Whistler Film Festival 2014 Interview: SNOWMAN director Mike Douglas
By Jason Whyte
Posted 12/08/14 04:22:07
'SNOWMAN is a familiar story about dreams, risk, and friendship. Kevin Fogolin thought he had life figured out until the helicopter he was travelling in slammed into the side of a mountain.' Director Mike Douglas on his film SNOWMAN which is the closing night film of the 2014 Whistler Film Festival.
Is this your first Whistler Film Festival experience and are you going to attend your screenings?
This is the third film I have presented at Whistler, but my first feature. The majority of our cast and crew will attend the screenings. This is our hometown, so we could not think of a better place.
Tell me a bit about your background and how you became a filmmaker. Also what have you worked on in the past?
I have been a pro skier for the past 25 years, so I have had a lot of experience on the other side of the lens. You are not supposed to be a pro skier this long, so about ten years ago I started a small production company called Switchback Entertainment and got into filmmaking. We produce the web series Salomon Freeski TV as well as a bunch of commercial work. I have directed two reasonably successful short docs (THE FREEDOM CHAIR & TEMPTING FEAR).
How did this movie come together from your perspective?
The helicopter crash happened to my best friend. It is one of the craziest stories I have ever heard, so we decided to make a film about it.
What was the biggest challenge, or challenges, in making the film?
Weather was the biggest challenge. The film is set in a very remote part of BC and much of the filming was dependent on having the right kind of weather for making avalanches. One year we did not get any good ones on film. It took a lot of patience.
What keeps you going while making a movie? What drives you?
This story is very personal for me. Even though it was a tough road, I knew I had to complete this project. It took 3 years and was the hardest project I have ever tackled.
If you had to pick a single favourite moment out of the entire production, what would it be?
The day we gambled everything left in the budget to try and capture large avalanches with a Cineflex. It was a huge risk for us, but it worked out perfectly and we were able to capture some amazing footage of avalanches plunging down the mountain.
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 primarily shot by my co-producer, Anthony Bonello and myself. Because of the challenges of getting on-site, most often we could only have one cameraman with Kevin. We shot primarily on the Sony FS700, as well as the GoPro Hero 3 and Canon 7D. Lightweight gear was key because we were often on the snow and moving quickly.
What are you looking forward to the most about showing your movie in Whistler?
It is our hometown and a lot of the movie is set here. It really is the perfect place for our premiere. We are submitting to festivals all over the place, so I guess we will just have to wait and see where we get in.
If you could show this movie in any cinema in the world, which one would you choose and why?
Honestly, it can not get better than the Whistler Film Fest in front of our friends family and the community that has supported us.
What would you say or do to someone who is talking or texting during a screening of your film?
'I HOPE IT IS IMPORTANT?!'
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?
It has never been easier and cheaper to make a film. It takes passion and a lot of hard work, but the possibilities are endless.
And finally what is your all time favorite movie? Or film festival movie?
Too tough to say, but my favorite film this year is THE OVERNIGHTERS by Jesse Moss.
SNOWMAN closes the 2014 Whistler Film Festival and is a SOLD OUT screening, however tickets are still available for an additional screening at 9:45 at Rainbow theater.
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, efilmcritic.com