FEATURE

Richard Van Camp flick wraps in Fort Smith, N.W.T.

Dene author Richard Van Camp has wrapped his short comedy film 'Hickey Gone Wrong' in Fort Smith, N.W.T. It was shot with local actors and a mostly northern crew.

'Hickey Gone Wrong' shoot uses local actors and crew over 3 days

Daniel Wiltzen sports a hickey in front of a gas station for the film 'Hickey Gone Wrong' in Fort Smith, N.W.T. (Richard Van Camp)

It's a film about a hickey.

Or as Richard Van Camp describes it, a passion bruise, Northern rosary, Dene engagement.

The author of The Lesser Blessed has just wrapped the filming of his short film "Hickey Gone Wrong," which is based on Van Camp's graphic novel One Tribe.

Serving as writer and executive producer, Van Camp calls the film a "hilarious romp of a comedy" about a young man named Clarence, who gets a hickey from his girlfriend and has to get through an eight-hour shift of pumping gas at the local station, while avoiding wide eyes in town.

The town is Fort Smith, N.W.T.

"I draw from the town I love most," Van Camp says.
Writer and executive producer Richard Van Camp on the set of 'Hickey Gone Wrong' in Fort Smith, N.W.T. (Richard Van Camp)

Clarence has to endure teasing from his friend and some absurd advice on how to cover up the love bite (Hint: bacon grease).

So is the film based on Van Camp's teenage years in Fort Smith?

"I used to pump gas at Kelly's gas station and I remember when I was about 16 years old, I said to Kelly ... I'm going to write about your gas station, and this time in my life."

"So this could be based on some true stories," he laughs. 

'Sitting on a gold mine here'

Shooting the short film has been "a dream come true," Van Camp says, because it has the support ot the N.W.T. Arts Council and the departments of Education, Culture and Employment and Industry, Tourism and Investment.  

That's in contrast to the seven years it took to turn The Lesser Blessed into a movie. 

"We're sitting on a gold mine here with local, northern filmmaking," Van Camp says.

The 15-minute short is made up of local actors, and the majority of the crew are from the North.

"So what we're doing is we're seeing Fort Smithers, employing Fort Smithers, training Fort Smithers, building infrastructure, so that the next time it gets a little easier."

Van Camp cast Daniel Wiltzen as Clarence during auditions on Friday and the 16-year-old took on the role the very next day.
Fort Smith's Daniel Wiltzen getting his hickey applied. Wiltzen plays Clarence in Richard Van Camp's new short film. (Richard Van Camp)

"Personally I have not had a hickey," Wiltzen laughs. "Everyone is so embarrassed by them and something to be ashamed of, but honestly, it's a joke right?"

Wiltzen has acted in plays before and says the film has been a great new experience, including working with Van Camp.

"Richard's a character, he's awesome. On set he's telling stories and everybody's laughing. Whenever he's around it's just a good mood."

'Hickey Gone Wrong' will premiere at the Fort Smith recreation centre on Aug. 30. Van Camp says it will also be available online.

"You'll have a good old-fashioned belly laugh."