Filmmaker finds peace in new project

Peace River is offering peace of mind to a local filmmaker.

Ani Kyd is a musician, actor, writer, director, just about every job one can do in the indie film world, and one of the largest of her titles is producer. In that capacity she and her new co-production Peace River just made the recent pages of Variety Magazine.

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The show is a one-hour fictional drama with intent to develop it into a series. Joining Kyd and her company Sugar Skull on the production team are some heavyweights of the industry, including the Buffalo 8 team (The Brits Are Coming, Little Men, Spike Lee's Netflix show Rodney King, etc.) and the actor/executive duo of Aaron Norris (Ant-Man, The President's Man, Overkill) and Sheree J. Wilson (iconic prime-time actor on Dallas and Walker, Texas Ranger).

"She is so wonderful. She's determined, smart, funny, kind, and just a dream to work with - a pretty cool human being in every respect," said Kyd of her business relationship with Wilson.

"Aaron is a sweetheart, very knowledgeable. That man has 40 years of working with his brother Chuck Norris, plus all his other directing, producing, acting, just a lot of incredible things."

The show is named Peace River which is also the name of an actual place in this region. Kyd, who resides in the Prince George-Quesnel intermediary community of Hixon, said that is a personal point of pleasure for her even though it is set in a fictitious town in Texas.

"It's a secret why we ultimately call it Peace River, but it has meaning in the show, and it is cool that we live in a region that has an actual Peace River that's an important tributary," Kyd said. "There are other places in North America that also have that name. And in the context of the show, it has a lot of meaning."

The thumbnail description of the show is that a big-city vice cop's husband is killed so she and her kids move back to her small, rural hometown to live with her father, but not everything is simple or predictable about going back to her roots.

"A lot of harsh stuff happens in this show, but it has a fantastic story. There's nothing like it on TV and that's a really hard thing to say right now," said Kyd. "We didn't want a bad guy and a good guy to centre the story on. We want to show all the sides of all the characters. That lets us shock the audience, which keeps people interested in a genuine way, because we can go down unexpected roads, we can bring unexpected things into view, we can capitalize on how we are all complex characters with more than one way of thinking and more than on way of acting. If you veer away from the convention of good guy/bad guy it opens up so much possibility and so much authenticity."

Kyd was just working the floor at the American Film Market in Santa Monica. It's an annual sales convention where screen arts projects can find connections to investors, distributors and audience platforms. Kyd said she had close to 40 meetings in seven days.

There are more options for getting shows in front of audiences than ever before in the history of film and television, she said, but it is also harder than ever to ensure your project gets the attention of that wider viewership.

"People say 'think outside the box' but I didn't even know there was a box when I got started," said Kyd, who is also a well-known B.C. musician. "I did it all out in the real world and had failures but then got in there doing projects that attracted professional input, that led to more learning on my part and better connections to people like Aaron and Sheree who look at projects in similar ways to how I see it happening, and now I'm talking on the phone with Sean Penn for half an hour at a time, and other surreal opportunities like that."

It is just a business, down at the core, and Kyd explained that it is often best to learn to do by doing, rather than spending a lot of money on schooling for what you could learn firsthand.

Kyd is also involved in the baseball film The Silent Natural which is in the final stages of post-production. It's the dramatization of real-life baseball legend William "Dummy" Hoy who played for between 1888 and 1902 for teams like the Washington Nationals, Chicago White Sox and Cincinnati Reds, all the while being deaf. He was a star player who innovated the sport and Kyd said the movie should be ready for international audiences sometime this spring.

Wilson was also involved in that production.

Sugar Skull is, according to Variety Magazine, involved in five films and another five television projects.

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