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Saskatchewan-produced horror short film up for Screamfest film festival award – Saskatoon

A pair of film producers from Saskatoon have recently released their newest passion project, The Druid’s Hand.

“It’s centred around an oversized town priest and his acolytes as they faced their dark past,” director Mitch Oliver said. “We also wanted to make the audience feel like they were in the last 30 minutes of the film.”


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The short horror film was shot over a four-day span in the village of Alvena, roughly 70 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon, the hometown of the film’s writer and producer, Jesse Sawitsky.

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“We started the project back in May (2021) and finished filming in August,” said Oliver. “We had a supporting cast of 25 crew, all volunteers, and the majority of which were also from Saskatchewan.”

“We were working 15- to 18-hour days, getting started bright and early for the project,” Sawitsy added. “The whole village helped out with the project.”

Oliver says everything lined up perfectly after they found the right spot to shoot their film in the village. They even built a set for the film.

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Sawitsky was born and raised in Alvena and his connections allowed them to use the spot as a filming backdrop.

“We wanted to get that claustrophobic feel for the film, shooting in a church setting. That small-town, rural feel is embedded in our film,” said Oliver.

Their aim with the film was to also shed some light on the film scene in Saskatchewan, which is often overlooked.

“It was a huge goal to show the cinematic landscapes that Saskatchewan is capable of having,” Oliver said.

“The locations themselves really helped influence the entire story and screenplay,” said Sawitsky.

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The pair met while playing music gigs in the past, where they discovered a shared interest in creating films.


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The film will be played at the Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles, a place that is rich with history. Both Oliver and Sawitsky say extra accolades would be the icing on the cake.

“Just the fact that we are there playing at the massive festival on Hollywood Boulevard, it’s just really hard to wrap your head around this happening,” Sawitsky said.

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The film is up for an award at the Screamfest Film Festival in L.A. in October.

The view the trailer for the film, visit YouTube.

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The pandemic also allowed Oliver to make the decision to move to Vancouver to follow his dreams of film production.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.



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