be used for some dramatic action shots of actors on horseback or other interesting shots.
“The helicopter will land in town in which Grace Chin would get out and that’s the opportunity to see local businesses,” says Hughes. “She might even stop into a coffee shop or restaurant in which she exchanges dialogue with several people inside. Anybody who provides us with food and beverage or lodging and can help us cut down on personal expenses, then of course we’re happy to give them a little free publicity.”
Not only will donors be recognized throughout the filming, they will be mentioned in the film’s credits, or even business names can be mentioned in dialogue. There are lots of opportunities for credit, says Hughes. Adopting an actor or a crew member will save the production team in this first session of filming and help provide some economic development for the area.
“I don’t want to give anyone the false hope this will be a big Stephen Spielberg production, but there’s a possibility that we can sell this and it will be very successful,” says Hughes. “The beauty of it is that nobody has to make any great investment to potentially get some rewards from it down the road. The first film, Food for the Gods has gotten a fair bit of notice, much beyond what I ever expected. If this becomes a series, which is the ultimate goal, people are going to say ‘what’s this Grand Forks, maybe I’d like to go there.’ Even if it ends up as a series of free webisodes, that’s free advertising for everybody!”
Along with the material needs like carpentry, helicopters, food and lodging, Hughes is looking for extras and horses. To be from Alpha Centauri though you must be of Asian or First Nations descent. But there will be some need for extras of all ethnicities for the scenes in town too. An Asian female horse rider is critical to some of the action shots planned this summer.
Sound like you? Interested in helping out? Contact producer Nik Green at: email@example.com or Scott Hughes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Food for the Gods
Food for the Gods, originally a project by Hughes and Lu for the Vancouver Film School, premiered on Canadian cable, Shaw Multicultural Channel, Sunday, May 25, 2008, as part of SMC's and ExplorASIAN's (a Vancouver-based Asian heritage organization) salute to Canada's Asian Heritage Month, which takes place each May. It went on to win the Official Selection of the 2008 New Asia Film Festival in Richmond, British Columbia, an Official Selection of the 2008 Route 66 Film Festival in Springfield, Illinois, and an Official Selection of the Vancouver Asian Film Festival in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia on Nov. 8, 2008.
Although it takes place in an otherworldly setting, the film is rich in Asian themes, including a backstory referencing prehistoric Japan, and a fictional subtitled language that is loosely derived from Japanese and other Asian language influences.
It was popular among festival judges at the Route 66 Film Festival for its poignant beauty and musical score, co-composed by the film's director, H. Scott Hughes, and the film's star and postproduction producer, Yvette Lu.
The soundtrack features actress and singers Yvette Lu and Beverly Wu, singing in the Kyontawa language, accompanied by Chinese erhu master Xu Qian of the University of British Columbia's Asian Music Studies Department. Food for the Gods first premiered Oct. 19, 2007 at the Vancouver International Film Centre in Vancouver, B. C.
In the story, the Kyontawa are the descendents of a highly advanced Asian civilization from Earth's forgotten history, which established a deep space settlement on what is now Sheenyana's planet. The high-tech civilization is no more and the Kyontawa's knowledge of it is limited to their religious mythology of "Bird Gods" who seeded their people from the sky. When Earth astronauts land on the planet, conflict and romance ensue.
Megami – storyline
The upcoming film, set seven years after events of the first film (placing the year at c.2064), has Sheenyana anguishing over the actions she was forced to take at the end of the previous film as she and Xionko must now secure technologies, including advanced weapons and a starship, left behind by Earth astronauts who arrived in the first film.
A rival tribe called the Tokono has amassed an army upon Kyontawa lands, lead by Kanukami (Chang), the same man responsible for the deaths of Sheenyana's parents when she was a child. Meanwhile, Sheenyana is also being psychically visited by a female ghost named Kyshiyo (Tomoko Hanawa) a beautiful Megami, (princess goddess) who once ruled Sheenyana's planet when it was part of an advanced interstellar empire, 20,000 years ago.
At the same time, on Earth, Major Denise Hinoki (Grace Chin), a member of the Canadian Forces uncovers an international conspiracy, which somehow threatens Sheenyana's planet, as well as the Major's own life. This part of the film will be using Grand Forks as a location as Hinoki searches for answers to her quest.
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Official Website – Megami / Food for the Gods
Nik Green – Global Authority Media