AN INTERVIEW WITH MARK ROSE, WRITER, DIRECTOR & PRODUCER OF "ALASKA LONG HUNTERS"
Nominee: Best Inspirational Film - June 2021 Edition
WRITER, DIRECTOR & PRODUCER
Mark D. Rose 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 environment, 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!
Hello Mark Rose, thank you for sharing your exceptional story with us. How did you realize you wanted to make a film of it, and why a film?
After writing several books and the most popular being “Last of the Long Hunters”, and inquiring about making a doc about those true-life experiences, I thought, “what the the heck, why not try this” so I checked with a couple of respected filmmakers and decided to try it.
Another striking trait of the film is the accuracy with which each character recounts their shared stories. Why do you think you all have such acute memories?
Well, as Producer with a drive to "tell it like it is" and the book "Last of the Long Hunters" as a basis, and not play around with the truth, my motives were pure, it was to be the truth as much as the public could tolerate, without getting into the ugly details.
This is also the testimony of a man's spiritual quest —yours, as a point of fact. What compelled you to also share that aspect of your journey?
Ok, glad you asked that one; as you know, this film tells the story of my conversion to Christiantity, within the context of a true Alaskan story. It's also raw and humbling in that respect, as the experience for me was real, and I felt it needs to be told, whether it sells tickets or not is the bottom line.
Coming to Christ in an honest manner is not a boastful ego trip, its about the fact that if man desires to know God, you play by His rules, be humble, and not your own self if you desire the rewards, those being forgiveness of sin, finding peace and having a clear conscience. The big payoff I have found is getting supernatural answers to prayer, thats the fun part!
What is the situation in Alaska nowadays, in terms of climate change? Have you observed that any significant changes have occurred in the region since you first started exploring it? If not, what do you think are the reasons? If yes, have you engaged in any type of action to help preserve the area?
I've worked with several well known Geologists and Glaciologists over the years flying, and personally feel we are in a cycle these days, warming for sure based on the glaciers melting around the world. On the contrary, the weather patterns are flipping back now, we seeing record cold in some areas in Alaska, so unless I can live 5-10 more lifetimes, I would reserve judgement on that one!
How long did it take you to complete your movie, and as a "fresh" filmmaker, if you may, what was your process in embracing this new form?
We shot over a 3 year period, one was to catch the different seasons to capture the natural beauty of Alaska. Further, I wanted to mention a few things that happened while shooting if I could; in the scene where we depicted dropping the survival suit to Mick on the ground, the day started as a smooth and beautiful evening to fly out the set where the camera was setup.
About ½ way there, I got into strange turbulence, like something was grabbing me by the tail and tossing me around. I looked at the passenger and he looked at me, like – “what was that?” Then it happened and second time.. I’ve been flying for 50 years and never experienced anything like it... as I was checking the controls and looking around, I looked to my left and there was an angry line of black thunderstorms, lightning striking in them and heading right for the set!
I looking at the timing I thought “I think we have time to make the drop and get out.” We were supposed to land, but I scrapped that! When we did make the drop, the $500 suit never made it to the ground, rather the wind caught it and it went into the river! Never saw it again. At that failure I threw the power to it and we dashed back to the field, landing just as the storm hit! That was a close one!
On the brighter side, we wanted to get some air to air shots in the beautiful Alaska fall time, and flying into a far off canyon a rainbow formed around me and seemed to follow us for 30 miles, this was an emotional moment for me, feeling like God was blessing us. Now after, I can testify He has..!
Along this line, was this a "one shot", or have you developed a taste for filmmaking? Do you have an up and coming project up your sleeve?
I loved it and we are working on a new edition of "Alaska Long Hunters" called "Alaska Rescue Story." Hoping to be done in 2022, for updates, follow www.alaskarescuestory.com
Short statement describing your vision of the post-Covid cinema, do you think there will be notable changes?
As far as post covid filmmaking, Alaska is no problem. Getting crew there and back from the continental USA can be tricky. A new film company I hired had the owner and wife come down with covid and has cancelled/postponed for now, so yes, covid has affected us!