Behind the Lens: A Director’s View of The Back 80

The strange thing about making a film using real people is you just never know what you’re going to get. You can come up with a concept and plan it out but at the end of the day you end up with whatever your subject gives you. I really love making this type of movie though, there is very little pressure while filming, you just go out there and get what you can get. It’s a ton of fun! The downside is, all the pressure is on the editing side. A movie has to be made from all of these fragmented pieces and this movie has to make sense AND be entertaining. It’s quite a challenge but once the final version is completed and shown to the public it can be very satisfying.

Suzanne, the subject of our next film The Back 80, has made this project so interesting and such a joy to work on. When we approached her about doing this she was more than happy to help. As she realized “she” was the movie she became ecstatic to help make it better. Her ideas and behind the scenes work organizing interviews and getting unprecedented access to property and locations was instrumental in making the film what it is. But she didn’t give us what we wanted, in the end, it wasn’t even close. What she did give us was great, really great, and it changed the vision and direction of our project. And that’s what I love about making this type of film! Everyone involved with the filming has been so great and opinionated that the movie we set out to make has become the movie a small group of great people have made together.

Our weekends of filming were some of the best times of our lives. Suzanne and her husband Bernie were such accommodating and gracious hosts. We spent nights sleeping in their guest bedroom, when we were too lazy to setup a tent in the yard, and Bernie kept us fed with his awesome style of home cooking. They drove us around to various locations and we even had an awesome canoe ride down the Mohican River. There were moments where it felt like we were back in 2013 and Bigfoot was lurking around the corner. With each detail we uncovered about the activity that year the closer we felt connected to the area and to our story. It was truly a magical experience…life changing.

We met some great and interesting people along the way and had quite an adventure. Some of the locations we were able to film in were so amazing and we were lucky enough to be able to explore these locations on our own, even at night. We gained access to areas that Bigfoot investigators or film makers have never been to before. Areas where the probability of a Sasquatch passing through at some point in time were very high. And we were able to capture these moments with our lenses and bring the viewer along for the ride.

The Back 80 isn’t just about Suzanne’s journey into all things Bigfoot, but our journey as film makers in reliving her experiences. Jesse and I grew as human beings and as film makers. This project has allowed us to tap into our creativity and push the boundaries of our capability. I think the finished product will capture the essence of what it’s like to live among these gentle giants and will give the viewer a since of being there along the way. You will get to know Suzanne and understand what it’s like to have Bigfoot live nearby.

3 thoughts on “Behind the Lens: A Director’s View of The Back 80

  1. Thanks for the info. Just one more reason to look forward to the 2017 OBC.

    I will also keep an eye out for the Kickstarter campaign.

    Thanks again.

  2. Really looking forward to this, Jesse and Alan. Thanks for the update on your progress. Any guesses as to when we might get a peek at this project?


    Kevin B.
    Westerville, OH

    1. Thanks Kevin! The world premiere is set for May 20th at the Ohio Bigfoot Conference, Salt Fork State Park. Look for a Kickstarter campaign to start around the first of the year that may offer an opportunity to see the film a little sooner.

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