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Eastern Ontario Star Wars fan captures Steven Spielberg’s attention

Ontario East

It cost 21-year-old Ontario East filmmaker Kyle Parish just $300 to capture the attention of world famous movie producer Steven Spielberg.

Using his computer to create special effects and enlisting the help of friends around his home in Elgin, the Star Wars fanatic spent just $300 to make a Star Wars fan film that he entered into the 2010 Star Wars Fan Film contest run by LucasArts.

The film, entitled Origins II: The Rising, won awards for its visual effects and soundtrack and caught the attention of Spielberg who made a personal phone call to Parish.

“The exact words would be ‘Never let anyone change what you’re doing, do it your way, and stay creative because that’s what Hollywood needs’,” Parish told Global Television.

Parish wasn’t the only one praised by the famous producer and executive producer of dozens of blockbusters, including E.T., Men in Black, and Back to the Future. Parish’s friend Sarah Long, an actress in Origins II, received a letter from Spielberg saying that she is “something special” and that she is one of the most talented actresses he’s seen in a long time. Star Wars writer-producer George Lucas also wrote Long to praise her, Global reported.

It’s not the first attention Parish Productions has received. It won awards earlier this year from the University of Toronto Student Film Festival and, in September, it was nominated for best feature at the Philadelphia Film & Animation Festival. Long and fellow Origins II actor Matthew Schliesmann have also won acting awards.

Origins II, which is 52 minutes long, is set some 100,000 years before the stories of the LucasArts Star Wars films and before people travelled across galaxies. It describes how the Force became split between Dark and Light.

Deanna Clark, Economic Development Officer for the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville, says Parish is a significant and celebrated artist in the community.

“Parish Productions is the epitome of what the Creative Economy is all about,” says Clark.

Parish, who started filmmaking while recovering from an athletic injury, is excited about where his new celebrity status and his passion for filmmaking and Star Wars may take him.

“Who knows what doors have opened because of this,” Parish told Global.

At the time of initial publication, the word was that he was working on his third Star Wars fan film, Origins III: Destiny.

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