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Port Moody director's film project draws 58,000 Xbox fans

Anthony Bortolussi's commercial for the Xbox 720 has all the hallmarks of a big-budget ad for a video game console: explosions, beautiful women, a helicopter chase and shootouts.

Anthony Bortolussi's commercial for the Xbox 720 has all the hallmarks of a big-budget ad for a video game console: explosions, beautiful women, a helicopter chase and shootouts.

But there is one difference between the 26-year-old Port Moody man's production and those put together in Hollywood or New York - Bortolussi's piece is a final project for film school.

"It started with a clip I had of a helicopter flying low over the city," he said. "I thought it would be cool if a guy was being chased by the helicopter."

More than 58,000 YouTube hits later, the commercial is garnering a lot of attention in the video game world. It has also shone a spotlight on the Capilano University student's film-making talents and he said he has received several inquiries and job opportunities as a result.

"I am working full-time as a director," he said. "I have booked some other jobs through it."

The clip starts at a pool party when a awkward, shirtless young man - Tri-City actor Joel McCarthy - strikes up a conversation with an attractive woman in a bikini who is less than interested in talking to him. To impress the woman, McCarthy's character recounts the events of the previous evening, when he had to fight past guards in order to deactivate a nuclear weapon and save the city.

The audience learns at the end of the story that McCarthy is actually describing a video game he was playing.

"We designed it to be viral," Bortolussi said. "We designed it for our core audience, which is young males."

It took two 15-hour days to shoot the project and post-production lasted about three weeks, he said. Most of the actors are Capilano University students who volunteered for the project and the special effects were also done for free.

Even the location was free as the pool party scenes were shot at Bortolussi's parent's Coquitlam home (a tent was used to keep rain from ruining the shoot).

Bortolussi said he is continuing to add to his portfolio with short clips and commercial work, and he is even working on a feature film.

A move to California is also a possibility, he added, so he would be closer to the directing jobs he enjoys.

"I am definitely working toward that," he said. "I am building myself up through commercials. I think at some point I am moving to Los Angeles."

For more information and to see the clip, go to www.anthonybortolussi.com. Or you can go to YouTube and search for "XBOX 720 Live Action Announcement Trailer."

gmckenna@tricitynews.com