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CHAINED Interview with Vancouver's award winning director, Titus Heckel

Updated: Jan 13, 2020

CHAINED, is a psychological crime thriller from Vancouver's award winning director, Titus Heckel and was filmed in Kelowna! We interviewed Titus as he wrapped principal photography.


Starring Adrian Holmes, Aleks Paunovic Andrea Auger and Marlon Kazadi


Telefilm-supported psychological crime thriller, CHAINED, the latest feature film from Vancouver-based award-winning writer and director Titus Heckel, started filming in Kelowna December 5th, 2019.

CHAINED focuses on Taylor, an abused and bullied 13-year-old and the friendship he forges with Jim, a criminal he discovered chained inside an abandoned warehouse.  A violent betrayal between the duo turns the abused into the abuser. With the consequences-and victims of Jim’s crimes closing in, Taylor finds himself in over his head.

Our family is growing! Welcome @adrianholmes and @andrea.agur to Chained 2020. So excited for this day! @telefilm_canada @creativebcs @superchanneltv @hollywoodsuite

Starring Aleks Paunovic (VAN HELSING, SNOWPIERCER) as Jim and rising star Marlon Kazadi (CHILD’S PLAY and the upcoming GHOSTBUSTERS 2020) as Taylor, the film also features Canadian Screen Award winning actor Adrian Holmes (star of 19-2 and the new Netflix series V WARS) as Taylor’s father, Pete. “We are thrilled to have this immensely talented trio on board to help tell this powerful, provocative story,” says producer Rachelle Chartrand. “With all the service work being done in the province, and country, it is a testament to the brilliance of the script and the complex characters Titus has created that Aleks and Adrian are doing a Canadian indie film at this stage of their illustrious careers. And to discover the young powerhouse, Marlon Kazadi, on the verge of breaking into stardom, is a gift.”

Fun times filming at the ‘Castillo house’ with @adrianholmes @marlonkazadi123, @andrea.agur and @roarkcritchlow!

The film has already garnered numerous accolades and secured broadcast deals with Super Channel and Hollywood Suite

Winners of the Telefilm sponsored JETS Program, an international coproduction and pitching competition held during the 2018 Berlin International Film Festival, the screenplay was also a semi-finalist in the 2018 Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting, which is put on by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Welcome @alekspaun! You’ve been a member of the team for awhile, but it is awesome to have you finally here to play for real!

CHAINED, along with producer Rachelle Chartrand, was one of 6 CDN features to be chosen for the Producers Lab at the 2018 Whistler Film Festival. CHAINED received development funding from the highly competitive Harold Greenberg Fund (Bell Media) as well as Creative BC, and is a recipient of 2019 Canada Feature Film Fund from Telefilm.

Crew and actress Leia Madu starring as Nora! It’s not just the lead actors who are rocking it! We have been so lucky to have found incredible talent for all our supporting roles here in Kelowna!

Teresa May Agency & Shawna Whitney

Leia Madu is a grade 9 student at Dr. Knox middle school. Leia was introduced to acting when she was 9 years old. She attended Kelowna Dance and Performing Arts, taking dance, then she discovered they offered a Musical Theatre program. Leia got the part of Annie, and fell in love. She took classes locally and performed in kids shows at Kelowna Actors Studio, Bumbershoot Theatre, New Vintage Theatre, Dr. Knox theatre and was introduced to Theatre Kelowna Societies Christmas shows by her Grandma Deb, whom she was on stage with last year. Leia was interested in pursuing acting further and asked her parents to find an agent for her. However because she was also involved in rugby, fieldhockey, soccer, voice lessons and attending middle school they were hesitant to search out an agent in Vancouver.

Then this past summer, they discovered a new local talent agency, Teresa May Agency. Teresa set a meeting with Leia and her parents, and due to Teresa's background knowledge, experience, and warmth Leia signed on with Teresa. Fast forward a year or so, and Teresa arranged an audition for Leia for the role of Nora, in the movie Chained. Leia got the part and is currently filming her first movie. Leia is very appreciative of the opportunity and excited to see more work happening in Kelowna.

THE TALENTED CREW - Costume designer Maxine Baker and Assistant CD @kristy_rempel, @jimcliffe Production Designer and @welbourne_lori.

Titus Heckel’s 2014 directorial debut, WITH CHILD, was shortlisted for the Cannes Film Festival and nominated for both the Best World Showcase at the SoHo International Film Festival and the Flash Forward Award at the Busan International Film Festival. Titus is also a multi-award-winning writer.

Lead producer Rachelle Chartrand is an award-winning producer, screenwriter and past-president of Women in Film & Television Vancouver. Rounding out the team is 15-year veteran producer Chester Sit, whose projects have been distributed on APTN, CBC, Super Channel and OMNI Television.

Rachelle Chartrand is an award-winning screenwriter, producer and past-president of Women in Film and Television Vancouver. Rachelle is president of My Precious Pictures as well as a cofounder and CEO of Ignite Worldwide Media, a new social-conscious media company with an innovative online audience engagement platform. 

MPP has a few projects in development. First up is the Telefilm supported feature film CHAINED, a psychological crime thriller written and to be directed in the fall of 2019 by Titus Heckel. Awards and accolades achieved so far include being a semi-finalist in the 2018 Academy Nicholl’s Fellowship, as well as being a winner in the Telefilm sponsored JETS Program, an international coproduction and pitching competition held during the Berlin International Film Festival (2018). The project has also received Polish & Packaging funding from the Harold Greenberg Fund. Rachelle was also one of six producers from across Canada chosen to participate in the Producers Lab at the 2018 Whistler Film Festival.

In addition to her work in film and media, Rachelle is a published author. She has a Bachelor of Secondary Education with a major in physics and minor in math. She has an eclectic teaching career as well.  In addition to teaching in the public school system, Rachelle has taught in South Korea and India, as well as an independent school for at-risk youth and young offenders in Burnaby, BC and a private education centre in Vancouver working primarily one-on-one with FASD, autistic and dyslexic students.  

Dec, 23, 2019, And it’s a wrap on this ‘one take wonder’ as Titus calls him! It’s really hard for me to express how grateful I am and what a superstar in the making @marlonkazadi123 is! He was our Taylor from the moment we saw him but he blew our expectations (and that of the entire cast and crew) out of the water! Behold my people, Marlon Kazadi has arrived.


Q & A with Titus Heckel

It's a day before Christmas Eve and we have on the phone, Titus Heckel. We are going to talk all things Chained. It's Titus’s new feature that was filmed in Kelowna and a dear friend of ours, Teresa May connected us with his PR. Titus , who is the director and the writer we have on the line and want to talk with him about his ever-growing career making films. CHAINED already has so many amazing accolades, and we cannot wait to see it. Producer Rochelle has been sharing on @mypreciouspictures behind the scenes of CHAINED. We are big fans of Adrian Holmes. We just watched him in the new series V Wars and he stars in the film!

Titus: Yes Adrian Holmes is amazing!

IHW: You literally had your wrap party today.

Titus: Yeah, yeah. Today was oddly enough my Producer's birthday, so we were able to celebrate that a little bit over drinks and, and discuss, how amazing it's been working together. Because of all the challenges involved and the memories associated with it right now it's still emotional for me and i'll never forget working with the stars and the amazing crew as well.

IHW: I feel that you love the family aspect of being on set. Is that right?

Titus: Yeah. I firmly believe that the only way that a film gets made and made well is if everyone needs to feel that they're a part of it and everyone needs to feel respected and honored. And as long as you're doing that, people tend to be kind and not letting egos get in the way.

IHW: I believe in my heart that film is one of the most important industries, if not the most, because what do we all do when we go home? We watch Netflix, we watch TV and Films for entertainment. We we want to be inspired. We want to get away from what's going on within our own world. It can be therapeutic but the people who are watching it don't necessarily know what the people are going through to create it.

So that's why I love interviewing because you can find out what did they go through, like the character in CHAINED they go through quite a bit. A young adolescent, a 13 years old who is being bullied.

Titus: The topics in the scenes that are being shot were definitely full of emotion.

Just chilling on the chilly set with the illustrious @adrianholmes who is knocking the heck out of this complex layered character! We can’t wait for everyone to watch his performance! So blessed to have him on board.

Stars @alekspaun and @adrianholmes on set together.

IHW: So tell us more about filming and all the amazing actors that you got to work with.

Titus: Our three actors who are the principal leads were incredible to work with. I couldn't have asked for a better cast. I can start with Adrian Holmes, who is just spectacular. I considered his performance to be pristine. I don't know if he intends to be that way but once he dials in the performance, it's always pristine and exactly what I was looking for. He's always on point. And I love that as a director.

Aleks Paunovic who plays the character Jim, he was such a creative guy. He always come up with new ideas to improve the performance and it was really lovely to have someone who is taking ownership of the role in such a creative way.