Eden Robinson and her latest award-winning novel, Son of a Trickster. (File photo)

Film crews to shoot Monkey Beach in Kitimat and Kitamaat Village

Award-winning Haisla author Eden Robinson talks about her first novel’s adaptation to the screen

More than 17 years after Kitimat author Eden Robinson’s first novel Monkey Beach hit the shelves, the book is being adapted to the big screen.

This summer and fall, filming crews will be shooting the movie in Kitimat and Kitamaat Village in the northwest of B.C., where the award-winning novel is set.

“That would be incredible. Having the opportunity for our youth and people in the community to work on a film about their territory in their territory would be amazing,” Eden Robinson said of filming in Kitimat.

“It very important to actually have the places that are in the book and in our history appear on screen. Indigenous people aren’t on television or screens a lot yet. The Haisla have been basically invisible, except for a couple of documentaries. I think it would be a very pivotal moment.”

READ MORE: Eden Robinson wins again

When the option for film rights was being sold — more than a decade ago — Robinson chose documentary film director Loretta Todd. It will be Todd’s first feature.

“Of all the people who tried to option the novel, I loved her approach,” Robinson said. “I loved her sensitivity to the material and her embrace of the culture and her willingness to come up to Kitimat and speak to people.”

Of course, Todd hired Robinson to adapt Monkey Beach into a screenplay. After three years of writing, however, Robinson said it was too frustrating. She had a 300-page screenplay by the time she decided to give up.

“I fired myself,” Robinson said with a booming laugh.

Over the next 10 years, Todd made sure Robinson was still included in the screenplay process, even if she wasn’t writing it herself. Robinson and her dad would read each version together.

“There has been a lot of shift in the adaptation from the novel to the screenplay, but having banged my head against it for so long, I can see why.”

Fans of Monkey Beach will notice that the movie has brought the story from the ’80s to the present day. Robinson said this was to make it easier to shoot in Kitimat. The movie will have the same back-and-forth flow through time it became known for, although condensed for screentime.

Working in the world of Monkey Beach again is like being in a timewarp, Robinson said. Now in her fifties — and with bestsellers like Son of a Trickster now penned — the author said it reminds her of the work that went into writing it. The book’s story, which follows a woman struggling with the disappearance of her younger brother while experiencing dreams of the titular Monkey Beach, still resonates with readers today.

In the movie, Robinson hopes people will “see an ordinary family dealing with an extraordinary circumstance. The story’s more about the power of family, community and love.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the Haisla people on screen,” Robinson said. “The people who are acting in it, the people who are the extras, the people who are working in the background — just to see my community have a very different kind of spotlight.”



keili.bartlett@thenorthernview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Volunteer Fire Brigade continues slow, steady growth

Group is holding a raffle to raise money to better equip its members

Snowmobile club gets funding for approaching season

Money will go toward summer trail maintenance and website upgrades

Another week of adventure

Forty-two youth from Clearwater, along with youth visiting from out of town, enjoy week of events

Affordable housing project sees completion

“We’re pleased we’re going to be starting off with pretty much full occupancy.”

Back in Time

Historical Perspective

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

Groups ready campaign to help young voters identify ‘fake news’ in election

The media literacy campaign to focus on identifying misinformation and suspicious sources online

Big rally in northern B.C. draws attention to continuing lumber crisis

Mayor Joan Atkinson says about 400 workers have been directly affected by the closure of the Canfor mill

Orangeville Northmen take Minto Cup at Langley Events Centre

Swept best-of-five series 3-0 over Victoria Shamrocks

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

UPDATE: Crown cross-examines B.C. father accused of killing daughters

Andrew Berry is charged in the deaths of six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey in 2017

Dog attacked by river otters, Penticton owner says

Marie Fletcher says her dog was pulled underwater by four river otters in the Penticton Channel

BC SPCA overwhelmed with cats, kittens needing homes

Large number of cruelty investigations, plus normal ‘kitten season’ to blame

Most Read