Nova Scotia

N.S. film industry pays tribute to Shaun Clarke, veteran location manager

Shaun Clarke had a knack for landing the perfect film location even when everyone else thought it was impossible. The long-time location manager and actor died this week at the age of 62.

Shaun Clarke of Lunenburg, N.S., died this week after a battle with cancer. He was 62

Born in Cape Breton, Shaun Clarke dedicated his life to fostering Nova Scotia's film industry. (Aaron McKenzie Fraser)

Shaun Clarke had a knack for landing the perfect film location even when everyone else thought it was impossible. 

He loved the challenge but he also loved people and could put them at ease about a film crew taking over their property, said his friend and colleague Mike Volpe. 

"Shaun was funny, smart, charming," Volpe, a film producer, told CBC's Information Morning. "If you're in a crowd and you're looking for someone to talk to and you see Shaun, you go talk to Shaun."

Clarke died of cancer on Tuesday at Fishermen's Memorial Hospital in Lunenburg, N.S. He was 62. 

As a long-time locations manager, Clarke's job often involved bringing productions to Nova Scotia and he's being remembered this week as a fierce ambassador for the province's film industry.

For many people from outside the province,"he is Nova Scotia to them," Volpe said. 

Clarke was also an actor and his career, which spanned more than 35 years, included working on The Lighthouse, Titanic, The Healer, Trailer Park Boys, Mr. D  and This Hour Has 22 Minutes. 

Volpe said Clarke spent a lot of time scouring the coastline of Nova Scotia with the production team of the Oscar-nominated The Lighthouse, eventually securing Cape Forchu in Yarmouth.

Shaun Clarke played a lighthouse keeper that's relieved by Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson, shown here, in The Lighthouse, which was filmed in Yarmouth, N.S. (Screen Nova Scotia/Eric Chakeen)

"It was because of him that film came here," Volpe said. 

Clarke also acted alongside Willem Defoe and Robert Pattinson in the film, his "rugged sailor ocean-weathered face" fit in perfectly in Robert Egger's black and white psychodrama.

His kindness will be missed

Online tributes have been pouring in this week as friends and colleagues remember Clarke for his kindness and dedication to not only his own work, but to others in the industry.

"Shaun was a true professional; one of the hardest working people in the business. His kindness and sense of humour will be missed by all," Screen Nova Scotia said in a post on Facebook.

Comedian Mark Critch from This Hour has 22 Minutes called Clarke "our locations hero, an actor, an artist and a hell of a nice man."

Volpe said Clarke was always generous with his time and knowledge and believed in mentoring the next generation.

"He just wanted people to succeed," Volpe said. "I think that was the biggest part of it for him. He just wanted to help because he had so much knowledge."

Clarke was born in Cape Breton and was "winning hearts" from the time he was a young boy, his online obituary said.

He loved spending time outdoors and perfecting his backyard in Lunenburg as well as crafting wooden whales, "which he proudly displayed and distributed to friends and family."

"Shaun's most cherished legacy will be his two daughters, Jean and Grace, whom he loved very much and was extremely proud of," his obituary said.

With files from CBC's Information Morning

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