Rod Perkins first began thinking about the idea of filming a documentary in 2010, while he was in art shool & shooting music videos for the hip hop band, PLOT, to hone his craft. Rod's friend and fellow Trappers Producer, Brett Pitzer, told him about a man that he knew up north who trapped fur and lived off of the land. Pitzer recounted wild tales of truckloads of fur piled high in the back of a pick-up truck in the middle of winter, their faces frozen in deathly positions. The image stuck in Perkins' mind. Their were also tales of trying to save unwanted dogs from the traps, run-ins with confused townsfolk & police officers, as well as many other odd & bizarre stories involving what Paul calls his 'critters'.
Pitzer told of a man who was rugged & charismatic, told wonderful tales. A man who had a language all his own, and had seen a life more rough than any of us could image, yet now lives peacefully off of the land. So Rod grabbed a Sony DSLR camera, some flashlights and drove up North, into what ended up being a torrential downpour, to do a preliminary interview with Paul himself.
Since Rod was interning at PBS affiliate WFYI, he took the interview footage and edited together a piece to show friends, co-workers, freelancers, & Producers at the television station. All well received.
With the support of friends, family, production studio & freelance videographer contacts Rod sets out with professional camera & audio equipment, including state of the art 'trail cameras' and Go-Pros to film the winter trapping season with Paul.
To tell a more full story, Rod met two other fur trappers who will be followed and documented. One is twenty years younger than Paul, the other fifteen years older. Rod has also found someone opposed to trapping, and will document their fight to stop it while the trappers trap throughout the season.
The film will begin as they celebrate the fall harvest and make preparations for the upcoming trapping season. The season begins in late October & filming will wrap at the end of February.
DONATIONS TO THE DOCUMENTARY
Donations go to production, packaging, post-production, & licensing costs. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any specific funding questions.
WHO IS ROD PERKINS?
Rod Perkins is a freelance videographer, editor, and writer living in central Indiana. Rod’s credits include camerawork on various PBS & WFYI documentaries and television programs. Some of the filmmakers who influence Perkins are Werner Herzog, Errol Morris, Marc Singer, Paul Thomas Anderson, & Stanley Kubrick. Favorite documentary films include: 'Little Dieter Needs to Fly', 'American Movie', 'Dark Days', 'Grizzly Man', 'Bowling for Columbine'.
WHO ARE THE TRAPPERS?
The three fur trappers chosen for this documentary all are in different stages of their fur trapping career & all have different ablities, skill sets, techniques, & personalities.
They are very charismatic, decent, colorful, & caring human beings who have found their niche in this world by trapping fur and living off of the land as many Americans have before them. Their occupation is misunderstood, misrepresented, & demonized in the eyes of many. These gentlemen live solely from what the Earth provides, often working very odd jobs to make ends meet for them and their families. They're genuine & do not relish or flaunt their kills. They have extensive knowledge of the land & animals that inhabit the Indiana countryside.
WHY FUR TRAPPING?
Fur trapping was vital to the survival of the colonies and to Hoosier settlers. It is a globally controversial topic, that is often misunderstood. It is also a subject that has not been documented extensively on this level. Localized fur trapping is a necessary trade that is dying.
The work is mainly performed at night or at sunrise, in the wilderness, the sides of roads, or next to bridges, creating the opportunity to capture breathtaking visuals of Indiana’s countryside.
The overall idea is to show people that there are some who live off of what the earth provides, and how they also live off of the animals & plants that surround them. They trap because they love it, because it's what they were taught, & the way they know how to live right, providing a thankless service to a sometimes ungrateful & unknowing public.