"If you already know and love the Cairngorms then you'll revel in the cinematic flattery that Terry Abraham gives to old flames like Braeriach and Sgor Gaoith, and share Chris Townsend's obvious (if understated) passion for this unique range. And for those who've not yet had the pleasure of a visit then it is hard to imagine a better advert for the Cairngorms in winter." – UKHillwalking.com
We are proud to announce that The Cairngorms in Winter, the new film by Terry Abraham and featuring Chris Townsend, is now available to download exclusively from SteepEdge. In a little over two weeks since it’s release, the film has proved to be extremely popular – encouraging and perhaps surprising, as the film is quite remiss in its footage of sponsored climbers, and instead devotes itself wholeheartedly to the vivid and changeable landscape of the Scottish highlands.
Filmed almost singlehandedly over a very short period, and financed by a Kickstarter budget, its director, Terry Abraham has achieved quite a coup for the future of adventure filmmaking. Anything seems to be possible! We caught up with Terry to get some background to his project:
How did the idea for the film come about? How did you approach Chris with the idea?
With much of my video work based on tourism and corporate videos, I felt the time was right to produce my first documentary featuring the outdoors a long held dream of mine. A friend suggested I work with Chris Townsend as he's not participated in such projects before which we thought was quite the proverbial crime. So, I got in touch with Chris and thankfully he was a fan of the outdoor video shorts I used to do. Off the top of my head, I suggested we do a feature-length video of the Cairngorms where he lives. And the rest is history!
It must have been incredible spending so much time filming in the Cairngorms. Can you tell us about the experience?
It was indeed incredible. But tiring, morale-sapping, arduous and much more besides! I've never even visited the area before – let a long in winter. During the first week I spent shooting up on the Cairngorm plateau battling sub-zero temperatures, strong winds and waist deep snow it soon dawned on me what an undertaking I was embarking on. I underestimated the size of the area and the serious difficulties I'd be facing in trying to capture these mountains on video.
At times, I didn't think I'd complete the project in time. But I got my head down and cracked on. I'm quite stubborn with shots or scenes I'd like to capture and will happily re-visit a location despite the miles and terrain involved, and it's this determination and seeing the end results back home on a screen that spurred me on. Looking back, I realise how crazy I was to be in some of the places I found myself in, the goals I'd set and the timescale involved with the film being completed.
I won't be doing anything like this in a hurry again! But I learnt a great deal, and all experience is good. But despite the hardships, I did really enjoy my time there and miss the Cairngorms a great deal now. There's nowhere else in Britain like it. It's amazing and I hope it shows in the film.
How did Kickstarter work for you?
I've found it to be fantastic, if a little daunting. The latter with reference to hoping the public wish to support the project and achieve its target funds by a given deadline. Setting up the project and getting the ball rolling was OK. Obviously, we did it. And myself and Chris are truly humbled by the support we received. We're just so pleased that backers have taken to the film so well. It made all the hard times worthwhile. Would I use Kickstarter again? Yes. The Cairngorms project and its end (happy) result is a perfect vindication of the crowd-sourced funded model.
How did you manage all this with such a small budget?
With great difficulty. I had to throw in any savings I had in the end. Mostly down to underestimating the area and work involved. But all said and done, I thrive on challenges. My passion for the outdoors drives me on. I feel lucky to be doing what I do and so hiking for miles with 30kg+ on my back (camping and filming equipment) doesn't bother me. It costs nothing. I enjoy being out there. Sure, it costs me time but it's the end result that matters and hopefully makes it worth it. The camps out in good and bad weather all contribute to the story.
What do you feel about the reaction to the film?
I've been truly overwhelmed to be honest. Any creative project is subjective. I set out to produce something I wanted to see – and hoped others would too. I wanted to do the landscape justice, show it all at it's very best. Share sights anyone can set out to see, with Chris as a guide and mentor. But the exceptional feedback and responses I've received concerning the film has freaked me out! I never thought it would affect people the way it has done. I suppose I'm immune to the sights I've seen and put into the film. Or I'm just totally unaware, who knows?
Either way, I'm really pleased it's been so well received. And that is what matters. The public responded so well to it and wish to see more!
Do you have plans for another film?
Indeed. I'm seeking to raise funds now for another yet more ambitious project. In fact, it's one that's been in the planning since last September and only recently have I begun to work on it properly. The Cairngorms film was really meant as a practice test run for me leading to the biggie.
Life of a Mountain: Scafell Pike. A cinematic documentary featuring England's highest peak through the seasons, and all those who live, work, play and care for this iconic fell. The only way I can describe what I envisage is; imagine the Cairngorms film but times that by 100. And add in more people and many more stories. Personally, it's something I've always wanted to see. And I'm sure nothing like it has been produced before anywhere in the UK. Fingers crossed I get it completed on time and folk will find it of interest!
Download Terry’s film ‘The Cairngorms in Winter with Chris Townsend’ in HD now from SteepEdge.