Film crew recre­ates a pi­rate’s world

Stafford Jenk­ins telling story of Peter Eas­ton through short film

The Compass - - Front Page - BY CHRIS LEWIS editor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Stafford Jenk­ins is re­al­iz­ing a dream by cre­at­ing a tele­vi­sion project in the Con­cep­tion Bay North area fo­cused on the life of Peter Eas­ton, a pi­rate known to have spent a con­sid­er­able amount of time in the Har­bour Grace area, ex­plored in a short-film and six-part series ti­tled “Eas­ton’s Trea­sure.”

HAR­BOUR GRACE, NL — From pri­va­teer to pi­rate, the name Peter Eas­ton is one that many res­i­dents of the Har­bour Grace area are quite fa­mil­iar with.

Stafford Jenk­ins is the di­rec­tor of an up­com­ing series ded­i­cated to the story of Peter Eas­ton, a pi­rate who op­er­ated on the coast­lines be­tween Har­bour Grace and Fer­ry­land in the early 1600s.

Stafford says the project, ti­tled “Eas­ton’s Trea­sure”, can be split into two sep­a­rate pieces – a short film, and the six-episode docu-drama.

“This is some­thing I’ve al­ways wanted to do,” ex­plained Stafford who lives in Heart’s De­sire. “That’s why I call it a buck­etlis­ter. It’s one of the big­ger things on my bucket list, and it’s great to fi­nally be able to say I’ve given it a shot.”

The short film will con­sist of var­i­ous re-en­act­ments, mixed with in­ves­tiga­tive bits that look into the truth or fic­tion in­volved in sev­eral dif­fer­ent sto­ries sur­round­ing Eas­ton that have been told over the past 400 years. These in­ves­tiga­tive seg­ments will be ex­panded upon in the six­episode show, which will fol­low the short film.

Jenk­ins has a history with film­mak­ing and videog­ra­phy, hav­ing worked on wed­ding videos and other such projects in the past. He says he’s very fa­mil­iar with video edit­ing and all that it in­volves, which has ul­ti­mately had a huge im­pact on the pro­duc­tion thus far.

How­ever, Jenk­ins ad­mits it’s been far from easy.

Jenk­ins and the rest of the Eas­ton’s Trea­sure team are work­ing with a $0 bud­get. Eas­ton’s Trea­sure is not funded by any ma­jor video pro­duc­tion com­pany, and any and all ex­penses come di­rectly from the team’s pock­ets.

“Like I said, it’s some­thing I’ve al­ways wanted to do, and noth­ing’s go­ing to stop me at this point. With no bud­get, we’ve come across a ton of ob­sta­cles that prob­a­bly could have eas­ily been over­come if we had hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars at our dis­posal, but we don’t,” said Jenk­ins. “All we’ve got is our own money, our own equip­ment, and a lot of ded­i­ca­tion to the project.”

Cre­ative team

Jenk­ins added that the team of six that have come to­gether to work for Eas­ton’s Trea­sure are all just as ded­i­cated as he is, and that the project wouldn’t be any­where near where it is if he didn’t have them.

“The team con­sists of a bunch of re­ally, re­ally tal­ented ac­tors, sto­ry­tellers, his­to­ri­ans, ev­ery­thing you’d need in a project like this,” Jenk­ins added. “And the fans that we’ve gath­ered so far are noth­ing short of sup­port­ive. It’s a bless­ing to have a team and fan­base like that, es­pe­cially with no bud­get.”

The team con­sists of Jenk­ins, Corey Reynolds, Robert Dicks, Robert Du­mond, Ralph Dawe, and Pa­trick Far­rell.

The lack of a bud­get has also forced Jenk­ins and the team to pull out all their cre­ative straws. Ex­pen­sive props and cos­tumes are not an op­tion, and so the crew took it upon them­selves to han­dle those re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

Jenk­ins told The Com­pass he learned how to sew specif­i­cally for this project. Af­ter re­search­ing dif­fer­ent 17th cen­tury gar­ments, he spent hours in front of a com­puter screen watch­ing YouTube tu­to­ri­als, where he learned to sew to­gether and cre­ate cos­tumes for the ac­tors.

Ad­di­tion­ally, many of the props for Eas­ton’s Trea­sure are home­made, in­clud­ing a work­ing canon that Jenk­ins is es­pe­cially proud of.

Jenk­ins also stated that Eas­ton’s Trea­sure has at­tracted some at­ten­tion from the Dis­cov­ery Chan­nel, some­thing he was ini­tially very ex­cited about.

“They gave me a call and said they were in­ter­ested in what we were do­ing out here,” ex­plained Jenk­ins. “But af­ter talk­ing with them, I ended up turn­ing them down. I had to. They seemed to re­ally only be in­ter­ested in the script we had, which they of­fered to pay for, but that’s not my goal here. We want to get deeper into Eas­ton’s story than that, and af­ter work­ing on some­thing for so long, you don’t just let it go the sec­ond some­one of­fers you money.”

Work­ing daily

Af­ter be­ing laid off in Septem­ber of 2016, Jenk­ins is work­ing on Eas­ton’s Trea­sure on a daily ba­sis, though the en­tire pro­duc­tion has been in the works for around two years.

De­spite the hur­dles and ob­sta­cles, Jenk­ins says he’s very proud of ev­ery­thing thus far, and hopes that view­ers en­joy the project that the team has worked so hard on over the past cou­ple years.

“There’s a lot of blood, sweat, and tears that went into this. We want to tell an in­ter­est­ing, cap­ti­vat­ing story, and one that will have peo­ple want­ing to see more,” said Jenk­ins. “I be­lieve we’re well on our way to that. But, even if worse comes worse and it’s a to­tal flop, then I can still say I’ve pur­sued one of my dreams. It’s off my bucket list, you know? That’s some­thing I’ll al­ways be proud of.”

The short film will be pre­miered at the Splash Cen­tre in Har­bour Grace on Fri­day, June 23, along with a teaser of the first episode of the show.

There’s a lot of blood, sweat, and tears that went into this. We want to tell an in­ter­est­ing, cap­ti­vat­ing story, and one that will have peo­ple want­ing to see more

— Stafford Jenk­ins

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

The “Eas­ton’s Trea­sure” team has had to be cre­ative when it came to cos­tumes and props, and man­aged to recre­ate a work­ing canon.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Stafford Jenk­ins says that Eas­ton’s Trea­sure is one of the ma­jor items on his bucket list.

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