Amy Bohigian is a filmmaker producing SOUTHERN INTERIOR, six 10-minute episodes of TV sketch comedy about her hometown, Nelson, British Columbia. Amy shared behind-the-scenes insights into this new project with BC Creates:

Can you tell us more about your strong connection to Nelson?
I am originally from the States. Most Americans don’t know much about Canada, except it’s somewhere up North. So, when I first met my (eventual) wife who lived here (for a summer), Nelson was way off my map. It caught me by surprise and charmed me. There’s no other comparable town on the planet – with this many types of people living side by side. We don’t just co-exist. We sing and dance together, we raise money for each other in tough times and we protest – everything from backyard chickens to drag story time. While the rest of the world is waiting for the apocalypse, we are still working to create our own form of utopia. SOUTHERN INTERIOR is a sketch comedy series about “the last earnest place on earth.”

How do you think building a predominantly local team will impact this project?
It amps up the investment in the work when we are making a series about a place we all call home. We all have skin in the game and are eager to share what we’re capable of in the wild interior of British Columbia. Also, the show reflects the world we inhabit. We can bring empathy and humour to these local archetypes we are playing with, as these are our neighbours, our friends and even ourselves!

How do you plan to walk the line between celebrating and satirizing Nelson?
I love how the court jester was able to use lightness and jokes to deliver tough messages to the royal court back in medieval times. Many had great influence and even boosted morale during war. I like to think of SOUTHERN INTERIOR as a kind of modern jester. I consider satire a way of celebrating – kind of like when we poke fun at our favourite people. I want our viewers to feel like a Nelson local is walking with them down Baker Street and showing them all the magic and quirk that people feel when they first visit and the frustrations of living in tight proximity with a lot of intense energy. I think it’s important and healthy to laugh at ourselves. Like the Indigo Girls sing, “It’s only life after all.”

How has the Kootenay Regional Film Commission supported this project?
From the get-go the Kootenay Regional Film Commission, headed by John Whittmayer, has been 100% behind getting a homegrown show off the ground that showcases the region’s incredible talent and stunning locations. For a place that has needed to be resourceful to survive and has always drawn creative types for generations, it feels appropriate to have our own show here. The Commission is ready to provide their expertise in whatever form to see us succeed.

How would you describe your style as a filmmaker?
I am naturally curious about people. I appreciate the observational verité approach to storytelling, but I like to get off the balcony and get on the dance floor as well. I want to throw my audience into the tension between watching and participating. I worked in the education and non-profit sector for a while before I dove into the creative – I have always been concerned with personal and social transformation. Story seems the most direct way. I’ve seen enough people cry from the doc work I’ve done, and I wanted to get people laughing. I’m finding comedy a welcome change in the direction of my work and it’s not as easy as the pros make it look.

What helps you stay creatively motivated in your role?
I’ve talked about a show like this in Nelson for so many years it felt like it was inevitable that I at least try and make it happen. Getting the development funding was my chance to set aside time and see it through. Through that process, I was lucky enough to find so many talented people here that buy into the vision and want to contribute. Then, there was momentum to keep it going and see if we could get it to production. Actually, our vibrations aligned with the universe, and we manifested this series…is that a Nelson enough answer for you?

Stay tuned for SOUTHERN INTERIOR which will be broadcast online in 2025.


Header image is Nelson filmmaker Amy Bohigian taken by Bill Metcalfe via the Nelson Star