When Red Deer filmmaker Jason Steele had a free weekend last summer, he decided to make a short, suspenseful movie.
He looked around for a claustrophobic setting to help ramp up the tension and found an empty grain bin on his father’s farm.
As there wasn’t time for script writing, Steele assembled a cast of mostly female actors with improvisational talents. He wanted them to make a web series that would provoke discussion or even push some viewers’ buttons.
A 10-episode series that eventually sprang from that initial weekend of filming is called The Bin. It tells of what can happen when a religious extremist attempts to forcibly impose his views on others.
“I believe religion gives people hope and direction,” explained Steele, but when carried too far, it can also fuel wars and oppression.
“Converting people has always rubbed me the wrong way,” he admitted.
“While I believe there’s value in religion and spiritual beliefs, this is touching on a darker side…”
The series, shot sporadically in Red Deer County until last spring, opens with cash-strapped Val (played by Luciana Eve), considering fast ways to make a buck.
She approaches an escort agency seeking employment and discovers several women who worked there have gone missing.
Val impulsively sets out to find out what happened to them — and walks into a dangerous situation, said Steele.
The dramatic series “is about the typical wrong choices that are made when you’re young…”
His Porcupine Productions show contains strong language, and deals with heavy subject matter, including abductions and violence.
Steele posted the first three five-minute episodes of The Bin on www.thefreewebseries.com. He also intends to post the remaining episodes, one a week, in the hope this series will find viewers and become the start of something bigger.
The actor and director, who’s worked with Central Alberta Theatre, Red Deer Players, Terry Shane Murder Mysteries and The Hub on Ross, is the recipient of the 2019 emerging artist award from the Red Deer Arts Council.
Besides planning a zombie film this fall, Steele also wants to make more web serials — and help other filmmakers distribute their projects online.
He’s exploring opportunities on YouTube, as well as looking at developing an independent films app or web channel that can also run advertisements for revenue.
“I have some ideas, but I need to find the right path.”