The Manhattan Project, a film shot in and around the Madawaska Valley in March 2018, premieres to a sold-out Carlton Theatre at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 11. Matthew Campanile, director/producer/writer of the film, has a longtime connection with the Valley having spent every summer (and some winter weekends too) at a close friend’s cabin in Barry’s Bay on Wadsworth Lake. He told The Current, “It’s had a real impact on who I am.”
Three intensive weeks of location filming during late winter last year included a number of scenes shot “right off Dombroski Road” and Campanile says the crew had a lot of support from the Dombroski family. Other locations included Maynooth’s Arlington Hotel (pictured above: Valley extras being briefed for a scene. Photo submitted) and the Maple Leaf gas station. The Town of Bancroft even closed Station Street for an afternoon so they could film. He greatly appreciates the warm welcome given to the production crew and says that generosity even included loans of household items to be used as props in the film, not to mention a character role for a truck loaned by Valley Gazette reporter Mark Jones.
Campanile says the three main characters in the film are from the Valley. He says he met a number of the other actors through A Place for the Arts in Bancroft and on one day even used as many as fifty extras. He confirms that there is an economic benefit to the local area from the film industry, saying, “We had local catering, local crew, and while the majority of the equipment came with us from Toronto I can tell you we certainly spent a lot of money here.”
He adds, “There’s another economic angle which is the future of the film. I don’t know that people are going to be flying in from Germany to see where The Manhattan Project was filmed, but certainly there are people who live in Ontario who haven’t heard about this area and how beautiful it is – I think it would make them aware of it.”
The film has been submitted to most major Canadian film festivals. After its festival premiere, Campanile hopes to organize screenings in or near as many of the locations in the film as possible.
Poster image submitted