MUBI is celebrating National Canadian Film Day, in partnership with REEL CANADA, by exclusively showing Kyle Thomas's The Valley Below (2014) from April 19 - May 19, 2017 in most countries around the world.
I’ve always had a fascination with small towns. The Valley Below is set in Drumheller, a rural community in the Alberta badlands, where I had shot many of my short films over the years. I have always had a strong belief in regional filmmaking that connects intimate personal narratives with landscapes and cultures outside of urban centers. The Valley Below is interested in exploring the stuff of everyday life: family, community, love and loss.
In 2013 we rented a large house in the Drumheller valley and all of the cast and crew lived together for several weeks during production. We were making a film about complicated relationships and family dynamics and needed to create an environment where the work could continue outside of the frame. Most days ended with us all eating dinner together and watching the rushes, creating an open dialogue and continuing to discover the film’s characters and possibilities.
Although I’ve always been a cinephile, most of my influences for this film came from literature and songwriting. The subtle narratives and characters created by writers like Raymond Carver and Larry Brown and musicians like Townes Van Zandt and Bruce Springsteen, showed me that it was possible to tell stories that can reveal simple moments of beauty and transcendence. All of the characters are flawed but this is what makes them human and relatable.