Mario Bird presents his highly anticipated motion picture Echo Lake, filmed locally in Alaska.
A crowd of enthusiastic supporters gathered at the Orca theatre last week for a sneak preview of the highly anticipated, locally produced film "Echo Lake," written, directed, and edited by Mario Bird. The film that was two years in the making and budgeted at some $11,000 dollars in grants from Notre Dame University, in a time when full length features cost in the hundreds of millions to produce, is an example of what can be accomplished by someone with a big dream from a small community. "The community support aspect of this film is not only what created, but sustained this project, without it the film would never have been able to occur. We had people open doors for us to come into their businesses and homes to film, and continued to help us with every aspect of production and post production," Bird told the Soldotna and Kenai Chamber of Commerce last week.
Bird chose to first premier Echo Lake at the Anchorage Film Festival earlier this month, and while he didn't come home with any awards, deemed the debut and public reaction very encouraging, "The audience was not only very receptive during the film, but they stayed 20 to 30 minutes afterward for a question and answer session that told me people were truly engaged in the film and wanted to know more after having seen it. I am looking forward to having a similar format here as we show the picture at KCHS," said Bird.
Bird's film was not only filmed in Alaska, but starred a host of local talents like Alden Ford, Michael Druce, and fellow Nikiski High School grad Cory Carroll, who was a co-producer and underwater cinematographer. "A lot of people have been anticipating seeing this film just to see what a local boy can do, and I think once they see it on the screen they will understand all the pain, blood and sweat that has gone into this project and I think they will be impressed. It won't become a million dollar box office blockbuster, but we do plan on submitting it at other film festivals. This will be a great stepping stone into the industry for everyone who had a part in making this film, and certainly proves we know what we're doing," said Carroll.
While Echo Lake is the first Mario Bird film, it may not be the last, "I can only say that I have a lot of other projects in my head, but of course they are largely dependent on what sort of backing we can get that will determine what the next project will be, but I certainly hope we'll have another Mario Bird film in production within the next year or so," said Bird. Given the financial and emotional support Bird received from the community for his first film he says it is very possible his next project may also be locally produced. Echo Lake will be screened nightly at Kenai Central High School Rene C. Henderson Auditorium through January 2nd, excluding Christmas and New Years Days, at 7:00pm, Sunday matinees at 4:00pm. Tickets are $7.50 and $5.00 for matinees available in advance at Charlotte's in Kenai and River City Books in Soldotna, or at the door.
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