ADVENTURE: Shooting Eyes of a Beginner became a wild adventure for globetrotting filmmakers

Published: November 30, 2012

Chilliwack’s Mike Bemister (left) and Rob Beare (right) along with a sherpa in the Himalayas. Submitted photo


While making their award-winning independent film, Mike Bemister and Rob Beare ran from killer hailstones in Nepal, dodged attacking wild dogs in India and endured rogue waves in Indonesia.

And that was in between takes. Bemister, a Mt. Slesse middle and Sardis secondary grad, went to India, Nepal, Japan and Indonesia with Beare to film Eyes of a Beginner.

The movie has the look and feel of a studio picture, but was filmed entirely with Bemister behind the camera and Beare writing, directing and starring.

“It was a guerilla production and that’s something I definitely credit to Rob,” Bemister told the Times.

“He had enough foresight to write a script that was bendable so that any sort of amazing adventure could fit into the story.”

Eyes of a Beginner tells the tale of a blind young man who has his eyesight restored with a groundbreaking surgery.

The first thing his new eyes see is a photo of the Himalayas so he sets out on a journey to see the mountains first hand.

Other than Vancouver actress Maryam Mehrtash, who plays Beare’s character’s love interest, the film features mostly just Beare along with “extras” in the form of people they met along the way.

Naturally, they had to get permissions from some of those people, but given the ubiquity of cameras and tourists, Bemister said they never had any major problems making a film in any of the countries and locations they shot in.
“Everywhere we went were embraced,” he said. “It was very amazing the people that we met and the people that we got to see. The adventures that we had shines through in the film.”

Planning for the film began in 2009 with Beare’s script. They then began to prepare for their film journey.

“We did a lot of hiking around Chilliwack to get ready because we knew we had to go through the Himalayas,” Bemister said.

Along the way there was no shortage of wild adventures. In Nepal, they were trekking when a massive hail storm hit – hail that leaves welts on your body. They ran for cover and found it inside a hut. Then the steel chimney on the fireplace was struck by lightning.

“We saw the electricity crawl across the ceiling,” he said. “We were huddling in this corner hoping our camera gear didn’t get fried.”

In India they were in a very dangerous city trying to catch a taxi to a train. The area was so dangerous the hotel manager was reluctant to let them leave. They finally were let out to catch a ride, ran at full sprint and dove into the car.

“As soon as the car started to back away a pack of wild dogs attacked,” Bemister said. “They were hunting us.”

In Indonesia as the two were filming a scene in the shallow ocean water, a wave “came out of nowhere” and soaked them both from head to toe.

It damaged the camera, which they couldn’t dry out because of the humid weather, so they called Chilliwack in the middle of the night. The film’s editor, Adam Besse, also of Chilliwack, ran a new camera to Vancouver and it was put on the plane with Mehrtash who was en route the next day.

“We only lost one day of filming,” he said.

After two months of filming they returned and Besse had the massive task of editing the huge volume of footage.

There is another Chilliwack connection to the film as well: These Kids Wear Crowns band members Alexander Johnson and Alan Poettcker did a couple of songs that are in the movie.

Once it was ready, the film hit the festival circuit and had some success, including “Best Feature Film” at the Spirit Quest Film Festival, “Best Canadian Feature” at the Okanagan Film Festival International, and “Judge’s Honourable Mention” at the International Film Festival for Peace, Inspiration and Equality in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Beare and Bemister are now shopping for distribution. The two run an aerial film and photography company in Langley called Mountain Shadow Productions.

Bemister is set to move back to Chilliwack – and is getting married in March – where he has set up Allwest Film and Media, an online marketing company.

The 25-year-old says he was always creative but was initially nervous about going to school for film. Then he realized he had to just do it.

“If you have a dream, regardless of what it is, you have to give it a shot,” he said.

“Because even if you don’t make it, at least you know you tried.”

You can see a trailer for Eyes of a Beginner at The film premieres Dec. 8 at 7: 30 p.m. in Vancouver at the Rio Theatre.

For more Chilliwack news, visit the Chilliwack Times.


india flag2

Sporting fans disappointed as Indian flag depicted upside down in Commonwealth Games promotional video

VANCOUVER DESI India is already making headlines as the Commonwealth Games officially kick off in Glasgow – but not for sporting-related reasons. In an official…
Continue Reading »


Heaving, hurling taxi patrons will now be charged a $75 cleanup fine

THE CANADIAN PRESS If you’re feeling queasy, step away from the cab. That’s the advice from taxi drivers across British Columbia after the province’s Passenger…
Continue Reading »


Angry villagers mob alleged suspects after another girl found hanging from tree in India

KOUSHIK DUTTA HINDUSTAN TIMES A 7-year-old girl was found raped, murdered and hanging from a tree in West Bengal on Thursday, resurfacing horrific memories from…
Continue Reading »



Heaving, hurling taxi patrons will now be charged a $75 cleanup fine

THE CANADIAN PRESS If you’re feeling queasy, step away from the cab. That’s the advice from taxi drivers across British Columbia after the province’s Passenger…
Continue Reading »

Homicide investigators are on scene at a stabbing in Surrey.

Homicide investigators on scene of stabbing in Surrey

VANCOUVER DESI A man is dead following an early morning stabbing in Surrey. Surrey RCMP were called to the 10600-block 135A Street in Whalley shortly…
Continue Reading »

Vancouver restaurateur Vikram Vij poses with Barinder Rasode at his new South Surrey restaurant My Shanti at an event Thursday night. Submitted photo.

Will Vikram Vij’s ‘support’ be enough to push Barinder Rasode into Surrey mayoralty ring?

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI Still yet to officially announce a bid for mayor this fall, Surrey city councillor Barinder Rasode had an endorsement party of…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

child abuse

Indian kidnappers agree to handover boy to parents on condition of swapping him for his sister

CEN AGENCY In a bizarre demand, parents of an Indian boy who has been kidnapped, were told that they could have youngster back if they…
Continue Reading »

232-teeth tumour gum

Indian teen boy gets 232 teeth removed from “very rare” tumour in his jaw

VANCOUVER DESI A 17-year-old boy in India underwent a seven-hour long operation on Monday to have a whopping 232 teeth removed from a “very rare”…
Continue Reading »


Indian minister criticizes ‘no-headgear’ rule after Sikh basketball players told to remove turbans during Asia Cup

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS NEW DELHI — India’s sports minister has criticized the ‘no-headgear’ rule of basketball’s world body FIBA after two Sikh players on the…
Continue Reading »


Tipsy British tourist asked to leave church after mistaking it for a disco

CEN AGENCY A tipsy British tourist had to be asked to leave a church in Crete where he started dancing after local kids told him…
Continue Reading »

Surrey-weight lifter-Commonwealth Games-Glasgow

Surrey weightlifter Parm Phangura bound for Commonwealth Games

MICHAEL BOOTH SURREY NOW FLEETWOOD — 163+205=368. That stark equation scrawled in the top corner of a chalkboard means little to a casual observer, but…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood Latest

Priyanka Chopra

Priyanka Chopra fought with professional boxers while shooting Mary Kom

IANS Mumbai  – Actress Priyanka Chopra fought with real boxers in Mary Kom, a biopic on the five time World Champion boxer. She says it…
Continue Reading »


Akshay Kumar to host dance reality show Dare 2 Dance

IANS Gurgaon  – Bollywood action hero Akshay Kumar, who has played host of TV adventure reality series Fear Factor: Khatron Ke Khiladi in the past,…
Continue Reading »


What stunt scared Jacqueline Fernandez the most while filming Kick?

IANS Mumbai — Superstar Salman Khan has done a lot of action and stunts in Kick and the film’s leading lady Jacqueline Fernandez says that…
Continue Reading »