General News

King native finds his niche in the film industry

June 13, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Mark Pavilons

A King City native enjoyed working with some of Hollywood’s finest, but his career journey was far from typical.
Jeff Poulis, a graduate of King City Secondary School, has a very shiny memento to show for his hard work.
Poulis and his team won an Academy Award for Production Design and Set Production for The Shape of Water, directed by Guillermo del Toro. It drew international praise as one of Del Toro’s most stunningly successful works.
Poulis said he’s worked with del Toro on five productions over the past 22 years. The first was the 1997 sci-fi horror “Mimic.”
“We were all pretty amazed at his talents back then. He introduced a style of vision and design that was a welcome change to the industry,” Poulis said.
“Getting to sculpt on his sets and receive his thoughts and critique is well, a rush. Not everything is rosy and perfect while making a movie, but the journey getting there and the teamwork involved is what drives our crew.”
Poulis said a core team has been working together for a number of years now, and he’s known most of them for 20-plus years as fellow colleagues.
“Very talented Canucks we are!”
Poulis recently wrapped up working on the latest DC Comics superhero movie “Shazam.” He’s working for the next five months on another Hollywood sequel.
Poulis has been “entertaining people all my life.”
He said he realized at a very early age that he was very good at getting and keeping that attention.
He was a perfect fit for the film industry, but he didn’t know it at the time.
He recalled playing a lot of sports growing up, and during his years at KCSS he played hockey, volleyball, basketball, gymnastics and track & field.
After graduating in 1981, he joined the work force, learning retail at Simpson-Sears.
“But something else that had been around me all my life was about to present itself.”
His father, William G. Poulis, was a cameraman and film producer, and during the summer growing up, he would occasionally take Jeff to work with him on news stories for the CBC.
In 1984, his world changed drastically. Her sister Andrea had followed their father into the industry and through her, Jeff was given an opportunity to join film union IATSE #873.
“In the film industry, I had instant success with directors, producers, actors and cameramen, because I took care of all the details that were going in front of the camera lenses. Now I had their attention. My career as a property master had begun. I was 22 years old.”
Poulis admitted he made some mistakes, but he learned a lot in that first year, “and I’ve never stopped learning to this day.”
His first TV show was in 1985, on ABC’s Pippi Longstocking. He created props, outfitted actors with accessories and filmed on a pirate ship.
The last three decades have been very rewarding for him. He had gained the trust of his peers, and was working on Hollywood feature films.
“I developed terrific friendships with members of the film community, and am proud of many of the movies that I’ve helped create.”
Some film highlights included Sea Of Love, The Cutting Edge, The Santa Clause, Fly Away Home, Finding Forrester, Cinderella Man and most recently the Academy Award Winning Best Picture, Spotlight.
He also managed to find himself acting in front of the cameras a few times, notably in Fly Away Home, and in a very special TV film called First Do No Harm.
“Yours truly got to act in a scene with Meryl Streep. Highly recommended.”
Poulis said going to work every day and entertaining people worked for him.
“And I still have their attention!”



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