TORONTO — Stephen Hegyes, producer of Toronto Intl. Film Festival opening-night pic “Last Wedding,” has created production company Brightlight Pictures in partnership with Vancouver producer Shawn Williamson.

Vancouver-based outfit will develop, finance and produce pics by West Coast filmmakers. Brightlight will also be heavily involved in service productions for foreign producers lensing in Vancouver.

Hegyes hopes to tap into the growing community of helmers west of the Rockies, and the Brightlight slate includes projects with a number of Vancouver’s best-known directors.

On the slate is “Last Wedding” helmer Bruce Sweeney’s next project, “American Venus,” a drama about a group of struggling actresses in Vancouver. It will shoot next fall.

“Last Wedding,” which generated strong critical buzz after its world preem here Thursday, is the first Vancouver pic to open the Toronto festival.

Brightlight will also be producing the latest feature from helmer Mina Shum, the Chinese-Canadian co-production “Golden Orchid Society,” a period piece set in China.

In addition, Hegyes and Williamson’s company is developing “Shit Loves Linda,” penned by Penny Gay and directed by James Dunnison, and “Peachland,” a co-production with Toronto-based Triptych Media.

Spicy ‘Punch’

The first projects to shoot will be dark sex comedy “Punch,” written and directed by Vancouver-based Guy Bennett, and the service production “Homeroom.”

There will also be some upscale TV fare on the Brightlight agenda, notably the satirical series “Alienated,” a tale of aliens in suburbia created by Mark Sawers. Within a couple of years the company will expand its development slates to eight to 10 pics annually.

Allison Laing will head Brightlight’s development department.

Hegyes was the executive producer on Sweeney’s previous pic “Dirty,” produced Shum’s “Double Happiness” and “Drive She Said,” and was producer’s rep on Lynne Stopkewich’s “Kissed” and John Pozer’s “The Grocer’s Wife.”

Williamson was previously president of Vancouver-based service producer Shavick Entertainment, where he oversaw the production of “The Addams Family,” “Los Luchadores” and “Hollywood Offramp.”