A small town in Southeast Alaska is home to approximately 8,700 people. That town is Sitka. It’s the same place that the rom-com “The Proposal” takes place in. Except that Sitka wasn’t the real Sitka at all. A new, fictional TV show that takes place in the town is in the process, with the intention of starting in actual Sitka and staying there.
Helena Sardinha and Rafael Thomaseto, two Los Angeles-based, independent filmmakers, are producing a fictional, anthology drama TV series, simply called “Sitka.” The show will follow the lives of those who live in Sitka with their community, inner struggles and — the most prominent theme — healing.
“One of the main goals of the show is to get out of the traditional reality shows that have been done so many times in Alaska,” Thomaseto said.
Thomaseto and Sardinha are both originally from Brazil. They say they connect with Alaska by understanding the misconceptions others have about their country or state and hope to break those through the show.
“With a place like Brazil — when you go to other countries people ask things such as ‘oh, do you live with monkeys?’ And no … but this is just a misconception because so many people when they think about Brazil think about the Amazon and when you think about Alaska a lot of people just think people live in igloos or they just you know, fish, or struggle with the snow.”
Thomaseto, Sardinha and their team plan to film the show entirely in Sitka and cast actors from Alaska, mixed in with other talents from LA.
The idea of a show was sparked by Patricia Buak, a woman whom Thomaseto’s father worked with in Brazil. Buak moved to Sitka and now co-owns the Bayview Pub. While settling into her new life, she thought of how unrepresented Sitka was and how a form of entertainment that brought Sitka’s beauty and reality was needed. She then contacted Thomaseto, who began to shape the idea of the show with Sardinha. The two visited the town twice: once in November 2018 and again in January 2019.
“[Visiting Sitka] made me reflect on my lifestyle and made me think about what’s important in life,” Sardinha said. “When you go to a place where there are only 8,000-9,000 people, life becomes a little more simple than in the big towns like LA.”
They hope to film the pilot this upcoming spring if the right actors are found and if they have the funds. After the pilot is filmed and it goes through post-production, it’s pitched and hopefully picked up by a television network or a streaming service like Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Video, who then can purchase the show to help fund the rest of the season. The episodes will run approximately 30 minutes in length and have eight episodes per season.
Sardinha and Thomaseto are open to partnering with more Alaskans and businesses for “Sitka.” If interested, visit their website at drivenequation.com/sitkatvshow.