Quebecois filmmaker Louis Belanger has commenced principal photography on his first English-language feature, The Timekeeper, for Real Chabot of the Coop Video de Montreal.

Adapted by Belanger and Lorraine Dufour from the novel by Trevor Ferguson, the film stars Roy Dupuis, Craig Olejnik, Julian Richings, Gary Farmer, Wayne Robson, Gaston Lepage and Stephen McHattie. Dufour is also the editor and executive producer.

Set in 1964 against the backdrop of Canada's last great railway construction, the film explores the savage and exploitative conditions of the workers who toiled on the project. One wrong step can mean ejection into the bush hundreds of miles from any help. At the centre of the story is the new timekeeper for a work crew who begins to suspect that the foreman has a hidden agenda.

Filming is taking place near the mouth of the St. Lawrence River at the Port-Cartier wildlife reserve and in Sept-Iles from July 12 to August 23, for a total of 31 days.

Belanger, whose earlier films include Post-Mortem and Gas Bar Blues, is joined by Guy Dufaux as director of photography. The film is coproduced by Dean English and Karen Powell. Guy Belanger and Harry Manx are composing the score.

Backers include Telefilm Canada, the SODEC and provincial and federal tax credits. The film will be distributed by Christal Films in 2008.