Congratulations to Dana Stabenow, who made a big splash this week with the announcement that film producer Mike Devlin has purchased rights to her Kate Shugak series — just one step in a very long process of getting the successful mystery series made for TV.
The news popped up first in Dana’s Roadhouse Report, where she explained:
As you have all heard me say too many times to count, I was determined to sell the screen rights only to someone who would shoot the series in Alaska. Specifically, to someone who would put Alaska, not British Columbia or central Washington state, right up there next to Kate and Mutt.
Well, that someone found me. Mike Devlin made his bones in Silicon Valley software, came north and fell in love with Alaska, and is now pursuing a second life in film production. I don’t know him that well yet, but my gut says he’s got a good heart and a hard head, along with the muscle and the determination to make this happen. He says, and I’m quoting verbatim, “There’s no reason we can’t film the whole series in Alaska.”
I’m not a regular listener of radio guy Dan Fagan, but I tuned in yesterday to hear Stabenow and Devlin talk about the announcement and take calls from listeners, who wanted to know who would play Kate (an Alaska native actress, Dana hopes — but this decision, like many others, will be hammered out with whatever network purchases the series) and whether Alaskans should keep their ears open for acting and production jobs (definitely). The Daily News followed up with a story today.
On the personal side, I’ll add that I worked with Mike Devlin earlier this year, writing a script for a nature documentary still in development. My first impressions of him mirror Dana’s: that he is smart, competent, and rarest of all in the movie business, a straight shooter. There’s a long road ahead, but we all have our fingers crossed.
Got any thoughts about Alaska movie/TV adaptations? Kate Shugak? The Alaska economy and how books and film can help give it a boost? Check out our old ‘Movie Week’ posts about local filmmakers, and/or speak up here…
P.S. Mudflats provided an enthusiastic run-down of the offical announcement — and best of all, photos of the Evergreen Films production facility hidden away on the Anchorage Hillside. Visiting the screening room, by invite only, is a bit like getting to see the inside of the BatCave. Fun stuff. When I worked there this spring, I often had to get a Hummer ride up the last icy stretch because even my Subaru couldn’t make the final climb.