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Cold Lake being turned into Soviet-era Russia for upcoming film

A local filmmaker is looking to film an upcoming movie in the Cold Lake area, which will transform the city into Soviet-era Russia
A local filmmaker is looking to turn Cold Lake into Soviet-era Russia for an upcoming movie. File photo.

COLD LAKE – Cold Lake will once again be featured on the big screen, but it will be transformed into another place entirely.  

Local filmmaker Chris Cowden has written another script that will transform Cold Lake into Soviet-era Russia for his new movie, Rebar.   

“We want to show Hollywood, other filmmaking areas, or people, this area can be so many things,” he told Lakeland This Week. “There’s so much here. It can be Russia, Canada, it can be (anywhere) if we shoot in the right places.”  

Cold Lake was on display in Moments in Spacetime, which told the story of a girl who was adopted by a North American family and she takes care of her grandfather, who suffers from Alzheimer’s.   

Although it was never officially said the film was based in Cold Lake, Cowden said there were hints throughout Moments in Spacetime that made it quite clear for those paying attention.  

“I wanted to tell a story in an area that I knew but the other thing was we really wanted to put Cold Lake on the map as a place where other filmmakers in Alberta, Hollywood, and wherever to come and shoot in Cold Lake. We think it’s an amazing place and we want to build an industry.”  

Rebar is currently in pre-production and casting is in process.   

Cowden is staying tight-lipped with the plotline for this film but did share it will focus around the subject of human trafficking.  

“It’s an important topic that we want to focus on and make the public aware of it.”  

The story came to be as a way for Patty Srisuwan, who will star in the movie and is also a producer, to work through a traumatic event.   

“I was sexually assaulted,” Srisuwan stated, adding her own case reiterated the fact that women need to have a voice.  

“I feel that women are told to shut up and not to say anything. I think that it’s frustrating as a woman to see that kind of thing happening again and again... As storytellers, we wrapped the idea around human trafficking but that’s just a tool to tell the story. But, the most important thing is that we want women to come out, speak up, and be able to stand up for themselves.”  

Rebar was a way for Cowden and Srisuwan to deal with the frustrations they experienced in the months after the assault on Srisuwan.  

“We didn’t know what to do with that energy and it was so upsetting,” Cowden noted. “Then we thought ‘why don’t we put this negative experience into an art form?’ If we create something out of it, then it’s positive and we can share it so other people can relate.”  

Srisuwan described her character as a kind of superhero who is trying to get justice for women.  

“My character, she’s the one that’s been told not to say anything. She’s been through a lot and she decided to say ‘enough is enough’ and she decided to get revenge and try to speak up and help other people to speak up also. It’s kind of like a metaphor that I want to try and get other people that went through a thing similar to speak up for themselves.”  

After the success of Moments in Spacetime, Cowden and Srisuwan are hoping the local communities will support them in bringing a new industry to the Cold Lake area.  

“The main thing we want to emphasize is that we want to create jobs,” stressed Srisuwan. “This project alone, we’ve created so many jobs in so many areas for people.”  

Cowden added, “The last film created... more than 100 jobs. Our whole goal is to create an entire industry here and the other thing with us going to council and applying for grant money, literally all of that money and more is going back into the city because we have outside investors bringing money into the city. We want to boost it up.”  

Anyone interested in having a part in the film can email [email protected].   

Robynne Henry, Bonnyville Nouvelle

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