A Review and Follow-Up with the Tight Loops Crew about their new film.
“This is the film that fly fishing needs right now. Big Land delivers on a perceptive and honest level that is worthy of its bold ambitions. No egos, no frills or hero shots; just a rich and sincere look at some of the wildest and most rugged country on this continent, and a fish worth the trip to get there. – Seth Fields, Digital Manager of American Angler
Remember back in July of 2018 when we helped promote the launch of the Big Land Kickstarter campaign? Well, the film just dropped and we thought it was time to catch up with the film’s co-creators, Aimee and Chase Bartee, to talk about the film and to dig deeper into the adventuring spirit of Big Land.
Well, you’re both back, relatively unharmed, and are now showing your film to the world. Was this the trip, and is this the film, that you both imagined?
I think in some ways it was everything we thought it would be, and then in other ways it really surprised us. We spent so long planning the trip that we built up a lot of expectations, you know? And I think it delivered on all the high notes; big fish, wild adventure, incredible scenery etc. But then at the same time there was a lot of unexpected, more subtle revelations on the trip. I think, in the end, it became a lot more about the experience, the place, and doing it together than it was about catching fish.
This film will likely inspire some anglers to venture out in search of their own “Big Land.” Looking back on this project, your gear, the preparation, and the location; if you could go back, would you change anything? Any advice?
I don’t know that we’d change anything, because I think the trip happened exactly as it was supposed to, and we got the incredible film out of it. I can tell you that we’d for sure like to go back again and I think second time around we might take a different approach. We’ve been kicking around the idea of doing a “source to sea” paddle on that river. A trip like that would take closer to 4-6 weeks, and would be primarily focused on covering ground, but its something we’d love to do.
As for advice, we’d just like to encourage people to do their homework if they’re serious about remote tripping of any kind. It’s real life and death out there. We had medical supplies, satellite communication devices, and healthy emergency rescue insurance packages. Even with all that people have, and do go missing in the wild, so it’s not to be underestimated. We spent the better part of a year preparing for this trip, and every day doing so ended up being worth it. But if we’ve learned one thing, it’s that you can accomplish anything you set your mind too, just keep the spark alive and do the work. Before you know it you’ll be at the finish line.
“Was there a moment in the backcountry, aside from the nasty gash on your hand, that you felt you were underprepared or in danger?”
Luckily we never felt underprepared, because we’d been so diligent and regimented with our training/planning, so even when I cut my hand we were able to spring into action pretty effectively, but I think we felt real danger during the bear encounter. There isn’t a lot of it on film, because as I just said we legitimately feared for our safety and had to cut the cameras. We’ve been in pretty hairy grizzly country before, but I don’t think anything will compare to that. What made it so scary, was that we were in a location we knew a plane couldn’t land, and if anyone were to have gotten mauled there, we’d have had an incredibly serious and potentially fatal situation on our hands. Every risk is heightened 10 fold when you’re alone in the wilderness, and it left us all pretty shaken up.
In the immediate sense, we are moving out of our apartment and into our van (viewers might be familiar with from our previous films) fulltime, and heading west in the fall. We’ve got three more projects in Canada in the summer, two in Quebec/Labrador and one in Ontario. Nothing quite as involved as Big Land, but we’re super excited to get back up north before leaving the east. Hopefully lots of fishing, because we’ve pretty much spent that last 6-8 months glued to our desks editing this film. It’s all been worth it though, and it’s a great feeling to finally have it available to the public.
Support great filmmaking and learn more about Big Land by renting or buying the film on Vimeo On Demand at https://vimeo.com/ondemand/bigland/334564667