Independent Lens presents a short poetic narrative about urban vs. rural living, identity and belonging. Two people—an old man living on a small island and a young woman living in one of the world’s biggest cities—describe why no other place on earth could ever be home.

Q&A Mini Header

Shrunken Here and Away Q&A.jpg | "Here and Away" filmmaker Andrew MacCormack talks about the rewards of film making, his primary cinematic influence and his love of urban and rural spaces. 

What is the most rewarding aspect of being an independent filmmaker?

The most rewarding part is having the freedom to choose the projects I want to be involved with, working alongside people I love to work with and simply enjoying the day of work. When a film is finished, I'm happy when people respond well to it, but truly enjoying the process of creating it is what I find the most satisfying. More specifically what I love is in the edit, when you cut a great scene and you watch it over and over and over again, knowing it’s good and knowing it works. 

Which filmmaker inspired you to get behind the lens?

Millefiore Clarkes, who is a lovely woman and very talented filmmaker in my home province, Prince Edward Island, unknowingly inspired me to make my first film almost 10 years ago. Simply because she was an artist from a small town, making films that affected me emotionally, which in turn made me think I could try and do the same.

Could you list three films that all independent film supporters should take the time to see?

I hope people come away with a new appreciation for the place where they are living. I find a lot of us often feel unsettled and envious of those who are living in places we feel perceive to be better than where we are.  All places have things to offer whether they’re urban, rural or something in between. 

Why did you decide to tell the story of “Here and Away” in this way with the sweeping cinematography juxtaposed with narration?

I thought the contrast between the two places would be visually appealing. It started as simple as that.  Personally, I love cities and I love rural countryside and presenting them this way leaves it up to the viewer to decide which side they feel more connected to.

What was this film’s most difficult scene to shoot?

Every film has different challenges, but this wasn't overly difficult to shoot once it was planned. I shot it all with gear I could carry on my back, so that was a challenge as well as an advantage. The shoot in China was the biggest challenge though mainly because I just proposed to my wife and literally an hour later we were out shooting the first scenes with the young girl. So justifying celebrating our engagement with shooting a short film wasn't exactly an easy sell, but it was the only option at the time. She's a keeper, what can I say?

Were there any other films that influenced the creation of “Here and Away?”

I think my experience growing up on an island was the main influence to make a film like this. But I would have to say Ron Fricke's “Baraka” is my main cinematic influence for “Here and Away”. That whole series of films has inspired countless numbers of motion pictures, directly or indirectly. 

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Final NEA Logo.jpg | PBS Indies is partially funded by The National Endowment for the Arts.