Film and TV

L.A. producers plan TV show set and filmed in Southeast Alaska

JUNEAU — Los Angeles-based producers are working to develop a TV series that would be set and filmed in Southeast Alaska.

Helena Sardinha and Rafael Thomaseto are planning an eight-episode anthology series called “Sitka” through their production company Driven Equation, the Juneau Empire reported Wednesday.

Thomaseto visited Sitka in November, and they both spent time there in January. They were initially eyeing it for a film.

"When we first came to Sitka and analyzed the city, we realized there's such diversity in such a small town that telling the story through film wouldn't be enough," Sardinha said. "That's why we transformed it into a TV show."

The show would be fiction, but they hope to capture a realistic portrayal of the city and its approximately 8,800 people, Sardinha said. Alaska residents seem to be tired of their state being depicted only through nature documentaries or reality TV shows, she said.

"We wanted to create something more about the people," Sardinha said. "Our main theme throughout the series is healing, where Sitka comes and provides healing to the main characters."

While no one has been cast yet for the half-hour show, they plan to involve residents in the production. Some of the seven supporting roles and most of background extras could be locals, Sardinha said. About half the crew would also be Alaska residents, she said.


The producers plan begin shooting the pilot episode in the spring, pending efforts to finance the project. The stand-alone episode would then be used to try to sell the series. They hope to present it to streaming services by the end of the year.

"Our aim right now is to get into a streaming service," Sardinha said. "Our main choice right now is Amazon."

If it works out, the first season would be filmed in 2020 to possibly reach viewers by the next year.