Stettler and Old McDonalds Resort were the location of a macabre comedic television and web-based series, Abracadavers, airing this fall.
Alberta filmmakers Griffin Cork, Morgan Ermter and Josef Wright started production May 7 of season one of their road-tripping, comedic series filmed on location across Alberta and B.C. They filmed in Stettler in May 14-15.
“We think Stettler has a very wholesome and honest look and the sense of community is very present, so we were excited to work there,” said Executive Producer Griffin Cork.
“We want to show national audiences what Alberta has to offer and that means all of Alberta – not just the larger towns.”
Cork said with the Oscar buzz from The Revenant and Fargo, he believes in Alberta’s film scene.
And just what did the crew of Abracadavers shoot in Stettler?
Well, you will have to watch the series to find out.
“We filmed most of the final episode in the series, which means I can’t give too much away about the actual story we shot there but it was one of the final showdowns between the protagonists and antogonists,” said Cork. “It was a lot of revelations in terms of the protagonists’ character arcs and the dynamic of Chris and his friend group.”
Beach scenes at Old McDonalds resort
The crew shot scenes on the beach at Old McDonalds Resort and Campground.
“Old McDonalds’ large beach was the perfect setting for our confrontation,” said Cork. “The large space with the gorgeous natural, neutral background allowed for a lot of showcasing wide shots and over the shoulder angles. We loved the space and who doesn’t want a tense moment on a beach?”
Creating Canadian content
The producers took Abracadavers’ pilot to the Banff World Media Festival, where they were able to attract international and local interest. Their corporation Numera Films, teamed up with leading Edmonton production company Mind Engine Entertainment.
Telus Storyhive grant funded the project. Ermter, the series creator, credits Storyhive with getting Abracadavers off the ground.
“It’s nice to have somebody like Telus or Storyhive give credit to young bucks like us and see that there is merit in the work we create,” said Cork. “We have a passion to create original Canadian content and it’s amazing to have that opportunity.
Producers worked on Heartland, Fargo
Both Wright and Ermter have worked on independent films in Alberta, including Heartland, Fargo, El Chicano and Chokeslam. Cork, who stars in the Abracadavers series, was recently named 2018 Top 25 Influential Young Artists by the Alberta Foundation for the Arts.
Chris’ Mom died in a freak hair salon chair accident. Ever since then, he’s been attached to the chair responsible for her death.
Gabriel, Chris’ closest friend, believes this is more than an obsession and, along with their group of friends, kidnaps him on a trip.
On the road-trip everyone discovers, as Chris had previously begun to expect, that the salon chair gives those close to it superpowers.
Chris, on the other hand, comes to understand he’s in fact struggling with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and learns, along with his friends, that dealing with super-human abilities is sometimes easier to grapple with than what’s going on in your mind.
The group trips, stumbles, but ultimately works and grows together to understand their newfound abilities, and more importantly, themselves.