Providence, the new film from Confluence Films, is set to premier this week, and there has been a great buzz generating about this film for some time. The Venturing Angler has enjoyed sharing photos, trailers, and a podcast with Camille Egdorf that discussed the film. We are now pleased to share an interview about Providence, with filmmaker, Jim Klug:
Providence is the fourth film from Confluence Films. Until this point, each film has focused on numerous destinations. Providence focuses exclusively on one atoll. Why the change?
Our first four films (Drift, Rise, Connect and Waypoints) were all full-length movies that were a compilation of different segments. Each segment was its own stand-alone story that focused on different destinations, fisheries, species and people. I think that over the years, we’ve probably shot 25 or 30 different segments – each one its own great piece – and in the end, each was edited down to 15 or 20 minutes in length in order to fit within the larger movie. With our new film Providence, we decided to focus on one amazing story and really develop and expand the overall project. The end result is just a bit over 70 minutes, but in the end, we have great profiles, exciting fishing, and a story that focuses on the Seychelles, the amazing fisheries that are found there, and the challenges that the area has faced over the past ten years.
Providence tells a story. What made you want to take this different approach?
I would say that our new film is half “fishing adventure movie” and half documentary that really digs into the piracy issues and challenges that plagued this part of the Indian Ocean beginning in 2009. The new movie features great anglers, great interviews, an amazing tale of piracy and kidnapping – all set in an area that offers the greatest saltwater flats fishing in the world. Once we filmed and combined all of those elements, we knew that we were going to have to take a more detailed, focused approach than with our previous projects and shoots. The end result is great, and I have to say that both Chris Patterson and I are really happy with the way it all came together.
I remember chatting with you right after the release of Waypoints. I asked what’s next, and you said it was time to rest after such a demanding project. With that, I couldn’t have imagined that the next project would take things to an all-new level. What inspired you to take on such a far out destination?
Well we had been fishing throughout the Seychelles for the past ten years or so, and we knew that there were some great stories from that part of the world that could be told. Both Chris and I had read a book written by Captain Francis Roucou about the hijacking of the Indian Ocean Explorer (a fly fishing mothership) in 2009 by Somali pirates, and we really felt that we could do a movie that focused on Francis’ story and the overall dynamic of piracy and fly fishing. Definitely a different project for Confluence, but one that was great to create and shoot.
Even just the journey to Providence Atoll is an event in its own right. What was getting to the destination like?
These days, most anglers and clients that fish Providence fly from Mahe to Farquhar, board the mothership in Farquhar, and then sail the 6 to 8 hours to Providence. When you do it that way, the journey – while long – is fairly easy. When filming the new movie, however, we wanted to capture more of the overall “journey”, and as such our crew and our anglers boarded the mothership in Mahe and made the three-day crossing all the way to Farquhar and then on to Providence. The seas were a bit “spicy” during our voyage, and I can honestly say that these were probably the longest three days of my life! Luckily none of our crew had problems with sea-sickness, but when the ocean is that big and the ship is moving up and down the entire time, even basic things like sleeping, eating or trying to read can become a challenge.
Once at Providence Atoll, were you in heaven as a filmmaker, photographer and angler?
The atoll and the entire eco-system are incredible. Things are so pristine and so completely untouched that just being in this area and exploring the beaches and flats are amazing experiences. Obviously it is a beautiful place to film and shoot photos, and when you add in dozens of exotic fish species, ever-changing weather and skies, and the kind of incredible light that can only be found on the flats, you have an amazing backdrop for shooting. As for the angling possibilities, I would have to say that this is hands-down the most incredible saltwater destination on the planet. There are a lot of amazing fisheries found all throughout the Caribbean, and in other parts of the world. The out-islands of the Seychelles, however, are truly in a league of their own.
What makes Providence Atoll worth so much effort?
What makes it worth the effort is the fact that this is a destination that is truly as remote and isolated as any destination on earth. These days it is definitely getting a lot harder to “escape” to areas that have been untouched by development, crowds and visitors. Providence as a fishery is still totally pristine, untouched and unpressured. To be able to walk flats and fish areas where you know with 100% certainty that no one has EVER fished … that is something that is pretty special.
Was there anything that surprised you about what you encountered in making the film?
Living on the mothership for several weeks was an experience in and of itself, and the journey there and back was definitely an adventure. As far as surprises, I would say that most centered around the issues such as weather, big toothy animals on the flats, and the security procedures that were in place for the shoot. When you’re on the water, shooting with a crew of anglers and cameramen in an ever-changing flats environment, every day brings new challenges and opportunities. The way that you respond to these challenges and take advantage of these opportunities is what in the end creates a great movie.
What challenges do you encounter when taking on such a big project?
Probably the fact that we were working, shooting and operating in such a remote area created the biggest challenges. We also had a number of travel-related problems that occurred while traveling to the Seychelles. To begin with, we had all of our drone batteries (probably a dozen) taken away in Dubai while we were en route to Mahe, leaving us with no way to film anything with the drones. Luckily, we had one of our crew members coming in a day later who was able to somehow find replacement batteries at the very last minute and solve the problem. We also had Emirates Airlines lose one of our gear cases (a large Yeti cooler loaded with equipment) that in the end was never found. I’ve been working on that project for the past year, and the airline STILL cannot find what they lost!
Well, we’re going to enjoy the next couple of months and the October 15th release of the new movie. From there, we’ve got a couple of projects in the works that may start shooting as soon as January. I would imagine that we’ll follow Providence with another big-picture story sometime in the near future.
Providence will premiere in dozens of cities around the country and internationally on Saturday, October 15. The movie will also be available for download on iTunes and on Vimeo on October 15, and on DVD through specialty fly shops all over the country. For more information on premiere locations and cities, and to purchase Providence and other Confluence Films titles, visit www.confluencefilms.com.