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Currents


N E WS


WHITEWATER FILM WINS OUTDOOR FILM FESTIVAL AWARD


OTTAWA-BASED FILMMAKER MIKE MCKAY OF FIVE2NINE PRODUCTIONS TAKES HOME A PRIZE WITH “CHAOS THEORY: POINT OF DIVERGENCE.”


Adventure filmmaker Mike McKay isn’t making your average whitewater porn. Sure, his films feature class V rapids and even the occasional waterfall, but his Chaos Theory series is the perfect example of what he’s doing differ- ently: bringing a unique level of imagination to whitewater film. We caught up with McKay after “Chaos Theory: Point of Divergence”—a four-minute film that artfully cuts between city scenes, a class V river and a painter with his canvas—took the Best Film From Away award at the Main Outdoor Film Festival.


WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION FOR THIS FILM? I don’t want to sound cheesy, but I get a certain feeling from paddling class V, and I get a certain feeling from art too. I wanted to visually capture that similarity. The idea with the whole Chaos Theory series is that the first impression of what you see—something that looks chaotic on the surface— may not be just that. What looks like chaos to one person may be absolutely calm to someone else. I’m never more focused than when I’m paddling. It’s the same with art—dance, painting, percussion. I grew up in music, and I wanted to convey how the feeling I get paddling compared to my back- ground in classical guitar.


WHAT SETS THIS FILM APART? It was a huge compliment to be chosen by the Maine Festival at all, let alone win an award, because it’s an outdoor film festival—not just paddling


16 PADDLING MAGAZINE DIGITAL EXTRA: Click here to watch Chaos Theory: Point of Divergence.


films. I think “Point of Divergence” did well there is that the demographic it appeals to are the people who take a bit more time. My films get mixed reviews because they leave a bit more room for interpretation and reflection than your typical kayak video. I’d rather completely captivate an audience at a film fest than try to appeal to a person who watches the first 30 seconds of it while they’re refreshing Facebook before something else flickers onto the screen. This film appeals to people who sit down and decide to watch it.


WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES WITH WHITEWATER FILM- MAKING? It is getting harder and harder to reach an audience online. Straight up kay- ak porn gets the most views, but I don’t really know where I fit in with the whole brown claw crowd. I’m much more comfortable in the five-minute film realm and I’ve decided to stick to what I know, but my most-viewed project is a short, slow motion video of a waterfall. A baboon could have set up the camera and shot that. Whitewater is a small market, and we haven’t really found our way yet with media that goes beyond big waterfalls. With every project I try to pick another challenge—if running whitewater is like solving a series of puzzles, adding storytelling and filming to it adds a whole other level.


Emma Drudge is the editor of Rapid magazine.


PHOTO: COURTESY MIKE MCKAY


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