“WAY OF THE HUNTER is about the very controversial subject of hunting. We now live in a very polarized world and among the most divisive, the most toxic, is the online fight between anti-hunter and hunter. I think in a way it’s a microcosm of the dysfunctional way we now communicate, especially considering the current political situation south of the border.
Sadly, we are not communicating at all.
The film explores my own changing relationship with hunting over many years. From a boy in the 1960s watching my father hunt to feed his big family to a young man hunting more for the “sport” of it. Moving away from rural life to the city experience gave me a new perspective. I soon quit hunting altogether. I realized wildlife was extremely vulnerable to human activities. Making documentary films on wildlife and environmental issues followed. In time I saw hunters as a threat to the wild creatures I was filming. When I saw their posts online, proudly posing with everything from dead grizzlies to lions and even giraffes I felt sickened. This is where we can be pulled into a terrible place. The comments from the non-hunters were very toxic, even dangerous and the hunters responded with the same intensity. At first, I only read the comments but I was inevitably drawn into the fray, to the point of trolling hunters online.
A serendipitous discovery online led me to a meeting with an Eco wilderness guide working in the Great Bear Rain Forest. He had a much better way of communicating and had successfully persuaded a trophy hunter out of killing a grizzly. This is ultimately where the story takes us.” Director Robert Moberg on WAY OF THE HUNTER which screens at the 2018 edition of the Whistler Film Festival.
Welcome to the amazing Whistler Film Festival! Are you planning to attend WFF with your film?
Unfortunately, I will be out of the country during the festival.
How did you first hear about Kristyn Stilling’s Shortwork Showcase and wishing to send your film into the Whistler Film Festival?
The film was submitted by the National Film Board of Canada which produced the film and is its distributor.
Tell me about the idea behind your project and getting it made!
The initial idea for the film was more of an angry, one-sided take on trophy hunting. I eventually softened this approach and wanted to look at the online aspects, the toxicity and a way out.
Who are some of your main creative inspirations for this project?
I would have to say in all honesty and without sounding cliché that it was wildlife and nature more than a particular film or director.
How did you put the short together from a technical viewpoint? What sort of cameras/lenses did you use, and any creative challenges in making it?
This film was a wonderful collaboration with the National Film Board of Canada. We used Red cameras and cinema lenses. I worked with amazing cinematographers, location sound, editors, composers, musicians and sound designers. Shooting outdoors can be a huge challenge but we got very lucky with the weather. Finding and photographing wildlife is also difficult and can take enormous effort but we were able to film humpback whales, grizzly bears, dolphins and sea lions on a single day trip. It was unbelievable. The project had luck on its side from the start.
After your short screens here, where is it going next? Anywhere you would love to show it?
The NFB will continue to submit it to several festivals, and eventually, it will be available on its online platform!
What would you suggest to theatres or even film festivals as a way to show more short films theatrically or make them more accessible to audiences across the country?
Wouldn’t it be nice if theatres stopped showing 30 minutes of Skittles advertisements and made room for a short film?
If you know of anyone around you wanting to become a filmmaker, or even put together shorts, what would you suggest to get their start?
I would say they should first know this is now a very, very crowded and competitive occupation. If you are obsessed and only if you really are – start shooting. Use your iPhone and iMovie if you have to. Tell your story and don’t try to guess what others want.
And finally, what is your favourite short film of all time?
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD!
This is one of the many movies playing at this year’s Whistler Film Festival. For more showtime information and on the festival itself, point your browser to www.whistlerfilmfestival.com!