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Second World War-era movie being shot this week near Prince George

Breakthrough explores unlikely bond between soldiers on opposite sides during Battle of the Bulge

Prince George is back in the Hollywood limelight.

This week, film crews from Vancouver are gathering in the city for four days of location shooting to produce a Second World War-era movie short Breakthrough.

Directed by Kate Green of Vancouver and produced by KGP Productions, filming started Tuesday and will continue through Saturday in a rural area northwest of Prince George.

The plot centres around two soldiers on opposite sides who meet during the Battle of the Bulge in the winter of 1944, the final German offensive on the Western Front. Dug into the Ardennes Forest, the American 106th Infantry Division faces a devastating counter-attack from the German Army. In the aftermath, a wounded Jewish American soldier and a young German boy soldier form an unlikely friendship, while trapped together in a foxhole.

Breakthrough explores the tense connection that develops suddenly between the two soldiers, and how their bond transcends the brutality of war.

Norm Coyne, a producer for Barker Street Cinema and the promoter of the annual Prince George FanCon entertainment convention, has been hired to work on the film, which he says will leave a lasting sociocultural impact on audiences.

“This is the most ambitious film we’ve made to date,” said Coyne.

”It has a really insane pedigree, the people attached to it are top-shelf. They’ve worked on military period pieces before and the script (written by Michael John Fuller) is so good. This is Sundance Film Festival-level material. It’s something that will shine on really big stages all over the world.”

Coyne, who now lives in Kelowna, said the Breakthrough project stems from when Green visited Prince George in 2021 as a FanCon guest  and asked Barker Street Cinema to accompany her scouting potential film locations.

“She loves what Prince George has to offer and said she would love to give it a go here and after reading the script I’m so grateful to be part of this thing,” said Coyne.

“This is going to be a big deal for Prince George because it will be portraying a completely different place on the planet in wartime.”

Kate Green Productions is behind the hit science-fiction web series NarcoLeap, shown on Prime Video and CBC Gem, which starred Prince George actor Madison Smith. Green also produced the movie shorts Murphy’s Law, Melting Stars and Not A Stranger.

“I am honoured to be filming in northern B.C.,” said Green. “The community has been very welcoming to our production and it makes all the difference when producing an indie film. We are very grateful to the people of Prince George.”

The Battle of Ardennes happened in the winter and Coyne is relieved there have been recent snowfalls in Prince George to set the scene for filming in what has been an unseasonably warm and dry winter throughout most of the province.

The battle footage to be shot will include pyrotechnic special effects and combat scenes, a radical departure from the feelgood romance movies most recently shot in Prince George – A Great North Christmas (2021) and The Way To The Heart (2022).

Tom Newell of Prince George, an honorary colonel with the Rocky Mountain Rangers, will also help with the production of Breakthrough and will enlist some of the local army reserves from Prince George-based Bravo Company to be part of the film.

The extras needed for the film were filled after a casting call. Details about the actors who will take on the starring roles will be released later.

Coyne is also involved in turning his short film, Conquest, about an alien invasion, into a feature-length project thanks to a grant from the Rogers Indigenous Film Fund.