Gods Acre: Q&A with Kelton Stepanowich

Gods Acre is an upcoming short film project by Aboriginal filmmaker Kelton Stepanowich of Fort McMurray. Stepanowich seeks to tell the story of an elderly aboriginal man who must adapt to the new lifestyle of a constantly changing world, though he feels he is better living alone in a cabin in the forest. You can help donate funds to his project here.

Q: What was the inspiration for the story of Gods Acre?

A: Gods Acre is based on a few different things. The lead (played by Lorne Cardinal) is partly based on the stories and knowledge my co-writer, Derek Vermillion, have on our grandfathers & families. Our grandfathers were Aboriginal trappers who lived on the trapline off the old ways. It’s something we aren’t that far removed from and the stories of these older aboriginal people are usually not in the media, unless it’s in a documentary. That motif is great for creating a character who has his own troubles, conflictions, and values, especially since the character is in isolation dealing with the effects of the outside world. As per the water stuff, I think we were just watching a lot of documentaries and videos on climate change, so it all came together natural.

Q: What do you foresee as your greatest challenge in making the film?

A: Faking a flood definitely. In the film the land is being engulfed by water, so how do we do that on location as practical as possible whilst being efficient and cost effective? We are building a cabin that we have to move into the water to simulate the flooding. So creating a mobile trapper cabin that looks almost 100 years old is a challenge but one that’s gonna be very rewarding, ’cause its going to look awesome.

Q: What would you like the audience to take away from it?

A: I hope the audience enjoys it (laughs). I hope they can take something away from it and form their own opinion about what it means and where the themes come from. I think I’ll know we have made a great film when people start coming up with their own ideas on what it means.

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