Northstar Logo Can you guess what the following four people all have in common? (A) Francis Ford Coppola. (B) Tom Selleck. (C) Jason Hagen. And (D) Bruce Campbell. Why yes! That is correct, my friends. They all come from the great state of Michigan. No. Wait a minute! I've got something wrong here. Jason wasn't born in Michigan, he just started making a film there. A film about...

1) What are your own origins, Jason? Plus what path did you take in life prior to getting to where you are today?   I'm originally from Chaska, Minnesota, and spent many years in Arizona before I re-located back to Minnesota to attend film school. After graduating from the Minneapolis College of Art & Design in 2002, I made my way out to Los Angeles with my school pal Nathan Anderson. Nathan's brother Seth eventually joined us and we started making shorts together under the Lullskull Ltd. banner while working day-jobs in non-fiction television. Basically, everything I've learned and experienced working as a Production Coordinator, and later a Post Supervisor, I've applied to producing our shorts and current feature, 'Northstar'.

2) What inspired the creation of ‘Northstar’? Plus what part do you play in these proceedings?   Northstar was originally a short film script that Seth wrote in film school. Seth wasn't able to make the short at that time, so he locked it away knowing it was a concept he really wanted to make down the road. Following the release of our last short, Black (2008), we pondered what our next project would be. We had progressively made longer shorts, and it felt right to move into making our first feature. The Andersons also had real motivation to bring a project to their hometown of Iron Mountain, Michigan, nestled in the state's Upper Peninsula. Iron Mountain has really shaped who they are as people and artists, and we felt it right to give something back. So with that, Seth pulled out the college script and we three expanded it into a feature-length story that was tailor-made for Michigan. Combine that now with their hometown, which is extremely excited to welcome the project, plus the state's tax incentive program, the project has since developed into a film that will be very region-owned.

The part I play in all of this is to assist Seth and Nathan with creative decisions, and help them drive the project forward. In tandem, I'm also taking the project down financing and distribution avenues to put those things in place, as well as source department heads and key crew. We recently brought on-board a veteran producer, Gary M. Bettman, who has a stellar track-record, and he will oversee the project as an Executive Producer, so we're very excited at this stage.

3) In your own words how would you describe this story?   At the center of the story is a father and his comatose daughter who are trying to navigate a barren, North American winter landscape where most of the population has been wiped out or put into comas by an event known as "The Cataclysm".

The father has fallen in with a deeply rooted family of survivalists, and has gained the friendship of the family's matriarch who is doing all she can to wake the daughter. Soon, a mysterious woman arrives from the surrounding woods, and she claims she can wake the girl. However, this mystery woman is being pursued by a shadow government unit, who will stop at nothing to reclaim their asset and re-establish new authority in the region. It soon becomes apparent that the fate of the country, and possibly the human race, lies in the hands of these two groups.

Jason From Northstar

4) If this film omitted a collective odor, what would it smell like and why?   I would say overall fresh pine with an underlining scent of disinfectant. We're doing all we can to pre-visualize a world that has essentially been given the chance to start over, wiped clean of technology and excess. Anyone not associated with our government group lives off the land, and depends on their survivalist skills to make ends meet.

The disinfectant I mention is really the government authority that is moving in to cover up this huge catastrophe with messages of hope, resources, leadership. Many of the rugged survivalists in the story question that there is a greater agenda at stake, but when it comes to their family's survival, moral questions of allegiance present themselves, often leading to tragic outcomes.

5) What song would you say best represents your wares and why?   Not because I see a shameless promotion opportunity here, but this temp soundtrack Seth has assembled for Northstar pretty much says it all. We've been developing this project for the last 5 years, and in that time I've re-connected with electronic music and soundscapes. Sound is a major character in this film, and we need to shape it to not only serve a story function, but as an atmospheric one. We're looking forward to working with a seasoned electronic composer to help bring the film's world to life.

6) If you could get a known celebrity – either living or dead – to promote this flick, who would you chose, and why would you want this particular person?   I think Seth and Nathan would agree when I say that we've always been fan's of Rutger Hauer. He is a worldly man and actor who we adore on many levels, and would be a real treat to work with one day. I think his indie spirit and enthusiasm would be a real champion for this project.

Rutger Hauer
7) What were the main obstacles you had to contend with along the way?   Because this is our debut feature, all areas and phases of this project are increased in size, as opposed to our past shorts. We've produced projects of such small scale and budgets, often with Seth, Nathan, and I doing 90% of the crewing. This is the first time we've opened the gates to greater collaboration and delegation. Not that we weren't seeking those things on our past projects, sometimes it takes a feature to make some noise.

A more specific obstacle we've had to overcome is bringing Northstar to northern Michigan. Although Michigan is seeing a huge boom in film production, most of those productions are taking place in Detroit or the southern half of the state. The Upper Peninsula region is a great distance north and very independent to the rest of Michigan. Even the smallest film resource is sometimes difficult to locate and must travel up from Detroit. Factor in with that a January-February filming period in heavy snow -- so -- we're making great efforts to be as pro-active as possible to line up local consultants and coordinators, and get conversations on the table now that will help move all those needed resources and crew to the northern part of the state.

Those film resources combined with our local resources in Iron Mountain and in Gwinn (where we will film scenes at a decommissioned air force base), they will really put this project on track to a solid production period Winter 2015.

8) If ‘Northstar’ had a motto, what do you think it would be?   Lines are drawn, loyalties tested, and a battle for the future of a country is waged in the northern woods...

So there you have it, dear reader. My mate Jason and his indie film, 'Northstar'. When you have the time please check out their main Lullskull website and facebook page for more details of their up and coming projects. 

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