"Cold" - Denis Simon (soundcloud.com/dimensions/cold)
"Snow" - Denis Simon (soundcloud.com/dimensions/snow)
"Time Stood Still (Remix)" - Jonathan Whiting (soundcloud.com/johnathan_whiting/exist-strategy-time-stood-1)
"The Initiation" - Chris VP (soundcloud.com/chris-vp/the-initiation)
I am not an editor. I shoot to tell stories. This is the story of some Alaskan friends of mine, practicing one of the privileges unique to residents of Alaska.
"Under Alaska’s subsistence statute, the Alaska Board of Fisheries must identify fish stocks that support subsistence fisheries and, if there is a harvestable surplus of these stocks, adopt regulations that provide reasonable opportunities for these subsistence uses to take place. Whenever it is necessary to restrict harvests, subsistence fisheries have a preference over other uses of the stock (AS 16.05.258)."
Alaska truly is the last American frontier. One glance at the front page of a local newspaper reveals headlines more akin to the wild west than a more modern, "civilized" America. After finishing a job in Alaska last year, the author spent a couple of weeks soaking up the wild landscape in the company of some fine adventurers. On one such occasion, he was invited along to go "dipnetting" for Sockeye on the Kenai Peninsula's Kasilof River. Having no idea what this meant or where it was, it was assured to be an essential Alaskan experience.
As it turns out, dipnetting is one of many forms of subsistence living to which every Alaskan resident has a right to. In the age of Costco and Walmart, many Alaskans still rely on the annual Salmon harvest for food throughout the year. Many Inuit and some Native American communities revolve around the Salmon's life cycle, depending on it for food. While many readers may have never heard of dipnetting, it is an annual pilgrimage to rivers such as the Copper, Kasilof, and Kenai which many Alaskans would never miss.
The author's intentions in filming this event are simply to document friends going to catch their quota. Dipnetting is fairly simple. The fisherman has a net no more than five feet in diameter, at the end of a long pole, which is held in place in the water. Salmon entering the river mouth to head upstream get caught in the nets. Every Alaskan resident is allowed 25 Sockeye Salmon for the head of house, plus an additional 10 for each additional family member. For example, a home of 4 is allowed 55 Sockeye Salmon per year. That can add up to almost 550 pounds of fish, not a small amount. This privilege and the idea behind it is part of why so many native Alaskans stay, and so many foreigners decide to immigrate. It is the very essence of Alaskan culture. One can get lost here, and with the skills, supplies, and endurance, survive without a smartphone, GPS, or Facebook.
This film is about non-native Alaskans who immigrated because of this wildness. They prefer a more simple life with the unlimited options offered by the mountains and sea over suburbs and supermarkets. They are willing to sacrifice (if you can believe it) many modern day conveniences in order to live a more free, adventurous life. While the Salmon harvest may not be part of their birthright, they have chosen to make it part of their culture, in order to know their food, from "farm to table."
Shot on a Canon 5D Mark III with a couple of Nikon primes (28mm f/2.8, 100mm f/2.8, 200mm f/4). Unfortunately, no audio gear or accessories. Bare bones. Edited with Avid.