A comedy-horror film about a rage-filled werewolf police officer is one step closer to production after winning a $1 million investment by CineCoup Film Accelerator on Monday.
The creators of the Regina-based Wolfcop were among five finalists who made a final pitch at the Banff World Media Festival to a panel of industry experts including producer Robert Lantos, Cineplex executive vice-president Michael Kennedy and Noah Segal, distribution head for Entertainment One.
The winner's prize was $1 million in cash and services to make the film and a release at Cineplex theatres in 2014.
Writer-director Lowell Dean described his main character as "Dirty Harry, only hairier."
"There's a rabid desire from werewolf fans," he told the panel. "It is pretty silly, but it is pretty bad ass."
The story is set in a "Saskatchewan-like" town called Woodhaven. It follows alcoholic cop Lou Garou — a play on "loup garou," which is french for werewolf — who is subject to blackouts.
When the full moon is out, he becomes a "rage-fuelled werewolf."
"A million-dollar budget is amazing, but to me the real reason to enter this was that theatrical [release]," Dean told CBC News. "That's the dream of any Canadian filmmaker."
'We made the decision based on who showed the best entrepreneurship within this, both creatively from a marketing and business decision, and adhered to the million-dollar idea' —J. Joly, CineCoup founder
CineCoup founder and CEO J. Joly, a social media entrepreneur, said it was important to choose a project that could be produced for the amount of funding available.
"We made the decision based on who showed the best entrepreneurship within this, both creatively from a marketing and business decision, and adhered to the million-dollar idea," he said.
"There's a lot of big ideas on this stage that need more than a million dollars."
The Wolfcop team — made up of Dean, producer and marketing strategist Bernie Hernando and producer Hugh Patterson — hope to get the movie going as soon as possible. Dean said the idea for Wolfcop almost started as a joke.
"Honestly, I was trying to come up with an idea for a script but I couldn't decide between this monster movie I wanted to do and a cop movie," he explained.
"Almost as a joke I said maybe I should mash them together and that idea was addictive and grew in my brain and I had to do the script."
Patterson and Hernando both said they were in based on the name alone. Most recently, Dean transitioned into feature films with his directorial debut, the zombie thriller 13 Eerie.
Three of the finalists were from B.C., including sci-fi comedy Alien Abduction; BAD, a violent action drama involving a brother and sister on a crime spree; and Grade Nine, about a group of friends obsessed with Dungeons and Dragons. The other entry from Alberta was the sci-fi drama Uprising.