is a fictional film set in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Located in the middle of a vast and sparsely populated prairie landscape, Saskatoon is a unique and strange place that produces an abundance of odd and profound characters. In the tradition of the modern anthology movie (such as “Slacker“, “Gummo” and “My Winnipeg“), this film grasps at the peculiar spirit of a place and time by following a large assortment of the city’s citizens. As it weaves together both disturbing and comic events, city and country landscapes, and a diverse array of characters, it serves as an open reflection on the things in our lives that appear (much as the city itself) as simultaneously absurd and profound.
Us, the Place and the Film
We are pleased to present you our latest film project, “Where the Ground Won’t Shake.” This fictional film takes place in and around the Canadian prairie city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. In recent years the region has become our muse as our previous film and photo series were both shot in the province. As observers and artists, the land is interesting for many reasons. But what really sticks out to us is that it is a place of such potent contradictions. For example, Saskatoon is in the middle of a vast flat prairie, yet names many of its neighbourhoods as “heights,” “mounts” and “hills.” Often humorous, at times disturbing, always perplexing, the paradoxical spirit of the place provides a vast source of compelling characters and stories.
This film is our attempt to tap into the spirit of a place that we find so compelling. It is structured as an anthology character film that chronicles the lives of several of the city’s inhabitants. Some notable characters are a young midwife, a pastor who loses his faith, and a traveller who is attempting to navigate the landscape. The film is part drama, part documentary and part dark-comedy.
The film will be shot entirely in Saskatchewan with a very small crew in July and August 2011. Although we will be using actors to play some of the parts, the bulk of the characters will be non-actors. The non-actors will be playing loosely scripted versions of characters that they themselves inspired. We’ll work with them in a process that is similar to a documentary approach. This shooting style is more fluid than most conventional films and works towards the inclusion of naturally compelling characters dealing with real world drama.
UPDATE: We arrived home with about 40 hours worth of footage from the two months of filming. We’re pleased with what we captured.
For me, the best part of the summer was the people we worked with. From our actors, to our production volunteers, to the business owners who offered their locations, to our wonderful friends and family – it was a pleasure to spend time with everyone.
Here’s a slideshow of production photos: