Friday, April 30, 2010

In between takes

I'm writing this in between takes at our main interior location. The house is Andrew's aaka's old house by the beach in Barrow and we have internet here that will allow me to finally upload some images for you all.

Funny coincidence is that the Barrow Sea Ice Webcam is mounted on a building right up the hill from the house so if you want to see what we're doing right now, just check out this link It's a still image, not live video, but depending on when you look you might see us standing around with our equipment outside the white house with red trim.

If you see a dark line in the clouds on the horizon behind the house that is a reflection of the open lead. That dark line was a very welcome site to us when it reappeared two days ago. It doesn't seem to be too strong in the sky right now, but if it's there you'll definitely notice.

Things have been really stressful and difficult but we are getting great scenes despite the obstacles. The lead closed up just before our first day of filming and it hadn't opened again until 2 days ago. We're in the process of helping Andrew's uncle's crew cut trail again out to the new lead so we'll see what happens. We are extremely conscious of respecting what the whaling crews want so we have to wait and see if tomorrow is the right time.

I don't have time to write much more but here are a few fantastic photos from our multi-talented Production Manager Maura Anderson...

Our friend Joe Sage with another member of the amazing Barrow Dancers who dance in our big opening scene at the roller rink

Barrow Dancers taking a quick break

Our two lead actors Josiah Patkotak and Frank Qutuk Irelan practicing their dance.

Beautiful Denae Brower who is playing Darlene, the little sister of one of our lead characters. Her gorgeous parka was made by her mom Blessing Brower (who we featured in our 2005 documentary When the Season is Good: Artists of Arctic Alaska)

Our writer/director Andrew Okpeaha MacLean at sunset on the day we were filming at scene at the new cemetary site.

The new cemetary site later that same evening

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Filming starts tomorrow!

A few minutes to write...

The wind and ice are messing with our minds tonight, the night before our first day of photography. The short version is there is a southwesterly wind in Barrow this evening which isn't a great thing. So far it seems like our lead (open water next to frozen ocean) is still open (kind of) but there is always a concern that it will close. The lead is actually covered with a thin layer of new ice right now, but the hope is that we can break through it with a boat. We were given permission by the whaling captains to film by the lead over the next few days but we are under a lot of pressure to get it done quickly so as not to negatively affect any whaling.

In order to film we need to get an aluminum boat out to our camp near the lead. The aluminum boat will be loaded onto a large wooden sled and hauled out by snowmachine tomorrow morning. However, our trail has suffered a little shifting and late today we realized it needed more work in order for us to get the boat out there safely. So about 2 hours ago, 4 amazing members of our crew joined Andrew's cousin JR back out on the trail. They have been fixing and recutting the trail, so the boat will have safe passage and we can actually make our day tomorrow.

I can't believe we are finally starting tomorrow. This has been five years in the making for us. Please send all your good thoughts our way for tomorrow to happen one way or another!

I will write more when I can, but in the meantime here are a couple pictures of the lead (2 days ago) from our Production Designer Chad Keith.