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It Took Alaska...


Research for the movie, Angel of the Forty Mile won the 2016 Nevada Arts Council Jackpot Grant.

I don't regret going to Alaska. It taught me so much about my intuition and those that suffer from mental illness. I feel this journey only made me a better writer exploring the human experience.

Signs Like a Totem Pole

The plane landed in Anchorage without delay. I wasn't sure what to expect from my first views of Alaska after researching it for the past five months. Green, lush pine groves, tall snow laden mountains and large blue skies would be the backdrop for my first feature film.

Krystal had already grabbed her backpack and was bubbling over with anticipation and a little apprehension. Would this be the same Alaska she knew 25 years ago? I was to write her life story, a feature film about the events that led her back to the man who broke her heart so many years ago and the woman she had now become.

It was a story of survival and redemption. I was excited that this movie could launch Krystal's career as a Life Coach. Little did I know that this trip would be a shocking discovery of broken dreams, harsh realities and a tattered soul.

The First Sign

We pulled out of the rental car parking lot with our list of supplies we needed, since we would be camping in extremely remote areas. We would be traveling over 2,000 miles from Anchorage to Homer, then on to Fairbanks and Chicken, Alaska in 21 days. We would be camping most of the way so our transportation would become more than a convenience, but an essential part of our comfort and safety.

We went to several homes of people following Cool Beans Films on Facebook to pick up supplies they so generously donated for our trip. We had over ten thousand followers watching our journey unfold, and their support was tremendous.

My first order of business was to stop by the Alaska Film Commission to pick up pertinent information I would present to interested studios. No one answered the phone, so I checked the website. I was in utter disbelief when I saw the words, "Governor Signs Bill to End Film Tax Credit."

My stomach dropped. At that moment I knew I should have halted the project, since creating a movie in a state that doesn't support film incentives was impractical. However, when I told Krystal that this journey should be cut short, the look of desperation on her face made me continue out of friendship. If anything, she could put her ghosts behind her, and I could acquire location shots. I also had the grant to fall on for a little financial support.

A place doesn't identify us. We identify with the memories and the emotions of a place.

To read more, go to my blog, www.deborahholmen.com