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

Kitimat resident is Conservative choice for fall election

Claire Rattée is a former Kitimat councillor

Pacific Traverse Energy to start community engagement

The company will reach out to key stakeholders

RCMP again warns public not to drink and drive

New legislation allows police to breathalyze with drivers’ consent

Rio Tinto donates $50K for Shames Mountain chairlift upgrades

The money was used to purchase the chairlift’s bull wheel replacement last summer

Broken axle caused New Hazelton train derailment: TSB

It could happen again without a different way to inspect trains

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

Pope’s sex abuse prevention summit explained

It’s A high-stakes meeting designed to impress on Catholic bishops the global problem

B.C. ticket holder winner of $25.9-million Lotto Max jackpot

Next draw set for Mar. 1 with an estimated jackpot of $10 million

Girl heard saying ‘Help my Dad’ in suspicious radio message on Vancouver Island

Police asking for help following mysterious signals from somewhere between Comox and Sayward

Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

No treatment for highly infectious measles, says doctor

10 cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver as of Friday

Two more measles cases confirmed in Vancouver

It brings the number of total cases within the city connected to the outbreak to ten

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Vancouver Aquarium wants your help to name a baby killer whale

The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit, and is being asked to help with the second

Most Read