God’s Country; the Nell Shipman Story and C’s Trial Screenplays Nearing Completion
Over the past four years, Maryanne Pope of Pink Gazelle Productions Inc has been writing the screenplay for the future feature film, God’s Country; the Nell Shipman Story and the screenplay for a related short film, entitled C’s Trial.
The Nell Shipman screenplay is based on Shipman’s autobiography, The Silent Screen and my Talking Heart. Nell Shipman was a Canadian-born silent screen star, writer, director and producer. She had her own production company and was an early animal rights activist and environmentalist who advocated, through her films, the importance of people working in harmony with nature versus exploiting it.
In 1919, Nell starred in one of Canada’s highest ever grossing films entitled Back to God’s Country, which was shot in Northern Alberta.
Inspired by Andrew Nikiforuk’s book, Tar Sands; Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent, the C’s Trial film will be a satire about the massive oil sands development in Northern Alberta. Here’s the synopsis: when a local woman with a passion for polar bears and a penchant for Kafka orchestrates the arrest of a government representative, oil executive and public relations expert and puts them on trial in a mock courtroom, the truth comes out as quick as…tar.
Maryanne has been working in close collaboration with Nell Shipman’s granddaughter, Nina Bremer, regarding rights, permissions, content, vision, structure and the link to C’s Trial – which sets Nell Shipman’s valuable story within a contemporary context.
The underlying question driving both films pertains to both local and global environmental concerns: what are we doing to God’s Country?
Both scripts are now nearing completion and the pre-production phase of securing funding and creative talent will begin in the fall of 2010.
“Being in a sense so alone with the animals…serving them and maintaining the soft-spoken image which arrived punctually with their food made communication between us a natural and easy thing. And with this treasured silent monologue, I was also acquiring a closer spoken relationship with my fellow humans.” – Nell Shipman, The Silent Screen and My Talking Heart