a local short film called Sugar Mountain
Over the years, Eau Claire has attracted the attention of quite a few filmmakers. Some local amateurs, others out-of-town professionals, and now an Eau Claire native who got professional training and has returned to create a short film inspired by his childhood experiences in the Valley.
"I wasn’t sure how to pay homage to such incredible stories, but I’ve had the urge for a few years now and had to at least try." – Peter Eaton on his inspiration coming from films like Stand By Me
“A few of my close friends and siblings who grew up in Eau Claire share a sense of nostalgia, and we all share an immense gratitude for our childhood,” said Peter Elliott Eaton. “There will always be an element of nostalgia in my projects.”
The film, entitled Sugar Mountain, follows teenagers Mack and Sam on a typical first day of summer. The two cohorts bike their way through town, swimming, stealing, and bothering their high school principal. Set in the early oughts, the advent of smartphones, Facebook, and MP3 players was still a few years away. Capturing that lack of technology, Eaton said, was essential.
“The early 2000s were still innocent; kids didn’t have cell phones, and social media didn’t dictate communication,” said Eaton. “These kids are pretty much bound to their bicycles. The radical change in communication among youth that followed shortly after these years was pretty monumental.”
The film features local actors, including the two main characters. Memorial High students Mack Chambers and Tedd Piper play Mack and Sam, respectively, and Eaton has nothing but praise for their involvement.
“Mack and Tedd had already established some chemistry, having worked on short films and participating in drama programs at Memorial,” he said. “It was great working with people who aren’t on set often. They have a certain energy and level of excitement that’s so refreshing.”