THE ABSENCE OF PRESENCE | Justin Suttles
Making Hominid was an absolute joy. In fact, it might have been the best filmmaking experience of my life thus far. It's amazing what you can achieve when everyone on the crew wants to be there, and is having a good time. Having shot it up in the rugged mountains of Tennessee, it provided our crew with an idyllic escape that was much needed, and allowed us to focus solely on making the most effective film we knew how to. We only hope now that our fervor in the moment translates on screen to an enjoyable experience.
Hominid is an idea that I've carried with me for years and years. As such, it was extremely exciting when the opportunity finally presented itself to turn that idea into a film. Every filmmaker has their own set of inspirations that are an impetus for the art they create. A driving force behind all of my art is the idea of the unknown. Characters discovering something more, something unexpected, right here in our world. That, coupled with themes of inspiration in the mundane, closure and catharsis are plot elements that I find myself revisiting again and again. Hominid was the perfect culmination of all of these facets, which allowed my team and I to try and make a film that hopefully resonates on multiple levels.
One obstacle we had to overcome was figuring out how we were going to get a helicopter for the film. Everyone in pre-production basically told us that it couldn't be done on our budget. But thanks to the overwhelming generosity of Wings Air Rescue, we were able to pull it off. I have a simple motto when it comes to filmmaking; "Your success in the film industry is directly proportional to how many e-mails you're willing to send". That adage was never proven truer than with the helicopter. After numerous correspondences with WINGS, they graciously agreed to coordinate our shoot with a routine training mission to Roan Mountain State Park, and it actually ended up being one of the more cost effective elements of production, which was surprising.
On the day the whole crew and I were waiting out on the grassy field, and we heard the faint buzzing of the chopper blades approaching from over the ridge, we all knew we were making something special. Moral of the story, never be afraid to ask for something. What's the worst that can happen? They say no?
Written by Justin Suttles, Director of Hominid.
Watch the official trailer: