Angel Inn movie premieres at Shaw Festival
By John Law, Niagara Falls Review
Kirk Schriefer is photographed inside of the Angel Inn where he based a film he recently completed on Jan. 22, 2013. Schriefer will be holding a screening of the film at Shaw Festival Theatre on Thurs. Jan 31, 2013. Julie Jocsak/ St. Catharines Standard/QMI Agency
It’s the movie a whole lot of meat pies paid for. Some rhubarb and lemon meringue too.
When transplanted Los Angeles moviemaker Kirk Schriefer wanted to get behind the camera again, the Virgil pastry shop he owns with wife Ruth Anne made it possible. Rather, the friends and customers they’ve made these past ten years did.
To fund the flick, he offered shares in their popular bakery, The Pie Plate. More than two dozen customers snatched them up, helping him raise $20,000 to make his indie drama The Angel Inn.
Yes, that Angel Inn. The one in Niagara-on-the-Lake which was perfect for his tale of three friends reconnecting after a tragedy when they co-inherit a pub.
The Olde Angel Inn, established in 1789 and rebuilt in 1816, is among the oldest pubs in Canada. It once served soldiers during the War of 1812, but in the summer of 2010, it hosted Schriefer and a crew of volunteer film students from Humber College . Starring Daniel Kelly, Carla Albi and Matthew Gonzales, the movie has its gala premiere at the Shaw Festival Jan. 31.
“It’s very photogenic, the inside of the Angel Inn,” says Schriefer. “All the wood, pillars and low ceilings. I wanted to shoot in there but didn’t want to go through the effort of masking over all the Angel Inn signs to call it Bob’s Pub or something.”
“So I said (to the owner) ‘Can I just call it the Angel Inn in the script?’ He said, ‘Ya, sure.’”
When the owner died, just before filming was to start, Schriefer had to ask for permission again to film inside the historic pub. He got the green light a second time.
The community spirit continued during filming. When Schriefer lamented he didn’t have a crane to get some shots, a friend didn’t just suggest a cherry picker, he cut him a $400 check to rent one for the day.
Even with all the generosity, the film’s budget quickly vanished. By the time he wrapped filming, there was nothing left for post-production. The film languished for a couple years.
“I was upset how long it was taking,” he says. “I thought at the time we had done the hardest part – shooting. I’ve come to learn since that it’s not the hardest part!”
“Every step of the way is as hard as the previous step. Nothing’s easy about making a movie.”
Now that it’s finished (with help from a Gemini-winning editor), he’s thrilled to see it screened at the Shaw Festival, of all places.
“It’s a huge, really classy theatre, and they have this huge screen set up for their film series during the winter. It’s going to be awesome.”
After its premiere, The Angel Inn will be shopped around to various film festivals, hopefully getting Schriefer closer to his next film – a comedy about a middle-aged mother who joins her son’s band.
”The best thing that could happen here is if I get the second movie made.”
- WHAT: The Angel Inn movie premiere
- WHERE: The Shaw Festival, 10 Queen’s Parade
- WHEN: Jan. 31, 7 p.m.
- TICKETS: $40. 905-933-7804 or www.angelinnthemovie.com