Sudbury-shot Castle in the Ground film released online

A film shot in Sudbury that showcases people coping with opioid addictions is now available on demand.

Writer and director Joey Klein admits story isn’t easy to watch, but says it’s important to tell

Castle in the Ground is a film that shares different stories about the opioid crisis. It was shot in Sudbury. (Submitted by Pacific Northwest Pictures)

A film shot in Sudbury that showcases people coping with opioid addictions is now available on demand.

Castle in the Ground was written and directed by Joey Klein. It's the story about a boy who is a caretaker for his mother who is sick.

"As he's taking care of her and administering all of her prescriptions which include oxycontin and fentanyl patches, a very tragic accident happens," he said.

"After her untimely demise, he starts to abuse her leftover opioids as a way to deal with his grief."

From there, the boy starts a friendship with a woman who recently moved in across the hall, who is trying to deal with her own opioid addiction. 

"As they form this kind of unlikely and co-dependent friendship, they both kind of get lost in a very dangerous situation involving a missing bag of drugs," he said.

Klein says stories from the opioid crisis need to be told.

"The story line of a boy taking care of his mother, I have personal and specific reasons for telling that story — nothing in any of my films are autobiographical but they're all very personal and fictionalized," he explained.

"I really wanted to tell a story about a boy and his mom and I think all my work deals on a level with loss and grief."

'One of the more special places'

He says government incentives helped narrow down the filming location to northern Ontario. He says when he arrived, he knew he was making the right decision to shoot the film in Sudbury.

"With research and just to be honest to be on the ground, in very tragic terms, it becomes clear that just about every small city in North America, Sudbury's … been hit hard by the opioid epidemic," he said.

"We worked with all kinds of people in the city instead of being cautious about us or cynical about us, they were collaborative and open-armed. It's one of the more special places I've visited in my life."

Klein says as expected, reaction to the film has been mixed.

"There have been very strong reactions — extraordinarily positive and quite almost angry," he said.

"It's not a film that is easy to watch. We set out to as best we could render what we understand to be happening right now."

The film was released on digital and on demand on Friday. 

With files from Up North