A Deeside cameraman is preparing for the premiere of his first feature film – which was entirely shot in Antarctica.
Kirk Watson, 36, is used to filming in extreme environments having shot a number of documentaries in the region over the last eight years. However, ‘South of Sanity’ is the first ever fictional feature film made in Antarctica.
The film was directed by former Aboyne Academy pupil Kirk and Matt Edwards, a doctor, who met while on an expedition.
‘South of Sanity’ is a horror/slasher film due for release on Halloween which will first be shown in Aviemore, where Kirk now lives. There will also be a premiere on the same day in New York.
The film follows life on an Antarctic Station when all goes wrong. Cut off from the outside world, the small community gradually becomes fractured and antagonistic and a killer emerges. In the isolated and disparate group, members are picked off one by one, paranoia ensues and no one is safe.
The film was crewed by friends living and working on the station in Antarctica during the winter. They were all there to carry out science or to keep the station running.
Kirk said: “In the winter we have some free time and a project like this is perfect to give people a bit of entertainment and some aims outside day to day work.
“It’s unlike after you finish your job in the UK, where you have to go shopping for groceries or mow the lawn. There is none of this in Antarctica so we filled some of it making this film.
“We filmed a couple of day scenes on a weekend and the rest was shot in the dark just to make the film darker.
“The actors suffered a bit in the cold as we had people sitting outside for ages or dead people lying in the snow. It became a bit tricky with the dead people as they shivered, so they were carefully edited to get rid of the movement.”
Kirk, who grew up in Torphins before moving to Glasgow to study geology, joked that, at times, the cold weather helped the cast produce their best work.
“The cold helped us film sometimes as often the actors were acting annoyed, angry and tired in a scene,” he said.
“If they were moaning to myself or Matt about the cold we usually began to see the acting ability get better as they were actually annoyed and angry at me and tired and mildly hypothermic themselves.
“We had several actors with mild hypothermia during the filming. The good thing was they had lived there for a year, so were pretty used to it.”
‘South of Sanity’ has also been making news in the USA after a fellow film maker came across the project online.
Kirk said: “The reason we now have a release date for here and the States is because Joel Plue, an executive producer from New York came on board after coming across the film on the internet. He is distributing and advertising it throughout the States and elsewhere.
“We are also working on our next film with Joel, called Terra Incognito, next year.”
Kirk says he is keen to take a break from Antarctica after spending seven of the past eight winters there, but is set to return for two months next year.
He said: “I’m trying to give up but Matt and myself are joining the first ever microlight journey to the South Pole next year - our next adventure.
“We will be with a team of able bodied and injured servicemen, attempting three world records never attempted by anyone before.
“Matt will be the team doctor and I will be the filmmaker, with of a bit of Antarctic cold weather training on the side.”
The premiere of ‘South of Sanity’ (certificate 18) will be at 9pm at the Aviemore (MacDonalds resort) cinema on October 31. Tickets cost £5 and are available on the door or pre-book from www.perfectviewproductions.co.uk. The trailer can be seen on Youtube.