By Joel Dryden
CALGARY — Gods Acre, a local short film, is currently entering its final 10 days of an Indiegogo campaign – and has already raised nearly $15,000. The film, which stars Lorne Cardinal (of Corner Gas fame), focuses on the effects of change on a traditionalist aboriginal man. BeatRoute spoke to director Kelton Stepanowich about the film and the final leg of the crowdfunding effort.
BeatRoute: Who are you?
Kelton Stepanowich: My name is Kelton Stepanowich. I’m a Gemini, I like dinosaurs and turtles, I’m aboriginal and a filmmaker. Don’t know if those last two have any connection but they could. I’m the director of the upcoming short film Gods Acre starring Lorne Cardinal. Free Leonard Peltier and let’s get the Jay Electronica album out.
BR: What’s the film about?
KS: It’s about a traditionalist aboriginal man in a world that is forcing him to change. He is a bushman that lives on the same land as his family before him. Now, the global climate is changing and causing water levels to rise to the point his home is in danger. He is forced to leave his only home or adapt.
BR: Where did the idea for the film come from?
KS: My writing partner and co-writer of the piece Derek Vermillion came to me with the idea. It was originally pitched for a Telus competition called Storyhive. We didn’t win the competition but we just knew we couldn’t give up on the project. It’s all for the best we didn’t win because it forced us to work even harder on this project. We are at a point in the production where we are far beyond what we would have got for winning Storyhive so this just shows the kids at home to never give up.
BR: How did you get Lorne Cardinal on board?
KS: I met Lorne at an event he was emceeing in Fort McMurray. That was the day I really thought “this guy could play this role” and then once that thought came into my head I couldn’t think of anyone else as the role, which is kinda bad. You should never get your sights set on one actor because they literally might be in Denmark while you’re shooting and won’t work, even if you have the perfect script. Anyways, we reached out to his people, Lorne read the script, and we talked and he was on board. I’m very grateful he said yes to this project.
BR: Why did you choose to go the crowdfunding route?
KS: Crowdfunding is a great way to raise cash for the project. It’s also a very challenging one that doesn’t always work out. It takes a lot of work. The challenge excited me. Lets see if we can do this and make it work. I’ve seen people put up crowdfunding projects and not get a dime so I’m really thankful we have raised as much as we have now.
BR: Where will the money go?
KS: I’m planning on buying some type of yacht with it. No, it goes into the logistics of the film. We are shooting in a Northern Alberta community called Fort Chipewyan, so bringing up cast, crew, equipment, takes work. Building sets, costumes, props, lodging, travel, food, all that stuff costs money.
BR: Why would you encourage people to donate to the film?
KS: We are telling a story of a man trying to hold on to his identity as the world is trying to take it away, or at least try to figure out how to keep his identity during a time of change, change is the only true constant. It’s something that I feel Aboriginal people have been going through for some time now. This story is able to tell that without and we are going to have awesome scenes of water flooding everything. It’s gonna look so cool. I can’t wait for people to watch the film so after they finish it they can try to figure out how we did it.AB, Aboriginal film, Alberta, Corner Gas, crowdfunding, Fort Chipewyan, Gods Acre, Indiegogo, Kelton Stepanowich, Lorne Cardinal