Localized productions of television and movies open doors for actors to enter the industry

Films and TV shows shot in Newfoundland and Labrador open up new opportunities for homegrown talent.

Josh Hodder

Submission on set of Some Saturdays
Filmmaker Renee Hacket stands in front of a fire pit during the shooting of Some Saturdays, a short film made in St. Bernard’s. After two decades in Toronto, Hackett returned home to Newfoundland to make the film and found that it opened new doors for her. Photo submission by Renee Hackett

Film production in Newfoundland is often overlooked. With local productions such as Republic of Doyle and Hudson and Rex making global waves, it’s no wonder that people in this industry are given opportunities that go beyond this island.

One such person is Noah Perchard, an actor who recently made his television debut on an episode of Hudson and Rex. He plays Connor Meadows, a troubled youth who steals packages from people’s doorsteps.

When he was younger, Perchard said, acting helped him through dark days.

During the summer going to Grade 10, I had really rough anxiety, which caused me to go into a depressive state,” Perchard said. “My mom encouraged me into joining acting classes with the St. John’s Actors Studio, and it worked wonders with my depression and anxiety. Shortly after, I realized I had some natural talent and decided I wanted to take this to the next level.”

After the episode aired on March 9, Perchard received a lot of praise for his role. This experience has led to other roles, although he is keeping the news close to his chest.

I can’t go into too much detail but I’ve been in contact with some people recently,” said Perchard. “I’ll just say its something that I’ve never done before, which is very exciting.”

Opportunities at home

Another local actor, Renee Hackett, moved to Toronto for over 20 years in order to further her career. After some time, she decided to pursue a career in making her own films.

I went through a shift in perspective and focus,” said Hackett. “I had written a short film, and one day I just got the nerve to send it to a friend I really admired. He loved it and wanted to direct it!”

Hackett returned to Newfoundland to shoot her short film, Some Saturdays, in her hometown of St. Bernard’s on the Burin Peninsula and decided to stay.

The entire experience was a sign that I should come home,” said Hackett. “A sign and feeling that I could not ignore.”

The short film was well-received at several film festivals, winning best cinematography at the Nickel Film Festival in St. John’s. After it premiered, Hackett says, the film helped open the door in establishing new working relationships in the industry.

A few months after it premiered, I went to a producers conference in L.A. to pitch a feature film that I’m producing and starring in,” said Hackett. “Other than that, I’ve been here ever since, developing projects and working on a bunch of stuff that will eventually be pitched to producers in Canada and the U.S.”

Since returning home, Hackett has become a co-owner of Blue Pinion Films alongside Ruth Lawrence and Baptiste Neis. Established in St. John’s, the company has produced award-winning shorts such as Snowstorm Roulette and Before the War.

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