Surviving an apocalypse has been the scenario featured on a plethora of television and theatre screens for decades, whether it be from war, environmental payback or zombies.
Some of the most famous TV shows and films in pop culture are apocalyptic in nature (gone bad). The genre includes “Book of Eli,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “Doomsday Preppers,” “The Walking Dead,” “Night of the Living Dead” and soon the Alberta filmed “Father of Nations” - now in production in various locations throughout the province.
Fans of science fiction, the apocalypse and horror are often attracted to the genre for escape, while others fear the plots of many films and TV shows because it may reflect real life at moments now and throughout history.
Griffin Cork is an associate producer and publicist with the Alberta-based production company Thousand Year Films. “Our latest feature film 'Father of Nations' is spending a lot of time filming around the Hilda area with some local Medicine Hat residents joining our cast and crew,” Cork noted.
“Father of Nations,” Cork explained, is partnering with a company from Los Angeles and the film is using an entirely Albertan cast and crew. Filming is underway in Calgary, Brooks and in other various locales in Alberta's Badlands. The film will also have a limited theatrical release, once completed, at the Monarch Theatre in Medicine Hat, according to Cork.
“It's a post-apocalyptic drama focusing on the last people on Earth, as they're facing extinction. Their journey and exploration to try and find hope in a dying world,” said Nathan Horch. Horch is a producer, writer and lead actor on the film
“As they're travelling through these various landscapes, they're confronted with different obstacles,” added Aleisha Anderson, producer and director of the film. “Basically, it's about - where do you find hope in a hopeless situation? And their growth, as they come to terms with that.”
With Alberta, a film crew has access to mountains, forests, prairies, rolling hills, Badlands, sand dunes and even salt flats. “I really love Alberta and I think it's got such a diverse landscape all the way around,” Horch said.
“We're using it all,” Anderson added.
Alberta, Anderson said, is such a diverse location for the crew – but it's also the small towns the crew has visited that have been supportive in many aspects, which include being introduced to some hidden gems.
“In the small towns, there are these homesteads and they're on this plot of land. You'd never know they exist, but they are so beautiful in the post-apocalyptic kind of abandoned nature and you can see the life once lived there - which really falls in line with the theme we have in the film,” Anderson explained.
Even though the film is in a science fiction realm, Anderson said, the reality of the world right now gives fans of the genre a small taste of what could be. “It was very sobering,” she said, as some of the filming included locations, which were recently affected by wildfires.
“It's not a comedy or lighthearted film. It's dealing with some heavy themes,” Horch added. “It deals with those timeless questions about our own mortality and about the society we live in.”
So why is the post-apocalyptic genre so popular these days, even more so than in the past?
“I think right now, with things going on in the world, people tend to just let their minds go to 'what if this escalated to a point where we find ourselves in this situation?' This genre allows us to explore what that would be like,” said Anderson.
Today, there is an ongoing resurgence of the post-apocalypse in the entertainment industry highlighted in a variety of unique and surprisingly innovative ways, such as how “Father of Nations” tackles the topic.
“Sometimes it's going into the realm of more science fiction fantasy with zombies and things,” Anderson said, in regard to many of the post-apocalyptic movies and TV shows.
“We don't have that in this film. But, the reason of the genre is captured here,” Anderson added.