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

PAUL J. HENDERSON
CHILLIWACK TIMES

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 www.eyesofabeginner.com. The film premieres Dec. 8 at 7: 30 p.m. in Vancouver at the Rio Theatre.

For more Chilliwack news, visit the Chilliwack Times.






Featured

Abbotsford's Ravinder Singh Atwal has been identified online as the truck driver who died in a truck crash on Highway 99 near Delta on Wednesday. The Abbotsford father was killed when his dump truck hit the highway median and burst into flames. Submitted photo/Facebook.

Abbotsford trucker killed on Hwy 99 remembered as ‘one of the nicest guys’

GLENDA LUYMES VANCOUVER DESI An Abbotsford father killed in a fiery crash on Highway 99 is being remembered as hard-working and friendly by fellow truck…
Continue Reading »

A man reads the latest issue of French weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo bearing a cartoon of Prophet Mohammed at a French bookseller in Abidjan on January 19, 2015. SIA KAMBOU/AFP/Getty Images

Mumbai police arrest newspaper editor for reprinting Charlie Hebdo cartoon

VANCOUVER DESI Mumbai police have arrested and since bailed out the editor of an Urdu language newspaper for reprinting a Charlie Hebdo cartoon of the…
Continue Reading »

Indian spectators watch as a float carrying a sign that reads "Congratulations! It's a Baby Girl" passes by during the Indian Republic Day parade in New Delhi on January 26, 2015. The float represented India's Ministry of Women and Child Development.  An estimated 26 million babies are born anually in India, a country considered to be one of the worst places to be born a girl because of a societal 'gender gap' that favours boys and preferences for male children. ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images

Father in India arrested for attempted murder after trying to bury his daughter alive

VANCOUVER DESI A father in India has been arrested for attempted murder after he tried to bury his 10-year-old daughter alive, according to Britain’s Daily…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Abbotsford's Ravinder Singh Atwal has been identified online as the truck driver who died in a truck crash on Highway 99 near Delta on Wednesday. The Abbotsford father was killed when his dump truck hit the highway median and burst into flames. Submitted photo/Facebook.

Abbotsford trucker killed on Hwy 99 remembered as ‘one of the nicest guys’

GLENDA LUYMES VANCOUVER DESI An Abbotsford father killed in a fiery crash on Highway 99 is being remembered as hard-working and friendly by fellow truck…
Continue Reading »

Opposition Muted to Harper’s New Anti Terror Bill

BY Ujjal Dosanjh Special to Vancouver Province I smell an election coming. Not in October 2015; much sooner than that. Harper has just unveiled the…
Continue Reading »

Opposition parties treading carefully on new anti-terror legislation

By Stephanie Levitz THE CANADIAN PRESS OTTAWA — Anti-terrorism legislation introduced by the Conservative government Friday received a cautious reception by the opposition parties who…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

Vancouver-BC

Raise your hand, send us a selfie and make a statement against racism (with video)

VANCOUVER DESI Vancouver Desi’s digital anti-racism campaign, Raise Your Hands Against Racism, officially kicked off Thursday, with people across the Lower Mainland sending in selfies…
Continue Reading »

File photo: Curry chicken on rice. Sam Leung/PNG

Spicy treats on menu as 8 chef teams battle for Vancouver’s second-annual Curry Cup

VANCOUVER DESI A group of Lower Mainland chefs are set to go head-to-head with their South Asian cooking skills as they gear up for Vancouver’s…
Continue Reading »

Shah Rukh Khan, Abhishek Bachchan, Deepika Padukone, Sonu Sood and Boman Irani in a still from the Bollywood film Happy New Year.

Indian expat avoids stalking conviction by blaming Bollywood for his behaviour

IANS Sydney  – An Indian man’s excuse that Bollywood love stories encouraged him to excessively approach and stalk women helped him avoid conviction in the…
Continue Reading »

File photo: Commuters hang by doors of a crowded local train in Mumbai, India, Tuesday, July 8, 2014. Three men were killed on Monday after they attempted to take a selfie by a moving train near Agra. AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade

College students killed while attempting train selfie in India

VANCOUVER DESI Three college friends on their way to India’s Republic Day celebrations were killed by a speeding train after they tried posing for a…
Continue Reading »

Screen shot of Shah Rukh Khan's first video tweet. Submitted.

Shah Rukh Khan sends out India’s first tweet using Twitter’s new mobile video camera

VANCOUVER DESI Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan was the first-ever Indian to use Twitter’s freshly launched mobile video camera. Twitter announced the new feature on…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Akshay Kumar

Askhay Kumar offers martial arts training to visually impaired girls

PRASHANT SINGH HINDUSTAN TIMES Last year, Akshay Kumar — who was a professional martial arts trainer before he started acting — launched an initiative to…
Continue Reading »

Shah Rukh Khan (L) and Kajol (R) are rumoured to be appearing in the next Rohit Shetty film. Getty Images.

Rohit Shetty tightlipped on SRK, Kajol casting rumours

IANS Mumbai — Bollywood’s blockbuster director Rohit Shetty is remaining tightlipped on rumours he’s managed to rope in a casting coup of Shah Rukh Khan…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood sex

Sonam Kapoor never planned to use her father’s fame to jumpstart her Bollywood career

IANS Mumbai  – It’s always thought that Bollywood’s star children have it easy, but actress Sonam Kapoor says that at the start of her film…
Continue Reading »