The English film festival includes the work of a local filmmaker

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Lift-Off Global Network, an international film group, has included three regional films in its first online program session where an audience will vote for their first and second favorite film.

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Jayson Stewart, a teacher at Espanola High School, is an avid filmmaker who runs his company Laps In Judgement, which has three films included in the Lift-Off program.

His company is well known locally for its productions of ‘REZilience’, ‘Overdue’ and ‘The Philanthropist’, Stewart is delighted that his productions are reaching a wider audience internationally.

According to Stewart, “There are a dozen Lift-Off sessions scattered around the world, this one is in England.”

Stewart says all three films will be available for viewing as part of a set of over 100 films and will be available via Vimeo on demand.

On top of that, he added, “Even though my movies are a few years old, I think it’s important to bring them to life from time to time and find ways to add storytelling. Everyone worked so hard on them and it’s exciting to know that more and more viewers will see them.

Stewart was asked if he had any new work coming up.

“I often get asked if I have another movie coming up and the answer is always, but COVID really sidelined the movie industry for a few years. During that time I developed voice-over projects and I’m currently juggling four of them, including audiobook narration, the main character of a sci-fi murder mystery podcast, a Quran series, and my own project, a serial version of REZilience podcast,” he said.

The producer, screenwriter and actor is excited about his current project.

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“The one I’m most excited about right now is the sci-fi drama, ‘Terror Fermosa’, a murder mystery set on Mars where I play a neuropsychologist, Dr. John Clarke. Although based in Nashville, I directed and managed some of the cast, bringing in talent from Sault Ste Marie, Manitoulin Island and Wasaga Beach.

Fermosa is similar to one of those radio plays listened to in the past, according to Stewart.

Stewart acknowledged the similarity between Fermosa’s production and old radio plays saying, “(the production) is absolutely of that origin, but using the highest technology to create a truly immersive soundscape so you can hear people enter the room or move sound effects around you to various locations in the audio field with you in the center.

This production is expected to begin within the next two weeks.

Lift-Off Global Network markets itself as an “industry within an industry,” a place where filmmakers and aspiring craftspeople can build their careers with showcases, education, and festival screenings. More information about takeoff can be found at www.liftoff.network.

After the first round where the audience selects their favorites, a second round takes place where the Lift-Off judges choose the feature film and short film winner from the top-voted films. The winner announced for the short films category will have their film screened at Pinewood Studios in England. All of the Stewart films entered were shot in and around the Massey area.

Director of photography Mathieu Taillefer and Jayson Stewart on the set of the ‘Overdue’ production.
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