The first Alaskan feature film created by an Inuit writer and director, and featuring an entirely Inuit cast, may never make it onto the silver screen unless the creators raise enough money for distribution.
On the Ice is a dramatic thriller set in the village of Barrow, based on two young men who become involved in a tragic accident that kills a boy. Andrew MacLean, the film's writer and director, says the movie is about trying to get away with murder. It's a character study of these two young men, how they make choices and how they survive something like this, MacLean said.
MacLean grew up in Barrow and Fairbanks and says he wanted this film to explore what village life is like for a younger generation coming of age influenced by the modern world, but proud of their heritage and traditions.
The movie is based on the short film Sikumi, which was made in 2008 and won the highest honor for a short film at the Sundance Film Festival.
The short's success allowed MacLean to expand on the story with On the Ice, which was shot last year in Barrow with a film crew of about 30 people.
According to MacLean, Alaska has a bright future in the the film industry and the film tax credits are kindling interest among producers. However, he says, the public interest will always be there.
"Alaska has so much to offer. It has obviously some of the most incredible scenery in the world. It's got a real depth of stories that people really haven't mined yet," says MacLean. "People haven't pulled these stories yet and that's a great thing."
On the Ice debuted at Sundance in January and received much acclaim along the film festival circuit. But despite the applause, distribution of a film with a no-name cast is difficult, says Cara Marcous, one of the film's producers.
The creators of the film launched a fundraising campaign on Kickstarter.com with a goal of raising $80,000. The money would give people the chance to see the film on the big screen. The fund-raising effort for On the Ice ends Thursday, Sept. 8.
To donate, visit the film's Kickstarter page.