ON SET-Director Matthew Orobko watching lead actor and producer Jeff Woodward on a monitor during filming of Tumaini in 2009 in Red Deer.

World movie premiere set for Red Deer

The world premiere of a new film, Tumaini, will be held in Red Deer in September as part of the City’s Alberta Arts Day celebrations.

Tumaini (pronounced too-MAH-ee-nee) is a co-production of Courtesy Productions, a local film company, and the Red Deer College motion picture arts program.

Written by Steve Neufeld, directed by Matthew Orobko and produced by and starring Jeff Woodward, all local talent, it’s the story of a dedicated but disillusioned high school teacher.

The teacher, Terry, returns from a visit to Africa and finds his middle-class life empty and materialistic. Developing a guilty conscience over his affluent and wasteful life, he starts to lose his passion for teaching.

He spirals into insanity when a favourite student backs out of their plan to build a school in Kenya. He starts to hallucinate and sees an apparition of a Kenyan girl named Tumaini. The apparition and the students in his class save him and help him find a more meaningful life.

“It’s a dramatic piece,” says first time producer Jeff Woodward, who just graduated from the motion picture arts program at RDC. “There’s not a lot of action. Sometimes people don’t get the point, that you can change your little corner of the world and that change can ripple outward.”

Woodward says the film was put together on a small budget of $60,000, about a tenth of what a film like this normally costs, and involved 50 people in the cast and crew.

Almost the entire cast and crew are either RDC students or alumni, and the investors are also RDC supporters. It was shot on digital, so they didn’t have to pay for film costs and processing. “We’re fairly humble and if I had any idea of how hard it would be to produce a film before we did it, I would never have done it. We got a lot of help from Red Deer College, local businesses and the support and kindness of the people of Red Deer.”

For the premiere on Sept.17 at the Memorial Centre, “We’re bringing a little slice of Hollywood to Red Deer,” says Woodward.

There will be a real red carpet, photographers, phony backdrops and all the trimmings at the opening reception at 7 p.m. The screening itself is at 8 p.m. and it will be followed by a VIP champagne reception.

Tickets are $30 for the red carpet reception and screening and $100 will get you the red carpet reception, screening and the champagne reception, which takes place at the Redstone Grill. Tickets are available at the Black Knight Inn box office.

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