Called Centralia, the film is based on the popular video game, Silent Hill. The independent feature will use run-down, vacant facades between Brant Avenue and Queen Street to stand in for a ghost town, location manager Jonathan Matthews said Tuesday.
“We needed to find stores that we could transform into looking derelict and old, where we wouldn’t have to displace a business,” Matthews said in a telephone interview from the production offices in Toronto.
“Here, half of our work is already done because the stores are already closed.”
He stressed that the production’s interest in Brantford is positive.
“Brantford is a fantastic city. We have received nothing but great help from city hall and the downtown merchants.
“We didn’t come to Brantford because there’s no economy here, but because there’s a look, an architecture and an atmosphere that we require to film.”
In turn, the city is greeting Centralia with open arms.
“We are delighted to see them,” Mayor Mike Hancock said Tuesday, after the city’s engineering and public works commitee approved temporary road closures for the filming.
However, Hancock and some councillors are concerned that the movie could promote a negative image of Brantford — something the city has worked hard to correct through redevelopment projects.
“It’s an embarrassment,” Coun. Richard Carpenter said of the Colborne Street area to be filmed. “It’s not something we want to market and advertise to the rest of the world.”
Council must still formally approve the road closures, as well as negotiate compensation for the use of city services and of special duty police officers.
Written permission from affected property owners is required, as well as a $2-million insurance policy insuring the city against any liability.
“They have said they are prepared to do whatever they need to satisfy the city’s concerns,” said Wayne Wood, commissioner of engineering, public works, parks and recreation.
Centralia will pump a minimum of $25,000 a day into the city’s economy during filming, said Matthews: up to 120 people will be staying in local hotels, spending their money on food and other goods.
The movie’s budget is yet to be determined, as is casting, Matthews said.
While many other details are still to being finalized, such as exact dates, filming is set for a total of three to five days between April 11-29.