Jessica Oreck waited four years to release the follow-up to her SXSW premiering documentary film “Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo,” which traced the cultural ties between insects and Japan’s fascination with them. While set far from her previous film’s Japanese setting, “Aatsinki: The Story of Arctic Cowboys” continues her fascination humanities relationship with the animal world, this time focuses on a group of Finish reindeer herders and their relationship with each other.
What it’s about: “Aatsinki is a year in the life of this incredible family of reindeer herders in Finnish Lapland. It’s about labor and leisure and being connected to the land.”
What else should audiences know: “I hope the film speaks for itself. But I tend to misname my films. Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo wasn’t a B horror movie and Arctic Cowboys is no Western. It’s just a really pure, atmospheric experience. Or so I hope.”
What was your biggest challenge in developing this project: “Money. It’s always money. Not frost bite, not broken microphones in the middle of the arctic wilderness. Oh no. It’s money.”
What they hope audiences will walk away with: “I want audiences to come away with their own opinions. I don’t like putting words in people’s mouths. That’s part of the reason we made the interactive, The Aatsinki Season, to accompany the film. I hope the film will get people thinking about their own relationships with nature – and that the interactive will turn those thoughts into decisions and action.”
On films that inspired them: “Making this film I watched a lot of Anthony Mann westerns, Budd Boetticher, pretty much anything with Gary Cooper in it. I measure everything in my life against Gary Cooper as a cowboy. That’s who I was looking for when I started researching for this project. Aarne Aatsinki is about half Cooper’s height, but they have a lot in common.”
What’s next: “I’m working on finishing another feature documentary (called The Vanquishing of the Witch Baba Yaga) that feels like the never-ending story. It’s been in the works 4 years already. But it is finally coming together. I’m pretty excited about it. And I’ve got a series of shorts I’ve been working on called Mysteries of Vernacular. That takes up a huge chunk of my time, but I really enjoy it.”
Indiewire invited Tribeca Film Festival directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they’re doing next. We’ll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2013 festival.
Keep checking HERE every day up to the launch of the festival on April 17 for the latest profiles.