A LeRoy-born filmmaker has claimed an award at a prestigious Saskatchewan film festival.
Maury Loeffler has won a Yorkton Film Festival Golden Sheaf Award for best drama for his film, "Pooka."
Originally from the LeRoy-Watson area, Loeffler now resides in Toronto, where he has founded a film company, Choroid Films.
The showing at the Yorkton Film Festival was the premiere for "Pooka," Loeffler told the Journal, and "a homecoming of a sort" for him, he said, as he has not been back to Saskatchewan for a while.
Winning the award was "pretty surprising and exciting," he said, as his film was up against some really good ones by other filmmakers in Toronto.
What made the experience even more special, he noted, was that his parents were able to attend the awards ceremony, and were there with him when he won.
Loeffler has not entered "Pooka" in any film festivals since Yorkton's, but said he will begin submitting it for consideration again soon.
"Pooka" was Loeffler's first short film with a bigger budget. He's written and produced a few other short films since moving to Toronto to get his degree in communications and film from York University, but this was the first with what he called "a substantial budget."
The Yorkton Film Festival award, he noted, was a great surprise, but he considers himself fortunate by getting some great talent in both cast and crew on board to make "Pooka."
The film stars Katie Boland as Abigail Pooka Cooke, Megan Follows of "Anne of Green Gables" fame as Rosey, Tasha Lawrence as Linda Cooke, and Chris Owens, who had a role on the "X-Files" as Harvey Cooke.
"I was really lucky," Loeffler said, to get this kind of acting talent on board. "I was really lucky with the cast."
According to the Choroid Films website, the company is a Toronto-based production company specializing in films that seek out truth in society and explore the human condition.
"We endeavor to tell engaging, enlightening and, above all, entertaining stories," the company notes.
Their film "Pooka" - a word that is defined as "a mythical figure or imaginary friend that wreaks havoc" is described by the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) as "the tender, tragi-comic coming of age story of Abigail Cooke, or Pooka, as her dad calls her. To make her once popular parents believe she fits in, a desperate Abigail creates a fictional world for her parents' benefit. When her parents go away for the weekend, the house gets trashed during the biggest house party of the year. Total attendance: one lonely teenage girl."
Loeffler will be coming back to Saskatchewan in later summer to shoot a short film in LeRoy and the surrounding area.
"I'm hoping to get the community involved with that," he said.
The film will be a period piece, a Western, set in the 1960s, he noted. So he will need the use of some old cars, clothes and props if anyone in the area has some to lend.
"I'm pretty excited about the project," he said, adding that he has had interest in it from some pretty good actors.
The Yorkton Film Festival is the longest running film festival is North America, and will celebrate its 65th year next May.
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