Interview with Filmmaker Tim Behuniak (HOME CRAG)

HOME CRAG was the winner of BEST ENVIRONMENTAL FILM at the Jan. 2022 ENVIROMENTAL Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Gnarly Nutrition wanted to make this film because, as a brand, we care about sustainability and environmental issues. In the film, just before Nathaniel climbs “Wrist Rocket,” you can see him pour Gnarly BCAAs into his nalgene. The BCAAs are in Gnarly Nutrition’s new steel can packaging. We wanted to put our money where our mouth was and fund a project that directly relates to sustainability and environmental protection.

Moreso, Gnarly Nutrition employees live, work and play in Salt Lake City. We all rock climb. Little Cottonwood Canyon is right in our backyard and is a recreation area that we all care about because it is, in fact, our “Home Crag.” I think it was exciting for everyone at Gnarly Nutrition to be a part of this project and tell this story since pretty much all of the media around the Little Cottonwood issue is focused on skiing. We are skiers, too, but more information needs to be given surrounding other forms of recreation and the environmental impact on the climbing resources, and the overall resources of the canyon.

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

This film actually came together fairly quickly, unlike most film projects. We had the initial idea in early summer 2021 but had to put it on the backburner since our main character, Nathaniel Coleman, was headed to the Olympics and we didn’t want to distract him from the world stage (where he won Silver Medal for climbing). So we actually started putting out requests for quotes from videographers in October and then premiered the film at an in-person event on January 12. So overall, really just about 3 months from pre-production to release, which is pretty tight for a film like this!

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

Purpose driven.

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

Hmmmm, this is honestly a great question, as there were several.

The first was timing: With working around an Olympic/professional athlete’s hectic schedule and being able to shoot stills and video in the canyon before the snow started falling – we had just a few small weather windows to work with. Luckily we were able to pull it of before winter really came in to SLC.

The other major obstacle was balancing stakeholder considerations. We gained input from several other organizations to pull this off, so we needed to be mindful of their position in local and national politics. There was a lot more we could have said in this film in terms of how this environmental issue is being handled at the state level, but we did the best we could to hold a neutral point of view while still showcasing the rock climber’s perspective.

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

It was nice to hear that the messaging resonated with those who do not live in SLC/Utah and even those who aren’t rock climbers themselves – that the basic issue of “development vs protecting the environment and recreation spaces” was able to penetrate a wide-ranging audience.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

I’ve personally always been a lover of art and photography and films. I was fortunate to grow up surrounded by a vast library of films and spent many poor-weather days watching all sorts of films. When I discovered photography at an early age that easily segued into filmmaking and being interested into directing and producing. Thankfully, as Content Manager at Gnarly Nutrition, my personal interests overlap heavily with my professional responsibilities.

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

This is a tough question! Most films with Tom Hanks, or anything directed by Quentin Tarantino. I also have watched almost every brand-sponsored film that YETI Coolers and Patagonia puts out, which both brands’ projects have influenced my personal and professional artistic thought process and decision-making. On that level, anything that photographer and filmmaker Jordan Manely has put his brain behind is super impactful and influential, especially films like “Treeline.”

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

Everything you’ve done so far has been super helpful – thank you!

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?

Very easy to find festivals to submit to and seamless for submitting to multiple at the same time.

10. What is your favorite meal?

I love tacos!

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

We definitely have a few film projects in the works at Gnarly Nutrition that I’m very excited about. So stay tuned for that! And then personally, I’m always shooting photos and looking for more personal projects to be a part of and stories to tell, all can be found at http://www.timothybehuniak.com.

By matthewtoffolo

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

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