The beauty of the Creston Valley has struck again, and this time it’s caught the eyes of Saskatchewan filmmakers Nils Sorenson and Leanne Schinkel.
The pair — he the writer-director and she the producer, both University of Regina film school graduates — were in Creston from Aug. 8-11 to shoot the trailer for an online fantasy series, Mila’s Fountain, in which a Sirdar waterfall will play a major role, the solution to a seemingly hopeless problem.
“We were going to build a stone fountain on a stage,” said Sorenson. “We thought it was a good idea for a while.”
“It was the only idea for a while,” added Schinkel with a laugh.
The series, which will be comprised of 11 eight-minute episodes to be shot next summer, concerns the Wanderer, a man who discovers the fountain and its initially hostile resident, Mila. The pair develops a rapport, and the series follows their intimate conversation.
As Sorenson conceived it, that conversation would be a short film, but he decided to reveal the characters’ pasts through flashbacks.
“Every character gets more room to breathe,” said Sorenson, a longtime fan of fantasy, particularly the work of J.R.R. Tolkien. “The intricacy between the characters is what it’s all about.”
“We had a notion that a short film wouldn’t do justice to the world he created,” said Schinkel. “Now we get the rich tapestry behind the story, and the audience will really respond to that.”
It was a total coincidence that they found the waterfall, which is located on private property.
While working on a feature-length documentary, The Last Steamship: The Search for the S.S. City of Medicine Hat, last year, Sorenson visited the S.S. Moyie in Kaslo. While driving along the East Shore on Highway 3A, he stopped to stretch his legs and heard rushing water — and the rest is history.
After two years of working on the documentary about the 130-foot vessel that sank in Saskatoon in 1908, Sorenson and Schinkel are enjoying the chance to get back into narrative storytelling.
Last week, they returned with director of photography Preston Kanak and five underwater lights to illuminate the waterfall at night. They will be back next summer with the series’ stars — and more lights — to shoot the 11 episodes, which Sorenson is looking forward to.
“Every time we turn on the lights, I get all excited and tingly,” said Sorenson.
For more information, visit www.milasfountain.com or follow the production on Facebook and Twitter.