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McKittrick, Higman to attend ‘Wild Coast’ screening

Posted: April 6, 2011 - 6:50pm

JUNEAU EMPIRE

In “Journey to the Wild Coast,” Erin McKittrick and Hig Higman cover quite a bit of ground — 4,000 miles to be exact. Now the documentary based on the couple’s trek from Seattle to the Aleutians, made by local filmmaker Greg Chaney, is racking up some miles of its own.

Since the movie was last shown in Juneau, it has been to six film festivals in four countries, and been honored with the Seven Summits “Best Feature” prize at California’s Mountain Film Awards, as well as a “Best of the Fest” award at the Anchorage Film Festival. Later this month, it will be shown in four different towns in Sweden, as part of the Elixir Action Sports Film Festival.

Extending even further afield, a shortened version of the film will be screened at a base camp at Mount Everest on Saturday.

“I call it the dehydrated version,” Chaney said. “If they’re taking it up to the Mount Everest base camp, it’s got to be shorter.”

That same day, the shorter film will be shown to local audiences for the first time at Centennial Hall. Joining the local crowd will be the film’s subjects themselves, McKittrick and Higman.

Filmmaker Chaney said he’s excited to give local fans a chance to view the new version of the film with the couple.

“They’ll be able to answer questions and add some depth to things.”

The film was previously shown in Juneau in its full, two-hour length. Chaney shortened it to accommodate requests from film-festival organizers and theater owners. He said although a five-minute cut to the original version would have been agonizing for him, he was able to make substantial cuts once he shifted his perspective and focused on creating something different. The shorter version preserves the movement and cohesion of the narrative, while cutting back on the character development.

“It’s a different feel, it’s a different aesthetic,” Chaney said.

As the documentary project comes to a close, Chaney said he hopes to continue working with the couple in the future. McKittrick and Higman now have two children, but they have no plans to slow down. In the works: a two-month trip to the Malaspina Glacier.

See the film at 7 and 9:15 p.m. Saturday, April 9, at Centennial Hall. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for kids 12 and under, and are available at Hearthside Books and at the door. After the film, McKittrick will sign copies of her book, “A Long Trek Home.”

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