Philip Sutton with producer/director Robert Vince on the set of the third Pup Star movie; currently in production at the Mary Winspear Centre. (Tim Collins)

Pup Star 3 takes the stage at Sidney’s Mary Winspear Centre

Tim Collins/News staff

Movie magic is being made at the Mary Winspear Centre and theatre manager Phillip Sutton couldn’t be more pleased.

It seems that Tiny, the adorable Yorkie that starred in Pup Star and the sequel, Pup Star: Better 2Gether, is back in town and immersed in her latest project, Pup Star III: World Tour. She’s joined by David DeLuise, Madison Pettis, Danny Woodburn and Jed Rees who help tell the story of our intrepid canine star as she undertakes her first world tour.

Producer/Director Robert Vince, the man behind Air Bud and the entire Buddie series, introduced us to Tiny in 2016, taking us into a world where dogs can not only talk; they can sing and participate in an America’s-Got-Talent-like competition.

The current movie production is the third in the series and it has transformed the Mary Winspear Centre into, well, anything it needs to be.

“We were looking at sites for Pup Star II and when we found the Mary Winspear Centre we knew we had the right spot,” said Vince.

He explained that the production company was prepared to build a theatre on a separate set, but at Mary Winspear, they had a theatre already in place. With the use of some movie magic, that theatre has been transformed into performance space in NYC, China, Nigeria and more; all with a few changes in set dressings and the use of green screens.

“This location is awesome. We have a mini studio here to work with with all the amenities we need and a professional staff who have made the whole experience incredible,” said Vince.

Sutton, the theatre manager at the Mary Winspear Centre couldn’t be more thrilled with the situation.

“They were here in the fall filming the second Pup Star movie and were very happy. We have some great facilities here that they just couldn’t find anywhere else on the Island,” said Sutton.

As he toured the PNR through the production area, he pointed out some of the features of the Centre that made it an ideal filming location.

“We have this auditorium space where we can open the big doors and drive vehicles right in. They used that, in conjunction with green screens, to create a street scene right inside the building. We also have ample parking available for production vehicles and indoor space for green rooms, hair and make-up, costumes, and production offices. It’s all available here.”

Sutton said that the success of the production at the Mary Winspear Centre has set the stage for other film productions to come to Sidney.

“Word gets out and other production companies start giving serious consideration to our facilities as locations for making their films. It’s a great revenue source for us and I hope we see more of these kinds of productions.”

The importance of that revenue to the Centre’s operations is enormous, said Sutton.

“We are, first and foremost, a community centre and a non-profit. But in order to be able to provide reduced costs or free access to events like the annual Toy Drive or the Christmas Dinner that we annually host, we have to make up that revenue somewhere. So when a production like this comes into our facility, it sets the stage for a lot of community events,” he said.

“Of course, there’s that other thing, too. Watching movies get made is just a lot of fun,” he added with a smile.

Production of the latest Pup Star installment will continue at the Mary Winspear Centre until September 19.