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B.C. filmmaker to celebrate and satirize ‘the last earnest place on Earth’

Amy Bohigian will create six 10-minute episodes of sketch comedy focused on the charms of Nelson
Nelson filmmaker Amy Bohigian. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Nelson filmmaker Amy Bohigian has scored a funding deal to produce six 10-minute episodes of TV sketch comedy about the city.

The series, entitled Southern Interior, will be produced by Bohigian’s company Watershed Productions and a local technical and artistic crew for broadcast online in 2025.

Bohigian says she wants to “celebrate and satirize Nelson.”

Many outsiders are attracted to the uniqueness of Nelson, and she wants to help them satisfy that curiosity and also give them a few laughs.

“I want to show the rest of the world that there’s still an earnest, authentic place on planet Earth. Actually I call this the last earnest place on Earth.”

The series will appear on the web platform Kinda TV, which is the digital presence of Shaftesbury, a Canadian creator and producer of television and film. Bohigian has been developing this project for several years, but the agreement with Shaftesbury and a significant monetary backing from the Bell Fund has pushed Southern Interior into production.

Bohigian says Kinda TV is the type of platform that aspiring TV producers typically start with. It’s how unknown creators get their work out there, hoping to prove that they should be given further funding and hoping they get picked up by bigger players.

“None of the TV platforms really want to touch anything unless it has an audience built in already,” she says. “So it’s hard to get something out there that people don’t know yet and is not a proven commodity. So this is our chance to establish that this can be a really good show with a proven audience.”

Bohigian has already explored the many social layers in Nelson with dozens of short films and documentaries since 2012. Perhaps her best-known film is Only in Nelson, a full-length documentary about Nelson seen through the lens of the 2018 municipal election, available periodically on Knowledge Network. Her other documentaries include Dreamers and Dissidents, Queering the Interior, and Conceiving Family.

Southern Interior will be directed by Bohigian and produced by Gregory McKenzie, a veteran of film and TV production.

The pilot demo for the show was written by Bohigian and locals Sioux Browning, Michelle Hart, Lucas Myers, Jackie Atkins, Deryn Collier, Jon Ramos. The all-local cast was Myers, Hart, Hiromoto Ida, Ramos and Lynne Karey-McKenna.

Bohigian and Mackenzie will build out their team to fit the needs of the series.

The West Kootenay film community has long wanted to produce films locally, Bohigian says.

“We’ve often seen them as someone from the outside coming in,” she says. “With this, we’re growing our own. We’re not waiting for someone else to come here and spend their money. We’re actually creating our own infrastructure.”

John Wittmayer, film commissioner for the Kootenay Regional Film Commission, says this is exactly what his organization is trying to do.

“We are thrilled for [Bohigian],” he said. “Kootenay Film has been trying to focus on building a local, domestic production film industry for the Kootenay region, and it’s little productions like hers that’s going to help achieve that goal.”

Bohigian says the episodes will all take place in various locations that Nelson residents will recognize. The demo was shot at the Kootenay Co-op, Whitewater Ski Resort, and downtown on Baker Street.

One of the themes of the series will be Nelson residents’ high tolerance for each other.

“We have something here, an elasticity or whatever it is, that we’ve grown over the generations, and I’m exploring how we all live in our tight proximities and we somehow manage it. Even though at times we might hate it, or we get frustrated, we don’t know where else we’d rather be.

“I’m looking at the lens of living rurally not from the white male, straight perspective but from the perspective of why so many other marginalized groups also find a home here as well.”

But she does not want to be too earnest about this.

Bohigian wants us to laugh at ourselves and also be critical, or “bust the myths that we have about ourselves and at the same time celebrate them.”


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Bill Metcalfe

About the Author: Bill Metcalfe

I have lived in Nelson since 1994 and worked as a reporter at the Nelson Star since 2015.
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