Award-winning Tsilhqot’in filmmaker Trevor Mack says his latest project is a personal story that has been with him for about five years.
“Out of the Barren will be my first feature length film, but to raise more awareness I am making a short film first,” Mack told the Tribune during a phone interview from his home in Vancouver.
His logline for the 15-minute short reads: “forced to choose between his new found love and his recently discovered cultural background, an Indigenous teenager’s life is ruptured when an open pit mine is proposed near his hometown.”
“Williams Lake and the whole region will be able to see the allusions in the story,” Mack said, referring to the proposed New Prosperity Mine in the Chilcotin.
“It’s the story that was going on when I was in high school there.”
In the story, as the teenage boy becomes connected to his Tsilhqot’in culture he learns of the proposed mine and becomes dead set against it.
“I don’t want to spoil the story any further, but when he meets the new girl in town everything just kind of explodes,” Mack said. “It is a contemporary star-crossed lovers Canadian story.”
Mack began formulating the project in his mind two years ago, and then earlier this year began writing the feature film with award-winning director and film-maker Kathleen Hepburn.
Hepburn’s husband Tyler Hagan was the director of photogra -phy on Mack’s recent short film Clouds of Autumn.
“My new film is relevant to what is happening at Standing Rock, North Dakota and the protest against the pipeline down there,” Mack said.
Originally he wanted to film it in Nelson, B.C. because it had the perfect look and the fall colours, but when he started running out of time, he ended up filming it in Maple Ridge and Mission.
Mack is acting in the short film, something he has not done before.
“I am acting as the lead character in the short film just because it’s such a personal story. Emily Magowan, a local model from Vancouver is acting in it with me.”
Two other crew members are part of the team and musician Conan Karpinski is writing the score. He’s a member of the up and coming band Little India, Mack said.
“I don’t know if I will act in the full length film because there are so many factors when it comes into the big movies.”
When asked if the lead character would have the name Trevor, Mack said probably not because there are attributes he’s added to the part that are not his.
“I’m still really connected to him though,” he chuckled.
Once the short is completed, next month, Mack hopes it will screen on the festival route like Clouds of Autumn did, he said.
“Hopefully I will be able to screen it in Williams Lake too.”