Cosplay model looks to bring documentary series to Barkerville

The wicked ways of Leeanna Vamp could have some righteous results for Prince George. It just needs a flurry of online votes on the StoryHive website.

The cosplay queen is one of the world's leading figures in Halloween culture and she fell in love with northern B.C. on past visits to this region, the most recent being the 2017 edition of Northern FanCon.

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That relationship overlapped with one of the area's leading film production crews. The team of Norm Coyne (FanCon's chief organizer), James Douglas (a senior manager at Barkerville), Kim Feragen (photographer and producer) and their creative collaborators soon had an exciting conversation going with the celebrity guest. Their filmmaking avocation (they are the same team that brought us award-winning feature film The Doctor's Case as well as the short-film Final Breath) and her penchant for the drama of the darkness met around the proverbial drawing board, and centred on the local national historic site of Barkerville.

Wicked Ways With Vamp is a documentary series concept that will, if the funding can be arranged, have its pilot episode shot in Barkerville telling one of the region's most compelling stories of the supernatural.

"Cosplay superstar Leeanna Vamp has travelled the world in search of the unknown," said Douglas, who is set to co-direct with Feragen. "Now her thirst for the unexpected is taking her deep in the mountains of British Columbia and the historic town of Barkerville where she'll seek to unravel the mystery of a haunted 19th century theatre. Her investigation will reveal the true story behind the ghost - gold rush pioneer Florence Wilson - a lady of many secrets in Barkerville. Join Vamp as she explores the unique town and unearths the surprising legacy of a Victorian apparition."

Wicked Ways With Vamp is in the running for the documentary competition held this week on the StoryHive website. Winners received production cash and other professional development opportunities.

The voting is underway now, one vote per project (you can vote for five total projects) each day until Thursday at noon.

Douglas said it was their current project, The Doctor's Case, that drew this concept together. Vamp saw the early cuts of the film when they were shown at FanCon in 2017, and she heard the panel discussion that ensued on the stage. She saw a team she wanted to work with.

Vamp is no newcomer to the screens of the world. As an actress she has appeared in the films Pool Party Massacre and Bob Freeman: Exterminator For Hire, and TV shows like Nightmares and Reaper Tales. See the theme? She takes part almost exclusively in projects that have fun with the horror genre.

She is even more accomplished for portraying her own reality character. Leeanna Vamp is her actual name, but it is also an eponymous alter-ego she has turned into a popular character in the cosplay industry. She is well on her way into the same pop-culture spaces as Elvira or Morticia Addams.

As a filmmaker, Douglas is antsy to roll the cameras on Vamp and her unique style of storytelling. As one of the chief champions of Barkerville, he is doubly excited that she wants to host a show with global reach that tells a tale from our local lore.

"It's feels great," he said. "I knew as soon as I became aware of her dual interest in the supernatural and historic places that we had to tell this particular story. It's one that has haunted (pun intended) us here at Barkerville for generations and over and above seeing if we can get to the bottom of all this 'theatre ghost' business, it's a great way to showcase the history of one of Barkerville's most intriguing characters. A character, as it happens, that we've been interpreting in Barkerville for 25 years now." 

© 2018 Reston Recorder

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