For years independently owned and operated theaters have become a rare thing. Growing up there were plenty of neighborhood-based theaters that ran a variety of Hollywood, independent or really any films that would fill the seats. I have happy memories of Sergio Leone shoot-fests, foreign films etc. at the Capital on Rideau, the original Bytowne, the Mayfair etc. So most of those theaters are still here and doing a great job in delivering films where spandex is not the prevailing fashion sense.
What’s changed is just how important this role has become in our current situation where while. We have plenty ways to deliver content across a variety of platforms and modalities, the actual ‘movie going’ experience has become less available as major chains focus on algorithm-based content that reduce choice and availability. To which I don’t fault them for doing so, its a business after all and the fact that any chains thrive at all in the Netflix universe is magic to me anyways.
Independents give you the choices you wont find in chains but also give you the experience of a theater which, for me, is a big part of the deal. Independents provide the opportunity for a new artist to see their work on the big screen, for festivals to reach out to their audiences as well as specialized programming to meet other needs. By extending choice independently owned theaters extend the experience of movie goers and for that they should be treasured.
Based on a true story about an urban couple who go camping in the Canadian wilderness, writer/director Adam MacDonald‘s directorial feature film debut Backcountryis described as “a full blown, full blooded horror film about the apathy of nature and the folly of human resistance in the face of its violent shrug. There are no cartoonish, cross-eyed, cannibalistic hillbillies lurking in these deep, dangerous forests. There is simply the sheer panic of being swallowed by the unknown…and the very real possibility of being ripped to shreds by one very hungry bear.” — Fangoria
“[The movie] came to me when I was lying in a tent with my wife and I heard something large walking around at the crack of dawn. I was scared, and luckily for us, whatever it was walked away, and left me with an idea.” says Adam MadDonald about the film that was shot in 17 days in North Bay and Squamish, B.C.
Mountain Men is a Canadian comedy/drama that follows two estranged brothers, Toph and Cooper (played by Tyler Labine and Chance Crawford), as they journey to a remote family cabin in the mountains to evict a squatter. When old resentments and bruised egos derail their plans they end up with a burned truck, a destroyed cabin and injuries which force them to reconcile and work together if they want a chance at making it back to civilization.
Writer/Director Cameron Labine (lead actor Tyler Labine’s real-life brother) studied film at the University of British Columbia. Labine’s first feature film, Control Alt Delete premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2008.
Mountain Men is currently available on iTunes and streaming on Netflix Canada. Here’s the trailer.