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Whistler Film Festival 2014 Interview: MOUNTAIN MEN director Cam Labine

MOUNTAIN MEN - At Whistler Film Festival
by Jason Whyte

'Stranded in the Rocky Mountain backcountry, estranged brothers have to learn to work together in order to survive.' Director Cam Labine on his film MOUNTAIN MEN which screens at the 2014 Whistler Film Festival.

Is this your first Whistler Film Festival experience and are you going to attend your screenings?

I have been to Whistler Film Festival several times but this is my first film in the festival. It is a fun little pressure cooker of creativity and a great way to leave the city behind and soak up cinema.

Tell me a bit about your background and how you became a filmmaker. Also what have you worked on in the past?

I grew up making little shorts with my brothers and a crappy camcorder. I naturally decided to go to film school and graduated from UBC Film in 2000. MOUNTAIN MEN is my second feature. My first film CONTROL ALT DELETE was released theatrically in 2010. Since then I have been writing for television and video games and developing this film.

How did this movie come together from your perspective?

Very naturally. My brother, Tyler Labine and I wanted to make something in the BC wilderness, where we grew up camping and snowboarding and generally getting into trouble. And brotherhood is a subject I wanted to explore. So I kind of shoved those two ideas together and MOUNTAIN MEN emerged.

What was the biggest challenge, or challenges, in making the film?

Biggest challenges were logistical; how do we get gear over that ridge? How do we throw a sled over that cliff. How do we dunk our LA actor into that icy lake? I was not used to dealing in these adventure film tropes. But I am now!

What keeps you going while making a movie? What drives you?

For me, I have to love the work because I am not getting rich making indie films. So it is just the joy of playing with your friends, executing your own ideas, problem solving with brilliant people. I never forget that it is an absolute privilege to get to do this.

If you had to pick a single favourite moment out of the entire production, what would it be?

The moment we threw a stunt guy over the cliff and he did NOT die. Seriously though, it was thrilling to see this giant stunt happen and look even more intense than we imagined. Like I said, this kind of work was new to me.

Tell me about the technical side of the film, your relationship to the director of photography, what the movie was shot on/format and why it was decided to be filmed this way.

The film was shot on two RED cameras, because they look good and they are agile in the backcountry. Our DP, Catherine Lutes, is a gifted artist. She has an especially strong eye for nature. Her lyrical style was a nice counterpoint to the action/adventure beats, which is why I hired her.

What are you looking forward to the most about showing your movie in Whistler?

Whistler is a natural setting for the premiere for obvious reasons. But it is also a nice change from the giant urban film fests, where everyone is spread out and pulled in a million directions. I feel like the film will get a focused and receptive audience.

After the film screens in Whistler, where is the film going to show next? Anywhere you would like it to show?

MOUNTAIN MEN will be released theatrically early in 2015. Look out for it!

If you could show this movie in any cinema in the world, which one would you choose and why?

The Cinerama Dome in Hollywood California. Because it is the Cinerama Dome.

What would you say or do to someone who is talking or texting during a screening of your film?

I would say that unless they are tweeting that this is the best film of the year, they had better shove that phone somewhere the sun do not shine.

There are a lot of up and coming filmmakers reading our site. What would you want to tell them if they are aspiring to become a filmmaker?

Make films. However you can. Do not wait. It is hard to get good at it so you may as well start now. Also, personal agenda, put writing first. Either get good at it yourself or find someone who is. Make story the foundation, not an afterthought.

And finally what is your all time favorite movie?

Blue Velvet by David Lynch. Scene by scene it is funny, terrifying, strange, beautiful, suspenseful, and infinitely quotable.

Be sure to catch MOUNTAIN MEN at Whistler Film Festival, screening Thursday, 8pm at the Rainbow Theater and Sunday, 2:30pm at the Rainbow!

This is one of the many films playing at the 2014 Whistler Film Festival. For show information, tickets and for other general information on films and events, point your browser to the official website HERE,

Be sure to follow instant happenings of Whistler Film Festival on my Twitter account @jasonwhyte, including mini-reviews of films, comments on festival action and even a photo or two. You can also follow the festival on my Instagram at jason.whyte!

Jason Whyte,

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originally posted: 12/05/14 03:03:55
last updated: 12/05/14 03:11:08
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