Whistler Film Festival 2014 Interview: BACKCOUNTRY director Adam MacDonald

By Jason Whyte
Posted 12/08/14 04:15:12

'If you like survival thrillers like OPEN WATER, 127 HOURS, THE GREY & JAWS, then you have to see BACKCOUNTRY! It's based on a true story of a young couple who go camping deep in the backcountry. After facing natures darkest side they are forced to survive under extraordinary circumstances. There is a scene in the movie I guarantee will keep you up at night.' Director Adam MacDonald on his film BACKCOUNTRY which screens at the 2014 Whistler Film Festival.

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

Yes this is my first film at Whistler Film Festival and I am very grateful to be a part of it! But I will not be able to attend. Missy Peregrym our lead actress is from BC and we shot some of the film in Squamish so being in Whistler is a perfect fit. I've never been to Whistler but I grew up snowboarding in the Laurentians Quebec.

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 in Montreal and I have been an actor for 18 years (You can currently see me on the show ROOKIE BLUE), but I always wanted to direct genre films and horror type thrillers. I made a decision about ten years ago to pursue a directing career and after three short films I finally got the chance to make my first feature film and it was worth the wait! I loved every minute of it. Now I live in Toronto with my wife of six years.

How did this movie come together from your perspective?

The movie took a long time to get off the ground. Roughly four years. A huge reason, if not THE reason, we finally began shooting was Thomas Michael, our producer. He worked miracles to make sure we made BACKCOUNTRY, and I will be forever grateful.

What keeps you going while making a movie? What drives you? How much coffee?

Yes, a ton of coffee! Shooting the film was extremely challenging. What kept me going everyday was the actors and watching them shine. Jeff and Missy (the leads) were fantastic. Missy was my muse for the film; the right actor to play the role of Jenn was CRUCIAL since a lot of the story is told through her eyes, and Missy nailed it. She did such an incredible job. Jeff worked his ass off and I am so proud of him too. They have some really special moments in the film and that is all THEM. Also I listened to a lot of BRING ME THE HORIZON while shooting, filling me with inspiration.

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

Two moments stand out to me; the first was coming face to face with a 600 pound black bear and the other was Missy having to do a pivotal emotional scene on the second day of shooting. And it was magic.

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.

I called director of photography Christien Bielz the eye of my soul because he captured my minds' eye. I have so much respect for that guy. He was a great collaborator and we connected really well. A lot of the beauty in the film is thanks to him. We shot on the RED Scarlett; this decision was mainly his and I trusted him. I can not wait to work with him again. You know you are in good hands when your cinematographer is willing to hang off an 80 foot cliff to get a specific shot.

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

I would have to say Grauman Chinese theatre in Hollywood. Unsure why exactly but that would be a trip! Maybe because I associate it with such great films that have had there premiere there.

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

I would take a piss right beside them and say 'Oh I'm sorry I'm I bothering you?' No no no, I would probably say nothing and just pout.

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?

I would say to never ever give up on trying to make your fist feature film, no matter how many bumps in the road and to really appreciate every second of making the film. Stay humble because the business has a funny way of making sure you will. Always stick to your vision but be open and listen to people you trust.

And finally what is your all time favorite movie?

My pick would be THE CHASER by Na hong Jin.

Be sure to check out BACKCOUNTRY at Whistler Film Festival, screening at 1pm on Sunday also at the WCC.

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 [site]]jason.whyte![/site]

Jason Whyte,

© Copyright HBS Entertainment, Inc.