The Film: The Beaten Path
Writer Nicholas Afton set early drafts of his script in the American Southwest. But the production team wisely adapted this story of a perilous bike ride to the realities of a February shoot in Michigan. David Witwer and Jeff Horbachewski took an entrepreneurial approach to producing. They threw themselves into fundraising, budgeting, scheduling, and festival entry planning — before a single frame was shot. Director Jerry Chen mustered believable performances from Andrew McClellan and Kyle Jurassic.
It’s hard enough for grips and gaffers to lug electrics and cranes short distances under pleasant circumstances. Hauling equipment to remote locations in the dead of a Midwestern winter, however, demonstrates rare commitment to the medium. Many crew members were volunteers, not even enrolled in the class. They were simply recruited by the film’s (apparently winsome) producers, often for no more reward than a screen credit and a pizza slice.
Routinely, a film’s most impressive aspects go unnoticed by an audience: polished camera moves; an original soundtrack, grungy and over cranked with an extreme sport vibe; clean location dialogue; satisfyingly bleak color correction. "The Beaten Path" has all these virtues in ample supply.