Just a few months ago, Rob Merilees and Dave Valleau were executives and partners at Vancouver film production company Infinity Features, carrying on the work of their late mentor, William Vince.
Today they head a new company, Foundation Features, which on Monday began shooting its first feature film, Altitude. And while Merilees and Valleau have embarked in a new direction, Bill Vince is still a guiding light to both of them.
"We felt we were going in separate directions," says Merilees of their split with Infinity. "This is a new start, a new day, and we like to think that this is what Bill would have liked us to do, reinvent ourselves, since we did that a few times with Bill."
Vince's legacy permeates much of what Merilees and Valleau hope to do with Foundation, from his "never give up" mantra and firm decision-making to his belief that the film business should be fun.
Foundation's office in Chinatown is just blocks from Infinity's digs. All seven people who work at Foundation came from the film and television production side of Infinity, and Foundation will continue on in the direction that Vince, who died last June, had set for his partners: a mix of film and television projects; co-productions with other countries; and stories that have international appeal.
"We're just continuing on what we started with Infinity, trying to make high-quality, high-profile theatrical films and television shows that will last and stand the test of time," says Merilees.
Valleau stresses that while Canadian projects will be important, international appeal is a priority.
"We won't be limited to the Canadian-content films," says Valleau. "We're making films for the world market."