Dover Bay grads Darcy Touhey, Maarten Bayliss, and Devon Kuziw (holding camera) are working on their first feature-length film. (Photo courtesy Cody Briggs)

Nanaimo filmmakers at work on first feature-length film

Darcy Touhey, Devon Kuziw and Maarten Bayliss first collaborated at Dover Bay Secondary School

Darcy Touhey, Devon Kuziw and Maarten Bayliss have been making movies together since their days at Dover Bay Secondary School. Back then it was mostly parodies of the MTV stunt show Jackass, but now the Nanaimo trio are at work creating their first feature-length film.

Touhey started writing the script three years ago after feeling dissatisfied with his last short film. That script became Four Walls, a film that captures a day in the life of 17 different characters. Pre-production started last fall and they are currently in the casting stage with filming set to start in mid May. Touhey is the film’s director, Bayliss is acting and composing the score and Kuziw is on board as a producer.

“It’s all happening slowly but surely, but making films is weird. It all kind of starts to happen really fast all of a sudden as soon as you get close to the shoot dates,” Touhey said, adding that it’s been a learning experience.

“Luckily, I have a lot of people helping me this time. I’ve always worn a lot of hats making my films just because of having limited money and all that kind of stuff, but this one I’m wearing [fewer] hats, but still a lot of hats.”

After graduating from Dover Bay, Touhey, Kuziw and Bayliss moved to Vancouver with some friends, and while they didn’t really have much of a plan – “We were 19 at the time,” Touhey said – by 2010 they decided to treat their short sketches and personal music videos as a professional pursuit. Touhey and Kuziw soon got jobs as television production assistants to get their feet in the door.

So far, Touhey said the filmmaking process for a feature has been similar to shorts; there’s just more of everything. And since Four Walls is made up of multiple stories in a single film, Touhey said it feels like he’s creating a series of shorts.

“Me and my buddies have been making films since we were 14, but then when you try to do it on a more professional level there’s some more paperwork and more stuff to consider and more money involved…” he said.

“So it’s not really super new to me, it’s just more work and more energy and more everything. Because of what the script is and how there are so many characters, it’s really just like shooting a bunch of short films.”

Touhey said it means a lot to be working on his first feature film with his best friends. It’s a project he’s wanted to tackle for a long time. They’re a long way from their Jackass parodies.

“Unfortunately, that footage is lost,” he said of their early efforts.

“But it was pretty good. That kind of got us started down the road of making movies together and I think, honestly, making movies is what’s kept us together all these years.”

There are a few days remaining in the film’s Indygogo crowdfunding campaign. More information can be found here.

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