Ahead of it’s nation-wide release, filmmaker Troy Ruptash debuted his film, “They Who Surround Us”, in his hometown of Vegreville on Thursday night August 26.
Ruptash wrote, directed, and stars in the movie that tells a story of grief and family while paying homage to his Ukrainian heritage and showcasing the community he grew up in. He was born and raised in Vegreville. Ruptash left home to pursue conservatory training at Ryerson Theater School in Toronto, Ontario before moving to Los Angeles, California. Over his thirty-year career, Ruptash has worked in film, television, and on-stage including being cast as the ‘real’ Don Draper on the iconic drama, Mad Men. He’s also guest stared on ER, The West Wing, CSI, JAG, Longmire, Desperate Housewives, Prison Break, Supernatural and much, much more.
“Vegreville means so much to me,” Troy Ruptash, Filmmaker said. “The town has been so supportive, and the community came together in such an incredible way to make this happen and so Vegreville is featured prominently in the movie. I really wanted it to be sort of a love letter to where I grew up.”
“They Who Surround Us” not only displays Vegreville’s small town charm and beauty but also demonstrates its ability to welcome and host production companies that elect to film in Alberta. It is the winner of the Audience Award for Best Dramatic Feature at the 2020 Edmonton International Film Festival, the Audience Award for Most Impactful Narrative Feature at the 2021 Sedona International Film Festival and the Best Canadian Film and Best First Time Filmmaker Awards at the 2020 Montreal Independent Film Festival.
“They Who Surround Us” is the story of Ukrainian farmer living in Alberta who loses his wife in a tragic accident. Guilt and grief send him into an emotional spiral where mysterious and inexplicable events force him to relive traumatic incidents from his childhood in Ukraine.
“While we’re exceptionally proud of Troy and his beautiful film, we’re also excited about how this movie could boost Vegreville’s reputation for hosting a booming industry,” Tim MacPhee, Mayor, Town of Vegreville said. “Alberta’s Film and TV production is nearly a billion-dollar industry, and we want it known that Vegreville is primed to accommodate some of these productions that could result in dollars into our local economy.”
“They Who Surround Us” premiered to invited guests at the Capitol Theatre before shifting to Vegreville’s Social Centre for a gala featuring a Q & A session with cast and crew and a performance from country artist Brett Kissel, who wrote the original song, ‘I Want to Remember
You This Way’, specifically for the film.
The film will now be available for the public at the Capitol Theater in Vegreville from Friday, August 27 through to Thursday, September 2 at 7:00 p.m. nightly. It’s also showing across the country in Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Toronto, and Vancouver.