Blake Evernden (BFA '09, MFA'15), University of Lethbridge alumnus and new media instructor, has found a way to build a career from the passions of his youth. He was 10-years old when his mother first rented a video camera from the public library, and it was then that Evernden began on a career path with the creation of original short puppet films.
With an extensive education, including a BFA ’09 and MFA ‘15 in New Media, and a vast array of professional projects under his belt, Evernden has proven that hard work and a lust for knowledge are key components in successfully manifesting our ideas.
His most recent project is no exception. On February 11, 2016, Evernden premiered his master’s thesis film Prairie Dog, a feature-length film modelled after monster movies from the 1950s. Nearly two years in the making, part of Evernden’s research was to take practical applications and technique to a digital setting to create a heightened reality for the audience, resulting in a film that is both eerie and beautiful, with humour and horror in all the right places.
The film was written, directed and fully created by Evernden, with the help of his cast and crew. He made prosthetic creatures by hand, combined digital photography with original artwork to make landscapes and carefully thought out each scene and shot.
“I probably saw Prairie Dog in my head 12 times before I shot it,” recalls Evernden.
Much of the artist’s ideas were cultivated through collaboration with faculty, staff and students at the U of L.
“I liked being in Fine Arts at the university because it wasn’t segregated - there’s a lot of crossover between departments,” Evernden explained. “With this project I felt like I had my feet in several different worlds. It was a real collaboration. The faculty were so accommodating and enthusiastic. They helped me form my ideas into a definable project.”
Prairie Dogwon Best Feature and Best Actor at the Northern Fright Festival in Elliot Lake, ON in October 2015. Evernden has submitted the film to numerous other festivals including the Fantasmagorical Film Festival in Louisville, Kentucky where it was accepted to play later in 2016. More is in store for Evernden and Prairie Dog as he works on distribution deals for the movie.
Currently, Evernden teaches in New Media at the U of L and programs at CASA. He says he learns as much from his students as he teaches them because learning and growth never stop. The lessons he has learned are illustrated by his words of wisdom. “As a society we want things immediately,” he muses. “I say enjoy the journey, don’t just look at the destination. Be open to new ideas. In this industry you are always having to learn something new.”
In his spare time, Blake Evernden continues to help friends and colleagues with projects as he develops more concepts of his own. To learn more about Prairie Dog, follow this link, while Evernden’s other projects can be viewed here.