‘Brotherhood’ screened at the IMAX in Regina as part of the event.
Ramayya will be familiar to those who have followed the Yorkton Film Festival through the years being involved with such films as the 2004 film Cosmic Current, 2009’s ‘Mad Cow, Sacred Cow’, 2012’s ‘Rufus.
In Brotherhood Ramayya, says he is telling an emotional tale.
“Brotherhood is a harrowing tale of survival, overcoming fear and challenging yourself to find strength to sacrifice for those you love and for those you care for,” he told Yorkton This Week. “It’s based on a true story about a terrible canoeing accident that happened in Northern Ontario in the 1920's where boys at a leadership camp met a summer storm, their boat capsized and many died but their story is one of courage in the face of overwhelming adversity.”
Ramayya, co-producer on the film, a second generation filmmaker from La Ronge, who through his company Karma Film, which has just celebrated its 20th anniversary, said the story was so compelling it had to be told through film.
“Growing up in Northern Saskatchewan and facing the elements as well as challenges in adolescence and the transition into adulthood, the ideas around masculinity, humans versus nature, and the idea of finding courage to overcome incredible odds really spoke to me,” he said.
It grabbed the attention of writer and director Richard Bell when he found a newspaper article.
“Richard the filmmaker took creative liberties but he also interviewed as many people from the community as possible,” said Ramayya, adding “it is inspired by the newspaper article.”
The film did offer some challenges for the boutique production company which focuses on creator driven content.
“We shot in a remote location, (Wawa on the Michipicoten First Nation in Northern Ontario), though beautiful it presented a lot of challenges, and working with youth in water was a new experience for me and raised so many new challenges that you just can't know until you do it,” said Ramayya, adding it was an “extremely technically challenging shoot and with a limited budget (so) we had to configure production in such a way to be able to shoot quickly, safely and manage the uncontrollable reality of nature.”
Nature was only one of the challenges to getting ‘Brotherhood’ on film.
“Weather, crew availability, financing, getting equipment to a remote location, housing in a remote location, but the biggest challenge was creating a safe and work conducive water environment for the heavy performance scenes,” said Ramayya. “We rented a studio in Toronto and created a water tank using a frakking pool which was re-tooled for film production and transported in from Ottawa with a crew of its own for the production.
“If you know indie filmmaking it’s all a challenge. I think with this film we overcame an exceptional number of challenges and the film looks great . . .
“It’s not exactly as we imagined it but I have no regrets or disappointments with the end product . . . You always have to make tough choices but I think that focusing our story through the main youth character of George Waller gave it the weight it needed emotionally and so yes I'm satisfied. . . I'm very happy with how it turned out.”
So what does Ramayya think is the best aspect of the film?
“The cast and the production values,” he said. “We shot at an amazing location and we had an amazing crew and cinematographer (Adam Swica).
“It’s a beautiful film.”
Readers can find the film on Amazon Prime and the Superchannel.