Another interesting film project is due to start production here in Wood Buffalo this summer, namely Gods Acre, directed by Kelton Stepanowich with Lorne Cardinal as the protagonist Frank and Greg Lawson as sergeant Gordon.
Gods Acre is the story of a older Aboriginal man being forced to adapt to a constantly changing world. Climate change has altered the way people live, bringing droughts and floods to previously unaffected areas. His roots remained firmly planted in the customs his family passed on to him. Water is rising and swallowing the land his cabin stands on. Now, he must abandon his birthplace or adapt to the new conditions.
I had the opportunity to ask Kelton a few questions about the project.
What inspired you to write Gods Acre?
The concept was thought of when we were trying to think of a short film for this contest we wanted to win. We entered, but didn’t end up winning. As time went on we kept developing the story and got the script to this point now. It’s hard to say why this stuck with us so long, but I think it has to do with where our roots lie. Also, with the climate changing now it is going to eventually force people to change their lifestyles. We thought that was interesting to do, but in a very intimate and personal story instead of attempting to write some huge summer blockbuster.
What does this project mean to you personally?
I’m Aboriginal and have people in my family that still live in a traditional lifestyle. I’m also a believer in that change is the only constant. I’m curious how people will adapt when they are forced to change. To me this project is to bring up more questions than answers. To be a starter of a conversation.
What made you decide on Fort Chipewyan?
My writing partner Derek Vermillion suggested it to me. He used to live there and we both have family that still do. Besides our ties to Fort Chip, it’s a beautiful place and it looks great in the film. We also partnered with the Lake Athabasca Youth Council. We are going to give an opportunity to some of the local kids to learn from our experienced cast and crew.
What are your hopes for this project?
I hope to create a project I’m proud of that will stand the test of time and really make a statement. I hope the audience enjoys it and resonates with it. I can’t wait to learn and overcome the challenges Gods Acre will present. Its going to be a tough shoot but as a filmmaker I love to challenge myself. But none of it will happen unless people get out there and contribute to our Indiegogo campaign. If you are not familiar with Indiegogo it is a method of raising money for projects where people donate to a project online and receive perks (such as posters or dvds) for contributing! So check out our page and perk a perk that suites you!
They have also teamed up with the Non-Profit organization The Lake Athabasca Youth Council to create a film mentorship program. With this program local aboriginal youth will be given the opportunity to learn about specific fields of film making that they might wish to pursue in the future through on set film experience from Alberta film professionals.
To contribute to Gods Acre, visit their IndieGogo campaign page.
Gods Acre is scheduled to shoot during the summer of 2015 in Fort Chipewyan.
You can listen to an interview with Mix 103.7 with director Kelton Stepanowich and read about the project in Hollywood North Magazine.