Those planning to take in the film “Lakewood” at Cinéfest International Film Festival will get a chance to see Sudburian Colton Gobbo in action.
“Lakewood,” directed by veteran Australian filmmaker Phillip Noyce and shot in North Bay, is Cinéfest’s Friday night gala film.
Gobbo, 21, stars in the film alongside Academy Award-nominated British actress Naomi Watts, who plays his mom.
A description of “Lakewood” provided by the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), where it was also recently screened, is as follows:
“Amy Carr (Naomi Watts) is out for what should have been a restorative morning run when a friend calls with terrifying news: authorities are in pursuit of an active shooter, and her teenage son, Noah (Colton Gobbo), may be caught in the middle.
“Deep within a network of forest paths surrounding her home, miles from town and nearly overwhelmed by panic, Amy refuses to succumb to hopelessness.
“With her smartphone as her sole means of intervention, she will draw upon every resource she can think of to ensure that her son survives the attack.”
Gobbo, who is currently working in St. John’s, Newfoundland on a CBC series called “Son of a Critch,” said he was able to fly out for the TIFF screening earlier this month, but unfortunately won’t be able to make it to the Cinéfest screening.
However, many of his family members and friends will be in attendance.
He said the TIFF screening was a “really cool experience,” as it was the first time he’d ever been to the film festival, let alone to watch something he’d worked on.
Gobbo attended the now-defunct St. Raphael Catholic Elementary School and then St. Charles College in Sudbury, and recently graduated from George Brown College’s theatre program.
He’s been working in the film and television industry since he was 13 years old, and also participated in local theatre troupes, including YES Theatre and Theatre Cambrian.
His film and TV credits include the Netflix series “Ginny & Georgia”, the film “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” and the television series “Titans”.
“The way I look at it, being an actor and stepping into these different characters’ shoes gives you the chance to experience so many different things that you wouldn’t be able to do in your normal life,” Gobbo said.
He said he enjoyed having Naomi Watts as his movie mom.
“She is a tremendous actor,” Gobbo said. “It was honestly a pleasure to get to work with her the amount that I did, and just to watch her do her thing. I’m very, very grateful for that opportunity.”
“Lakewood” was filmed in North Bay a year ago, in the fall of 2020. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, health and safety precautions were “tremendously strict” for the cast and crew.
“The cast and crew were getting tested three times a week on set,” Gobbo said, adding that COVID restrictions also meant there was a very small crew.
“A lot of people were working quite hard. People were wearing a ton of hats, doing all kinds of different jobs.”
Gobbo said he hopes everyone attending Cinéfest enjoys the film.
“I truly wish I could have been there to see it in person in my hometown, but I will absolutely be there in spirit,” he said.
Cinéfest International Film Festival, which started last weekend and continues until Sunday, is presenting its films in a hybrid format this year, meaning many films are available to watch either in-theatre or at home.
“Lakewood” is available in both formats. Tickets are available on the film festival’s website.