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AN INTERVIEW WITH Mark D. Rose, PRODUCER & DIRECTOR
As a producer and director, please introduce yourself.
I was born in Corvallis, Oregon to a logging family seasoned in the outdoors. At an early age he and his family moved to Alaska,
where he was raised near Juneau. Immersing himself in that challenging environ, he eventually took up aviation and focused his career
in that direction for the next 3 decades, eventually thrown into the construction of the Alaska Pipeline as manager of a fleet of helicopters,
tasked with building out the mountain network vital to the project. Working and flying in those extremes pushed he and his colleagues
to the edge on many occasions, teaching life lessons that only Alaska and the mountains can. Mark was always fascinated with photography, attested by the photo albums he collected based on the experiences he witnessed and documented along the way.
Holding multiple patents in wireless, Mark moved from high-tech then to writing (wrote 4 books) and now film,
seeing that the current generation would rather watch than read, so here I am!
Why you became a filmmaker?
I tried writing and no matter how hard I marketed, I found that the big publishers had a corner in that space. Film is where it's at,
and one can market to the world through more direct means if you have a message. In my second book, "Last of the Long Hunters"
(which did well in the Amazon Kindle space, reaching the top spot in genre multiple times), others encouraged me
to make a documentary film about my experiences flying in Alaska based on that volume, so here I am!
Give some more information about yourself and the films you have made so far, about your experience?
My first film - Alaska Long Hunters, the "Long Hunters" expression coming from President Teddy Roosevelt, describing
the pioneers who pushed out further and further to the west culminating in the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1805-07,
not to mention Jedediah Smith, Kit Carson and Davy Crockett (among others) pretty closely describes what Alaskans did with
airplanes as soon as they became available in the 1930's.
What are the films or people that had impacts on you and deeply inspired you to become a filmmaker?
Likely John Wayne in his role in "Yellow Ribbon," describing life in the old west with it's collage of stories to make the whole.
Within that film was parts of true stories put to film in a unique way.
You have made your nice documentary film "Alaska Long Hunters" which was Officially Selected in the
"American Golden Picture International Film Festival".
Why you decided to make it?
This film is a true story of my life is based on my book "Last of the Long Hunters" (2015) and other important folks who helped me along the way. Some are not with us. I wanted to tell their story and also give honor to the role God played in my life at the same time the best I could.
What were some of the challenges you faced in making this film?
Overall, no one who filmed and acted in ALH had ever been to Alaska before. I had to get them there, show them the country and the people in it. This took a time span covering parts of three years. In the sequence where I dropped the winter survival suit to Mick on the ground,
(no one but me knew what that suit was), and that evening the weather switched and I looked over to see an ugly black wall of weather
heading my way fast, full of lightning strikes and turbulence. In 40+ years flying in Alaska, I had never seen anything like it.
It became a race to get to the scene, do the drop and get out before we got caught. As it turned out a gust caught the $500 suit and
it ended up landing in the river and we lost it! At another set, one of the guys shooting an air to air scene called me that night
and emotionally broke down, explaining that his best friend had crashed in a small plane accident that same day in Canada and died.
He had to be replaced, his wife telling him "no more small plane rides!" When he came back, his attitude had changed 1000% about the safety message I was trying to convey in the book and somewhat in the film. Alaska is like that.
Let us more about your experience in this specific film?
I learned filmmaking is like flying in the jungle - "long periods of boredom interrupted by moments of sheer terror."
It was fun showing and explaining how things work in Alaska and Ak aviation to the actors and staff. I'm 65, and doing most of the flying
piece was not as easy as it used to be. Landing short in 300ft traveling 50ft /second and getting stopped is not easy.
I was glad when that part was over.
The cinematography, sound and editing is wonderful and supports the film in a very effective way.
What was it like to work with them?
I loved seeing our grip - Larry Lavine work in Alaska. Learned how vital sound as light was. I wanted the actors and staff to stay safe and
I think we did that well, plus showing them Alaska was fun, We had heard that some production teams that go there didn't leave a good impression, so matter what, that was not going to happen on my watch and I think we accomplished such based on the conversations
I've had with those we interviewed in the film and those in the communities.
For you what was the biggest lesson you had to learn after making this film?
I think we needed to use the "Golden Hours" better, and I've been shooting "B' roll for the next film using that.
I'm also working on communicating the realism of bush flying to the audience in the next one and adding helicopters to the mix in that.
I own one from the period we're using for that purpose.
What keeps you inspired to continue filmmaking?
ALH as told in the documentary was just the small picture. There's a lot more to the story and were working on a film to express that.
The most important part is distributing the film. What did you do for distributing your film "Alaska Long Hunters"?
As it's a faith-based message film, I debuted at a large national convention for that and was signing contracts before the show began.
We've had other breakthroughs which are exciting because of our commitment to make a quality product.
What are your filmmaking goals?
Make a short film yearly about Alaska and see where the feature version of ALH goes.
What is your next project?
As suggested here, I've signed a contract to produce a feature film based on the content of ALH by 2022, full on with actors and the lot.
Thanks for this opportunity to share. You can view a "back scene" clip here: https://youtu.be/kZj0G3B1TfQ
GOOD LUCK Mark
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