A Hamilton filmmaker is calling on the city to help support his project in a nation-wide independent movie competition.

Director and filmmaker Andre van Heerden is putting together his Hamilton-based crime comedy, Life of a Locksmith, through the CineCoup Film Accelerator project. The national film project started with 91 teams of filmmakers and will eventually result in one winner being selected to win $1 million towards financing their project, as well as widespread distribution in Canadian Cineplex theatres in early 2014.

"It's a good process," said Heerden, adding that he's never put together a film this way. "It certainly makes you concentrate on what sells a movie, what makes people watch a movie, rather than just telling the story that you think people may like."

Heerden, who has worked with stars like Gary Busey, Howie Mandel, Corbin Bernsen and Mr. T on his previous films, said he wanted to make a movie filmed in Hamilton that actually takes place in the city.

"The very first submission was actually a trailer," said Heerden. "So for groups that haven't shot a movie, like ours, it's very challenging because we don't have anything to cut from. We don't have anything to work with. So we've been creating a concept trailer, trying to tell people what the movie would be about."

J. Joly, CEO of CineCoup, said the project was inspired by the idea of social media being a tool for independent filmmakers to build their audience before the film is actually made. Joly said that independent filmmakers have to set themselves apart because they do not have the big budget that Hollywood filmmakers have for promotion and advertising.

"What we're trying to do is create that next generation of filmmaker that thinks like an entrepreneur," said Joly. "Not only do they have this great creative vision and are able to execute and make a movie, but they're actually able to connect with their fans and build this audience equity around themselves."

The CineCoup Film Accelerator will decide which filmmakers make it to the next round through a round of voting, which starts tomorrow and ends on Sunday, as well as looking at the level of social media buzz around each project. On Monday, the top 40 projects will be revealed, and filmmakers will be given more weekly missions to complete.

The past few missions have required Heerden and his fellow filmmakers to do things like produce a 90 second scene from the film with no dialogue. Heerden has also designed the movie's poster and explained how he can work with a small budget to create a big production.