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Harriston plays itself in upcoming independent horror film

Harriston-born actor and filmmaker said it was a joy to combine where he came from with what he does now

HARRISTON – Filming isn’t unusual in Wellington County, although it’s pretty rare for a local town to play itself.

But a filmmaker saw something in the Town of Minto and Harriston was the shooting location and setting for a soon-to-be released independent horror film shot in 2019. 

Godforsaken, a film by writer/director Ali Akbar Akbar Kamal, is a found footage-style film about an indie filmmaker visiting his hometown to attend a friend’s funeral when she seemingly rises from the dead with mysterious abilities.

Co-producer Chad Tailor plays the lead role visiting his hometown in the film. Tailor is originally from Harriston. 

Tailor has been living in Toronto for the past 11 years, graduating from Toronto Film School with Kamal and Mariah MacDonald, now of Makama Films.

He said he had invited them out to his town a few times in the past to do short films. Kamal said in an email he loved how friendly and welcoming the locals were in Harriston.  

When a plan to film in Kabul fell through, Kamal thought of Tailor and his hometown. 

MacDonald, a co-producer on the film, said she loved filming in Harriston and even got the blessing from the Town of Minto to use the name in the film. 

“I love that place, right now me and the director have relocated to Nova Scotia so we love small places,” MacDonald said. 

“It was perfect, the town was so welcoming and it just made everything work seamlessly.”

Kamal agreed and credited the town with their successful shoot. 

Tailor said it was an amazing experience being able to work on this production in his hometown.

“Being able to combine my two worlds of where I came from, and now currently I’ve been living in Toronto, and have all my film colleagues come and then my hometown people be there was just magical,” Tailor said. 

He explained he was the one who got all of the locations and got local townspeople involved in small roles or otherwise helping. 

Those familiar with Harriston should be on the lookout for the Crown Theatre, the United Church and a few residential homes making an appearance in Godforsaken.

“The community was so great and so supportive there, letting us film for 18 days in 2019 all over the place, even right in front of the Harriston sign,” Tailor said. 

The film will premiere on distributor Terror Films’ YouTube station on March 25 and have a wide release on digital streaming platforms on April 8.

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Keegan Kozolanka

About the Author: Keegan Kozolanka

Keegan Kozolanka is a general assignment reporter for EloraFergusToday, covering Wellington County. Keegan has been working with Village Media for more than two years and helped launch EloraFergusToday in 2021.
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