A unique short film project wrapped production in Grande Prairie last year. Based on the Hans Christian Andersen story, The Little Mermaid, the dramatic horror film is the centrepiece of a new internship program conceived by Eldritch Media, a local film production company interested in nurturing the ambitions of community members seeking professional film industry experience. It’s also part of a drive to open more opportunities and stimulate the film industry in the Peace Region in northwest Alberta.
Grande Prairie at a Glance
- Population 69,355
- Median Family Income $118,270
- Unemployment Rate 9.7%
- Residential Vacancy Rate 9.7%
- Life Stress 23.3%
- Sense of Belonging 65.8%
Source: Government of Alberta
The Distillery is another independent film and video production company with roots in the northern Albertan municipality of Grande Prairie that has distinguished itself in the province’s filmmaking landscape. In 2019, the company’s founders, Gordie Haakstad and Chris Beauchamp, received Best Director and Screenwriter, and Best Cinematographer Rosies (Alberta Film & Television Awards), respectively, for Aeternitas, a dramatic short film they shot and produced in Grande Prairie.
Reflecting on the more than 80 people who contributed to the film, Beauchamp sees the project as a collaboration among the local community, and demonstrates why he wouldn’t want to make a film anywhere but Grande Prairie.
It also helps that northern Alberta’s filmmakers are supported by the Peace Region Independent Media Arts Association (PRIMAA), a non-profit society founded in 2013 to support and develop film and digital media artists throughout the Peace Region of northern Alberta and British Columbia by providing access to education, collaboration, resources and exhibition.
Grande Prairie also attracts film and television projects beyond its back yard. The Edmonton-based production company, A Little Late Films, has chosen the city to shoot Spearphishing 2, a feature film sequel with a planned release for 2022, because, as Tim McKort, the company’s owner enthuses, Grande Prairie has “a really good film community.”