”Peaks and Valleys,” a documentary project following the search for missing Sun Peaks resident Ryan Shtuka, will be one of 30 projects to receive funding through Telus’ Storyhive this year.
The three filmmakers who submitted the pitch will receive $50,000 as well as assistance from an industry mentor to make their dream project a reality. Storyhive, which works with the National Screen Institute, chose 15 projects through public voting and another 15 through a board decision.
Jared Featherstone said his team is ecstatic with the news and excited to begin more work on the project, adding they also received an additional $7,500 from Creative BC.
Featherstone and fellow filmmaker Russ Walton both hail from Kamloops, B.C. and spent time in Sun Peaks, making the story of Shtuka’s disappearance especially relevant to them.
“It’s a situation everyone I know has been in, walking at night in Sun Peaks. His disappearance grabbed our attention on a personal level,” said Featherstone, adding that once they began to see the efforts of search and rescue and other volunteers it became clear the situation was something they wanted to work on.
“We want to tell their stories as well, tell the story of the community coming together.”
The project pitch included a budget for the the awarded funds which have already been earmarked for production expenses, equipment purchases, rentals and travel to Beaumont, Alta., Shtuka’s hometown.
“We wouldn’t have been able to do this project without that $50,000.”
Their team plans to meet with the Shtuka family soon to go over the process and how they want to tell the story, as well as to plan logistics and schedules.
“We know this is a sensitive subject and we have a good rapport with his family and we’ve done the legwork to establish a relationship with them. We want to tell this story with due care and due diligence,” he said, adding his journalism training will assist them in the process.
Featherstone also thanked those who voted and the media who helped them to show Storyhive there was strong audience for the film.
The finished documentary will be 15 to 20 minutes in length and will be featured on Telus platforms in summer 2019.