“The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven..”
- John Milton, Paradise Lost
We Are Here was initially inspired by the power and depth of the landscape of Haida Gwaii, the archipelago that sits on the shelf of the Pacific Ocean off the north western coast of British Columbia. Haida Gwaii exists just outside the world as we know it. Its ecosystem is a battleground of rich, old-growth rainforests towering upwards from moss carpeted depths, tidal channels thick with sea life and crashing walls of saltwater that paint the beaches with relics from around the world that the ocean casually clings to for a time and then relinquishes just as easily. It’s a place that’s heavy with a sense of time. It’s one of the few places I’ve travelled where you feel as though you understand time from a geological perspective. It's a slow and steady pace that stands in sharp opposition to the hurried daily life so many of us have a grown accustomed to.
But its wilderness extends further than the physical landscape. It becomes a psychological experience very quickly. You are forced to examine your relationship with everything—your family, your lovers, your strengths and weaknesses, your past and your future. You are very much left to live and learn from yourself. Haida Gwaii is all at once a playground, a classroom, a story, a stage, a beginning and, in its darker moments, an end. A modern day Eden but through the cracked and faded looking glass of time.
Our story assembled itself around the question of what Adam and Eve-type characters might struggle with should they find themselves at the end of a long story rather than the beginning of it. How might they be different? Would their circumstances change who they are and what they want? In their relationship, which is keeping their eye on the horizon and which is trying desperately to live in the moment? How do they move forward when everything is behind them?
The entire process was a labor of love that began with Troian and I writing together, and under the guidance of our remarkable producer Natalie Urquhart evolved to include the entire communality of Tow Hill Road just outside of Masset, Haida Gwaii, coming together and collaborating to help us bring to this story to life. Our crew wrestled with constantly shifting weather, king tides that regularly rearranged a painstakingly production-designed beach, a temperamental solar and wind power system that we relied on to charge all of our batteries and all of the other small struggles that come with living off the grid while trying to make a film.
We Are Here was, in every way, an experiment, an experience and an adventure and we all left it a little different then when we began.
Thanks for you interest,