Goldbelt is now in the movies

Posted: Tuesday, May 23, 2000

The Native corporation for Juneau is producing a half-hour film now being shot in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The filming schedule moves June 4 to Ketchikan, where Goldbelt hopes to break ground this fall on a 110-seat ``Immersavision'' theater.

``The Eye of the Eagle'' is a work of fiction, although it's intended to share Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian culture and history with cruise ship passengers who will stop at the theater. It's an attraction that isn't weather-dependent, said Goldbelt President and CEO Gary Droubay.

The $600,000 film is being made by Boston Productions, which previously shot a cultural documentary being shown at the Mount Roberts Tramway, another Goldbelt property.

Droubay said Goldbelt is still working on the financing of the theater, which Goldbelt is doing in partnership with the landowner, Spruce Mill Development Co. The architect has neared completion of the drawings, and construction bids will be taken in the near future, he said.

Construction of the exterior is planned for late summer, with completion in four or five months, Droubay said. Interior work then continues with an eye toward a May 2001 opening, he said.

The story of the film concerns a young couple, a woman of mixed Native descent and her boyfriend, a New Yorker. The woman, Jessica, has brought her boyfriend, Matt, to Ketchikan to find a ``great treasure'' her grandfather spoke of on his deathbed.

Through misadventure on a ferry, they fall overboard.

``But suddenly, out of nowhere, the dark prow of an ancient canoe looms up beside them,'' says the script ``treatment.'' ``It is paddled by strong, silent Native men who seem to be from another time, and captained by Ch'aak' (`Eagle'), a mysterious, handsome Tlingit who dresses in clothing and regalia from long ago.''

From there, the action takes fantastical turns aimed at taking full advantage of a wide-screen theater. But there is also screen time being given to Native oral storytelling traditions.

The script treatment calls for scenes along the wooden sidewalk of Creek Street in downtown Ketchikan, as well as for plenty of wilderness footage on Prince Edward Island and elsewhere. Boston Productions describes it as ``history, travel, mythology and fun.''

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