For over 20 years Farpoint Films has been one of Manitoba’s marquee production companies. They’ve produced a variety of programs for the likes of CBC, CTV, Hallmark, Superchannel 8=and more while working with stars like Brett Gelman, Joe Pantoliano, Bruce Greenwood, and Justin Bartha.
But how did this company become a cornerstone of Manitoba production? Learn more about their journey in the profile below!
Who founded your company?
Farpoint Films was founded by Kyle Bornais and John Barnard.
Why and when did they start the company?
We started in 2000 with corporate videos and took the proceeds from there to make short films, then documentaries, and then bigger projects. You could even say we’re still building off those corporate videos.
What’s unique about your company within the industry?
Our employees. Their skills gives us the ability to pivot and adapt to industry trends for a huge variety of shows we’ve produced over the years, which is key to staying in business.
Who is someone in the industry you would like to work with?
Anyone who can tell a good story. I’ve met with and worked with a lot of good people, but the bottom line is they’re all good at their job and have the similar goals. That, or Barbara Broccoli.
Why is training and learning important in the film industry? How do members of your organization continue to learn and stay up to date?
Learning is important because the industry changes on almost a daily basis with new innovations and systems, and we need to keep on top of it to stay in business. Saying “the old way of doing business” used to refer to ten years ago — now it could mean yesterday.
We’re fortunate that the people here are excited by the changes and advancements and want to try out and experiment with new things. That takes the form of taking courses from organization like Film Training Manitoba since they’re keeping tabs on industry changes.
What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in the industry?
There are many, but mainly the speed of making a project. You could pitch and get a green light and be in preproduction and then production in months. You need a crew that’s available and ready to hit the ground running — thankfully we have just that.
What’s a project or projects you’re proud of?
All of them have a special place in my heart, but especially the early ones when it was just myself, John, and Chris Charney.
It’s great to see a project like Ice Vikings — which we’ve been trying to make for years — finally great get out there. Then we have projects like From The Vine (starring Joe Pantoliano) which we shot in Italy and has been released theatrically in a number of different countries. It opens in the UK on September 10th.
What’s a unique challenge you faced with a production and how did you overcome it?
They all have their unique challenges — I’ve yet to work on a project that doesn’t. The biggest has always been financing. We never have enough money to make the project we see in our heads, but we overcome that with a creative team who brings great solutions to the table.
We also recently started a distribution company that now has the ability to provide distribution advances to our own shows (as well as other companies) and this allows us to green light projects we love quicker at a higher budget. This is all based on sales estimates of course but we have a strong sales team and our shows have been selling well internationally.
I am pretty excited about the opportunities this will bring to us and Manitoba. We recently picked up four shows from other Manitoba producers and managed to green light them by advancing distribution money.
Any exciting upcoming projects you can share?
We have quite a few, but one I am particularly excited about is The Swearing Jar. We co-produced and shot it in Hamilton this spring. Our cast and crew were amazing and I can’t wait to get the film released. We have just hit picture lock so it won’t be long.
What do you like about being based in Manitoba?
The community of filmmakers that I’ve come up with and the next generation of filmmakers that I work with. There’s some real talent in this province and I’m excited to see what comes out of them.
Farpoint is very lucky to have a number of young filmmakers on our staff and they bring such a fresh take to the company that makes it fun to come to work every day. That and of course the support we get from the government, without that we certainly wouldn’t have the opportunities that we have had.
FTM is a member of the Province of Manitoba’s sector council program funded through the Department of Economic Development and Training. FTM builds a highly skilled and adaptable film industry workforce to support the activities of Manitoba production companies. FTM collaborates and partners with members of the film and television industry to identify training needs to support workforce development output.