Synopsis: Lewis Coleman is a lone sheriff tasked with watching over the vast lands and valleys of Brada County. When an environmental aberration stirs the town and reports begin to come in regarding a mysterious animal roaming the surrounding farmlands, the mayor of the small community of Sombra Hollow insists on bringing in Sara Keegan, an environmental expert and zoologist, to advise them.
As this situation worsens, the sheriff’s two children, Tanya and Carey, become more curious of the situation surrounding the town. When a local couple disappears from a county football game, Lewis and Sara race to discover the mystery of the animal that stalks the countryside before more townsfolk, and possibly Lewis’ children, venture further into harm’s way.
From the press kit: Prairie Dog is a feature film modeled on the monster movies of the ’40s and ’50s, a playful genre of scares and adventure, designed to pay homage to the practical visual and makeup effects artists and films pioneered throughout this genre; utilizing crafted, atmospheric miniature environments, creature and prosthetic makeup design, hand-crafted acrylic matte paintings, as well as the overall cinematic aesthetics and photography needed for the adventurous tone of the story. The draw for C. Blake Evernden in the writing and production of Prairie Dog was in being able to challenge himself and others to craft another ambitious production, but this time focus the ambition on the physical and visual creation of the world rather than on an expansive cast. The genre of the monster-adventure is one where the environment has to be crafted as a believable housing for the narrative’s creatures. The challenge was to use all resources and skills to craft miniatures, matte paintings and forced perspective photography to create a heightened reality to the location so the monsters appearance felt more organic to the design of the picture. The creature work itself was be attained through a mixture of full-size, head and shoulder creature fabrication, three-quarter scale rod puppetry mixed with miniature elements, and a connective tissue of CGI elements to blend all the visual ideas together. “I’ve always held an affinity for the fabricated, physical effects of filmmaking”, Evernden explains. “From the pioneering work of Jack Pierce and Lon Chaney Sr., to the physical worlds of Douglas Trumbull and Richard Edlund, the illusion of a reality based on hand-crafted design is mesmerizing to me”. This affinity extended to conducting water tank experiments for the surreal opening title sequence, as well as for the aggresive cloud footage to be utilized later in the production. The initial story designs for Prairie Dog were inspired by the landscape of Southern Alberta, Canada, and ultimately that landscape is what gives the scope of the narrative its grandeur and atmosphere. The landscape is what gave a small but ambitious story of family and community faced with a changing world and the balance, or imbalance, of nature its life blood. It’s a story both universal in character, relationship and detail, as well as being unique to its specific artistry, place and time.
Prairie Dog stars John Bowers, Kathy Zaborsky, Ashlin Malik, Liam McMahon, Douglas MacArthur, Sebastian David, Daniel Howard, and Carly James. It is written, produced and directed by C. Blake Evernden.
I asked Evernden about a release date and he told me, ” (I) Wish I did. We’re in the process of talking with a few companies, sending it out to fests, etc. I’ll let you know when there’re developments on that front.”
I’m looking forward to Prairie Dog; from the trailer it looks like it’s going to be a blast. I’ll try to find out more from C. Blake Evernden about a release date and let you all know as soon as possible. Until then enjoy the trailer and the poster below.