Local Filmmaker Profile: Kelly Veltri

With the new year, we’ve decided to add new items to our growing website. The first of which will be monthly interviews with local Okanagan filmmakers.
And we’ve decided to start with Kelly Veltri.
Kelly has a long and successful career in the film world. He is the owner of Creative Empire Productions, has a successful equipment rental company (video.equipment) and is currently the Executive Director of OSIF.
We sat down with Kelly recently to ask him some questions, including what he saw as benefits to being a filmmaker in the Okanagan:
KELLY: Being here forces you to be collaborative and meet all the talent we have in town. Being part of this community allows you an opportunity to work with everyone and see who fits with your style and work ethic. I’ve been involved in some capacity at OSIF since 2003 and have probably watched more short films than anyone else in the area, and I love being able to watch people’s careers grow. And for a small town, we have some pretty big talent.
QUESTION: What do you like about the working in the Okanagan?
KELLY: We have some great locations. It’s a beautiful area and there are so many different landscapes and terrain – you can film whatever you want. But really…it’s a really cool and active Community to be a part of. And there are lots of people interested in the local film scene. OSIF is at its peak. Lots of programming, funding, and lots of organizations wanting to support us.
QUESTION: What piece of advice would you offer someone wanting to get involved in film in the Okanagan?
KELLY: Your best bet is to start networking. Start meeting the local filmmakers, because those are the people who you’re going to be working with. The only way to become a filmmaker is to make films, and if you want to make films you have to find a team. So, find your group. Find your people and start making films. Get on set and learn what you can and learn what you want to do. That’s big. Just start making films. They might not be yours to start off with, but help where you can. You do a favour for someone then when you’re ready to do one of your own, they can be there to help you. That’s how it works here. We have a good rhythm here with people making good films and enjoying each other’s company. That’s what it’s all about.
QUESTION: How would someone go about networking if they’ve just moved to town?
KELLY: Well, one of the first things you would do would be to check out OSIF and see what events are going on there. Or else go to the OSIF Facebook page. There are 1600 people there and it’s a great place to introduce yourself. You can also check out the crew list on the OFC site or at OSIF and just reach out to people. You’d be surprised at who answers. It’s just about being active and connecting with people. You’re never going to meet anyone if you don’t make an effort and reach out to them.
QUESTION: What’s different about being in the Okanagan than in other Communities?
KELLY: Well…you’re in the Okanagan! That’s number one. You’re in one of the most beautiful places in the world. There’s all sorts of different locations and terrain so you can shoot zombie movies and horror movies one day and a romance the next. We’ve pretty much got it all here.
QUESTIONS: Any final thoughts?
KELLY: There are lots of cool things happening in the Okanagan. Get out of your comfort zone. Go meet some people and check out some events. And if I haven’t met you yet, I’m looking forward to it.

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