Kamloops filmmakers seek $50K Storyhive grant for Ryan Shtuka documentary

Nearly six months after Ryan Shtuka went missing from Sun Peaks, a trio of Kamloops filmmakers want to take a look at what happened and follow the young man's disappearance.

Jared Featherstone, Russell Walton and Allan McVicar grew up in Kamloops and have seen the city, along with Sun Peaks, rally together to help find answers to Shtuka's Feb. 17 disappearance. 

"It's definitely something that's gripped the community for the last six months," says Featherstone. "We, at the very least, tell the story of how the community has come together."

When they were younger, he says the three (who grew up just a few blocks from each other) were in Shtuka's shoes.

"To have something like this happening, it's kinda mind-boggling," Featherstone says. "It's a puzzling story.

"There are a lot of different angles. There are a lot of loose ends that haven't been tied off."

The group began discussing the idea of the documentary – called Peaks and Valleys – with Shtuka's family in May. 

"They had approached us before they had put together this project," Heather Shtuka, Ryan's mom, tells KamloopsMatters. "They sent us a letter outlining what they would like to do and asking if that would be ok."

The family gave the go-ahead.

She says she wanted to make sure the trio would be accurate with their storytelling, both when discussing her son and the communities that have come together to support the search.

"Right now, Ryan's legacy and memory is something I'm fiercely protective of," she says. "We've been blessed from the very beginning to have three communities stand together.

"I don't think I would have wanted something if it reflected badly on the communities."

The filmmakers have turned to the Telus Storyhive competition to fund the project. The competition offers 30 prizes of $50,000 to production ideas. Of those, 15 will be decided on by a jury, and 15 will be picked by the public through a voting system. Voting takes place from today (July 30) until Aug. 2.

Featherstone says the project is dependent on them winning one of the $50,000 prizes, since it's not something they can afford to do on their own. McVicar and Featherstone are freelance broadcast producers, working across Canada, while Walton works in sound production.

"It's an undertaking that I'm totally confident we can accomplish," he says about winning one of the coveted prizes, which are open to producers in Alberta and B.C.

Heather says the family is continuing to search for her son. They're still focusing on Sun Peaks, as they haven't had a single shred of evidence suggesting he'd be elsewhere.

"We would go in a heartbeat if we thought there was anywhere else to go," she says. "There's not one tidbit of gossip or information to lead us somewhere."

Click HERE to vote in the Storyhive competition (you can vote once a day every day). To follow the project, click HERE.

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