From the Emmy-winning team of Margot McMaster and Douglas Munro CSC, the filmmaking duo behind the documentaries PayDirt: Alberta’s Oil Sands Centuries in the Making and PayDirt: Making the Unconventional - Conventional and the Canadian Society of Cinematography Best Docudrama Award, On the Edge of Destruction: The Frank Slide Story, comes the epic documentary adventure The Caravan Film.
Producer/Director Margot McMaster takes us on a cinematic ride aboard The Caravan where adventurers, grapple with route-finding, Mother Nature and unexpected obstacles in an epic 2,500 mile horse-drawn journey across America. Age 11 to 79 they travel through iconic landscapes, up and over mountains, through vast deserts, pine forests, Bayou’s and back roads.
The film explores the complexities of group dynamics, the relationship we share with our horses in this modern world and the surprising connections made along the route.
With the horse as their common bond these travellers, young and old, set out to discover America, to challenge their skills, to fulfill a life time dream but what happened on the journey was for more profound. Leading this group of relative strangers is Gerard Paagman with his team of elegant Friesian horses fresh off filming The Hunger Games - Catching Fire.
Challenging the limits of disability is Michael Muir, Great Grandson of the visionary John Muir, Father of the National Parks and co-founder of a conservation movement in the U.S.. The innovative structure that McMaster and Munro employed throughout the filming allowed them to convey candid realism through their Cinéma vérite approach combined with their epic
wide-screen vision of the trek across the vast American south. As an accomplished horse-rider and carriage driver herself, McMaster is able to connect with the journey-men, women and youth and capture an intimate portrayal of the trip.
Munro’s cinematography artfully balances the complex challenge of following numerous threads of action with a vision reminiscent of a modern-day John Ford epic. The film expresses a deep aesthetic sensibility for the American south, with compositions which have a classic strength in which people and horses in their natural surroundings are beautifully juxtaposed.
The images evoke power and regal serenity from the stunning Sonoran deserts to the legendary swamps of Florida. Slow-motion, subtle camera placement, action-camera mounting and intensional use of telephoto lenses let the filmmakers capture the journey in all its splendour, candour, and intimacy. A byproduct of McMaster’s exploration and association with The Caravaners is revealed by a larger commentary about group dynamics, personal goal setting, and growth potential in today’s modern world....by experiencing America one-step at a time at a 4 mile-per-hour pace. But first and foremost, The Caravan Film is an evocative portrayal of the journey-seeker’s dreams whose outlook on life is unraveled, tested, and in the end emerges as an elevated experience because of all the connections made along the way.
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