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Filmmaker scratching off “bucket lister” with Easton’s Treasure

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

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 bucket-lister. 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 six-episode 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.

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

“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.

editor@cbncompass.ca

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