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ICYMI: Guitar Lessons Gets the Red Carpet Treatment

Local Movie Premieres in High Level By Kayla Wardley

The 1989 song by the Tragically Hip, “Blow at High Dough,” starts with the lyrics “They shot a movie once, in my hometown.” Well, that now rings true for High Level, Zama City, Paddle Prairie, Fort Vermilion and the surrounding area.

Shot in just three weeks—from September 12 to October 2, 2021—Guitar Lessons: The Movie premiered on September 23, 2022 at the Flamingo Inn Lounge in High Level. Its theatrical release included a week or so of showings in High Level as well as in theatres in Manning, Peace River, High Prairie, Camrose, St. Paul, Meadow Lake, Saskatoon and North Battleford.

It was amazing to watch our communities come together to make this production successful. From the dozens of local investors to the cast and crew to the event sponsors and volunteers, it takes a village to raise a great movie.

I am an extra in the film. When watching, make sure you notice the blonde girl walking down the street in front of High Level IDA. That’s me! I also helped sell Guitar Lessons merchandise at one of our local events, assisted with Mackenzie Frontier Tourist Association’s sponsorship of lanyards and helped with promotion.

Kayla Wardley, Jared Snyder and Alaura Wardley

My hometown of Zama City was one of the locations for the movie. My sister is also an extra in the film and my mom is an investor. The fact that this is a family affair makes me so proud.

The premiere at the Flamingo Inn Lounge was a full red carpet experience, complete with a movie theater concession. It was surreal and heartwarming to sit in a room full of people you know and see their reactions as we watched our businesses, homes, friends, familiar streets and our names roll through the credits.

The actors were all exceptional, but my favourite was High Level’s Kaden Noskiye who played Leland Parenteau, a lead role. Kaden is a local teenager, and this was his first acting experience. He did absolutely fantastic. He can also play a mean guitar solo.

Director Aaron James

Guitar Lessons is the story of an oilfield worker who was a well-known guitar player from yesteryear alongside a quick-witted high school student who insisted on receiving guitar lessons. Little did either know, they would quickly create a bond unlike any other.

The writer and director of the film, Aaron James, is from Dixonville, Alberta. He has impressive movie writing and directing experience, including Hank Williams First Nation (2005), which was shot in the Peace River area.

“My favourite part in Guitar Lessons is at the ending when Corb Lund and Kaden’s characters are sitting in the boat talking about the disposables, the rentals and the keepers,” said James. “It always brings a feeling of pride when I watch it.”

Being part of this movie was an amazing opportunity. I, as well as many others, take so much pride in this film. It has brought so many people together. We all thank the cast, crew, investors, volunteers and everyone else who had a part in the creation of Guitar Lessons. As a community, we made something special.

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