Love of Life productions of Grand Rapids, Michigan, has just finished production in Alaska of the full-length feature film “Love of Life,” based on the short story of the same name by Jack London.
The adaptation, written by Robert Gregg, Escanaba, Michigan, and directed by Kevin Swigert, Sun Valley, Idaho, was shot on location in the interior of Alaska where the original story took place.
The plot focuses on a gold miner from 1905 who leaves his claim late in the year, is abandoned by his partner, and must survive the hardships of Alaska to make it back to his fiancé in Fairbanks.
Over the course of the film, the starving man becomes delusional and in the end he struggles not only against the wilderness, but also against himself to survive.
The tag line for the motion picture is “Where there’s hope, there’s life.”
“The shoot went beyond our expectations,” said Robert Gregg, who is also the film’s producer. “We had a great crew from L.A. and Anchorage that worked well together. They are true professionals and it showed in the production quality.”
Anchorage crew included Jerry Levine, Tim Boese, Tom Pillifant and Cail Hubert.
Gregg also gave kudos to the citizens of Delta Junction, Alaska, a town of 1400, and especially to the army at Fort Greely, Alaska.
“The local people and the military, especially police chief Travis Hoague, went out of their way to make us feel welcomed,” Gregg said. “We would film there again in a heartbeat.”
The director of photography was Jeffrey Smith of Los Angeles. Roarke Boes, also of Los Angeles, was the first assistant director.
According to Smith, the production was done on an Arriflex Alexa camera, the most complete and powerful high tech digital production system in the film industry. “The images we created will convey the audience into the point of view of the individual facing insurmountable odds, while showing the beauty and vastness of Alaska,” said Smith.
Peter Ammel, Madison, Wisconsin, played the lead. Ammel has starred in several regional stage performances of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Macbeth, Oliver, Guys and Dolls, and Into the Woods.
“Pete’s performance was extraordinary,” said director Swigert. “He set an example for the crew every day, and we felt obligated to also give our best.”
“I look on this as the role of a lifetime,” said Ammel. “Not many actors get the chance to play the lead in their first feature film. It’s a big opportunity.”
Also working on the film were John and Zoya Schandelmeier, Iditarod mushers from Paxson, Alaska, who trained the dogs that played wolves in the production.
Executive producers, all from Michigan, include Robert Schellenberg, Grand Rapids; Ken Meshigaud, Hannahville Indian Community; and Jeff and Rosalie Naser of Powers.
The film is set for release in late spring of 2012. Premieres are planned for Anchorage, Alaska; Los Angeles and Michigan.
For pictures and more information: Contact Robert Gregg at 906-789-1139