Film Vehicle Theft Affects Local Productions – Winnipeg Free Press | Episode Movies

There will be lights, cameras… but possibly delayed action for local film and television productions after a camera truck was stolen from a warehouse under construction.

Robert Rowan, general manager of William F. White International Inc. in Winnipeg, said the truck is one of only about two dozen across North America and the only one in Manitoba.

“It’s devastating,” Rowan said Wednesday.

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The stolen camera truck is one of only about two dozen across North America and the only one stationed in Manitoba.

“It’s a huge hit for the local film industry. It’s a very specialized vehicle and we don’t have many of them. If we were trying to get a new one, it would be 12 to 18 months…but only if we’re lucky.”

Rowan said the manufacturing services company is in the process of building a 60,000-square-foot warehouse at St. James Industrial Park. The truck and other filming equipment were inside.

“I don’t think we were targeted,” he said. “I think that was a construction site that they saw and entered. Building materials were also stolen.”

William F. White’s Andrew Luczenczyn said the truck was used on location during filming flag day (2021), A dog’s purpose (2017), No one (2021), TV Series stories from the loop (2020) and the upcoming dark comedy/action film Violent Night.

Luczenczyn, a cinematographer, said if you see a shot in a movie or TV show where an actor is driving a vehicle and the camera is pointed at him, it’s thanks to a special truck like the one stolen.

“These vehicles are generally used as a mobile film set for travel and often carry all the directors, actors and crew needed to safely shoot car driving scenes,” he said.

“They tow specially designed trailers that sit as low to the ground as possible with the vehicle mounted, allowing the actor to focus on acting rather than actually driving their vehicle.”

Luczenczyn said if a local film production needs to use such a truck in the meantime, another can be brought in, but transportation takes time.

“The fact that we have one here in Manitoba is a big driver of productions coming here,” he said. “We tour producers and directors here and they’re like, ‘Oh, you’ve got a dolly.’ That definitely helps us here.”

The stolen vehicle is a 2001 forest green Dodge Ram 2500 V10, Manitoba registration CHE 703, modified with a tandem axle, air suspension, built-in generator and a three-tier platform at the rear. It features the William F. White logo and a large steel bar on the front.

Winnipeg Police Spokesman Const. Jay Murray said the service was notified of the burglary on Monday shortly after it was spotted.

Murray said that in addition to the truck, a trailer and electronics were also stolen sometime over the weekend.

“Members of the Major Crimes Unit are currently investigating the matter,” he said, noting that anyone with information about the theft is asked to either call the police at 204-986-6219 or Crime Stoppers at 203-786-TIPS (8477) to call

Stu Stone, a filmmaker with four decades of experience, was the victim of an industrial theft of equipment in Winnipeg on November 15, 2021 — the first day of shooting for the Comedy Heist film vandites (now in cinemas).

While Stone did not use the specialized truck for his film, he did describe it as an essential part of many productions.

“I certainly sympathize with this crew, but if I could give them one piece of advice it would be that the show must go on. Don’t let anything stop you from fulfilling your mission,” he said.

Stone’s missing trailer was later found abandoned, but $250,000 worth of film equipment inside was never found.

“If they ever find gear[of William F. White]make sure our stuff is there, too,” Stone said.

Janice Tober, a spokeswoman for Manitoba Film and Music, said the industry advocate also hopes the truck will be recovered.

“It’s an unfortunate story,” Tober said. “If this hinders production, that’s a real shame.

“It’s a very unique truck – what would anyone do with it? It’s not the best thing to drive around.”

kevin.rollason@freepress.mb.ca

Kevin Rollson

Kevin Rollson
reporter

Kevin Rollason is one of the more versatile reporters at the Winnipeg Free Press. Whether it’s City Hall, the courts, or general news reporting, Rollason can be trusted not only to answer the 5 Ws – who, what, when, where, and why – but to do so in an interesting and accessible way for readers does .

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