A crew of Edmonton filmmakers beat out Hollywood blockbusters Star Wars and Inside Out to win a prestigious award for their 3D film.

Producer Andrew Scholotiuk and director Dylan Pearce won a Lumiere Award from the Los Angeles-based Advanced Imaging Society this month for their 3D film work in 40 Below and Falling, a feature-length romantic comedy filmed in Alberta. The award celebrates advancements and innovation in digital cinema.

Previous Lumiere Award recipients include film directors James Cameron and Martin Scorsese.

"It's an amazing honour, and to be honest, a complete surprise," Scholotiuk told CBC's radio show Edmonton AM on Friday. "To be recognized alongside some of the brightest and smartest minds in Hollywood — I'm still floating a bit off the ground, to be honest."

The movie 40 Below and Falling is a coming-of-age story of Kate, a teacher trying to return to civilization to get married after working in a remote, northern Canadian community. When a harsh storm stops all flight and road travel, Kate convinces a stranger named Redford to take the trip with her on a snowmobile.


Producer Andrew Scholotiuk and director Dylan Pearce are among the crew of Edmonton filmmakers who won a Lumiere Award this month for their 3D film. (Facebook)

Pearce describes the pair as "fish out of water."

"She's a city girl who hasn't really had to put herself through the elements, so she gets stuck with Redford, who's kind of a recluse, and they kind of discover themselves along the way."

This is the crew's first 3D feature film. They shot it in native 4K 3D, a two-camera method Scholotiuk said isn't often used in Hollywood films, but offers a much better result. Most movies are shot in 2D and mixed into 3D after filming. This is a cheaper way of making a movie, but doesn't always yield the best result, Scholotiuk said.

He said using the technology for a romantic comedy was a bit of a risk, especially with an independent budget initially set for a 2D film. But the Edmonton-based crew was prepared for a multitude of challenges, he said, including a lack of snow in Alberta last winter — not ideal for a movie about a blizzard.

"Somehow, we made it all work within a really compressed timeline," Scholotiuk said. "It meant a lot more work and we couldn't just do things the same old way. We had to rethink a lot of processes to make it efficient and make it work.

"We had some smart minds on this, and they took some creative risks in 3D … and what was great was that those risks were recognized as something valuable."

cast and crew

The cast and crew of 40 Below and Falling (Facebook)