For this week’s edition, I spoke with Rob Brown, producer, writer, director and more about the feature film Sukunka, a thrilling and action-packed mix of comedy and horror.
Our conversation spanned the breadth of Sukunka project, inspirations and the process of realization.
Rob Brown wears several hats. He is an editor, journalist, producer, photographer, playwright and actor.
While Sukunka is his first feature film as a director, his years in theater and film have helped him prepare for the tasks of writing, acting, directing and producing the film.
Not only has he been writing for over 30 years, he’s produced plays for 15 of them. He co-founded the Tumbleweed Theater in Brooks, Alta., And worked briefly with Stage North, a theatrical entertainment company based in Fort St. John.
The inspiration for Sukunka the movie struck when he attended the Sukunka Valley Awakening Music Festival in 2016. Struck by the beautiful valley backdrop, Brown hand-wrote a script for the film the following weekend.
Over the next two years, those words on one page – the puzzling tale of mysterious massacres in the woods, a greedy mayor flouting public safety, and worried conservation officers took on a larger form as a full-length film production.
Rob’s elevator pitch for the movie was, Like Jaws, but with bears.
Since the pandemic struck – Brown calls it a classic and timely story of communal law against individual liberty; as public gatherings are disrupted as the community fights an unseen enemy.
As an almost entirely local production, the film has a unique appeal. Familiar landscapes, such as Sukunka Valley, Pouce Coupe Village, Swan Lake, Kin Park, and Chetwynd District are the filming locations.
Ron Cartier behind the camera and Hank Bridgeman in charge of freshman cinematography.
It has a local cast, with Brown and Sarah Weiss playing conservation officers advocating for public safety, Paul Brent as the antagonistic mayor, and Gary Vincent as the Cooper Matthews bear expert (a nod to the Jaws shark expert, Matthew Hooper).
The film also includes a soundtrack starring the Raspy Devils, as well as many other local musicians from the Peace region, including Marty Peterson.
Sukunka features cameos from several well-known people – who only bring character to the area – like Patty Martin of the Rolla Pub, Charles Kux-Kardos of the Alaska Hotel and the late writer Robin Gibson.
Significantly, Sukunka is locally funded because it has received funding over three years from the Village de Pouce Coupe.
He says his success with the village council is due to the concrete nature of the film.
He plans to submit it to major film festivals, from the Reel Shorts Film Festival in Grande Prairie and Calgary Horror Con to VIFF and TIFF.
As if creating a film weren’t ambitious enough, a line of Sukunka merchandise, including toys and a Hardy Boys, thriller-style children’s book based on the film’s plot. SukunkaThe release of will also be accompanied by a series of music videos by artists from the soundtrack and more.
Stay tuned for the 2022 release of this one-of-a-kind production featuring the landscapes and talents of the Peace Region.
Discover the Facebook trailer HERE
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