Monday, July 11, 2016

Oregon Community Rallies Around Local Feature Project

Writer-director Barri Chase has already banked one hearty level of endorsement for her Oregon independent film project and narrative with an anti-bullying message. Among those who have purchased $5,000 shares for the project currently shooting in and around the Coos Bay area are more than a dozen schoolteachers.

According to a report in local newspaper The World, 90 of the film's 100 shares have been sold, for a very impressive total of $450,000. Part of that money has gone to a pair of name actors in supporting roles: Adam Beach and his co-star from 2002 movie Windtalkers, Roger Willie. The rest are locals.

The Watchman's Canoe is based on Chase's experiences as a young girl growing up on an Indian reservation north of Seattle. She later moved to Oregon and after recently completing graduate studies at the University of Arizona, had returned home to take care of her dying mother:

"I had gone into the basement and saw the totem pole we brought here with us from the reservation near Seattle. I uncovered it and the whole film came to me. I wrote it in two and a half weeks.”

The film is set in 1969. Playing the role of eight-year-old Jett, a fair-skinned Native American girl who turns to nature for solace in the face of bullying, is Kiri Goodson, 10.

Another interesting element of the project is Clan-Destine, the Native American pop music group lending their talents for the film's soundtrack. In 2014, the band released a single benefiting U.S. veterans titled "One More Warrior Coming Home."

Chase started in earnest in 2009, making shorts and music videos. Her feature debut, which will wrap later this month, may also, she predicts, turn other filmmakers on to the beauty of the southern Oregon coast.

[The Watchman's Canoe]

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