Interview with Filmmaker Mark Knight (THE GREAT ATCHAFALAYA BASIN)

THE GREAT ATCHAFALAYA BASIN played to rave reviews at the February 2021 Environmental Film Festival.

What motivated you to make this film?

– I grew up in that part of Louisiana and I know that most people do not even know it exists. It’s incredibly beautiful and it provides such an important role in our eco-system… even I did not know the extent to which it was/is being threatened until I started filming and talking with Dean and Jody and the others who ultimately were involved.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?

– I took some breaks between trips over to Louisiana(I live in Austin, Texas)… there were times when low water levels in the basin made filming impossible(as is talked about in the video). It also took a little while for Dean and Jody to become available.. they are both so busy working on various projects inside the basin and also making a living! I started in July of last year… and finished in November.

3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?

Disappearing Wilderness

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

As I mentioned, the low water levels in the basin sometimes made it impossible to navigate with the airboat through some areas.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

– I’m pleased that people are getting to see this part of the world… and how beautiful and important it is on so many different levels. It was never our (Jim Wilmer and myself) intention to make a ‘hit’ piece on the corporations and entities whose actions and disregard have created such a fragile landscape… We prefer a ‘velvet hammer’ approach with a more meditative style that lets people see and vicariously experience the beauty for themselves.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. What are your passions in life?

I love nature photography/videography and being outdoors… and I’ve been fortunate in my life to have been able to make a living doing what I love to do.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

hmmm… Back to The Future?

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

It’s a great platform for smaller filmmakers like us.

9. What is your favorite meal?

– Crawfish Etouffee!

10. What is next for you? A new film?

I just finished editing the VR version of this film that we shot at the same time using hi-res, stereoscopic cameras. Utilizing the latest headset technology and playing it back at 8K resolution… it’s as close to actually being there as you can get! It feels very real.

By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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