Navigation Menu

Later in the week (September 25) marks the film release of WILDLIKE – the latest film to be set amid a stunning Alaskan backdrop to promote the power of adventure and wilderness for personal healing. We are giving away 3 iTunes codes to US readers for a free download of the film to mark it’s release – learn more about the film and enter to win below! WILDLIKE Film Review

In this thrilling coming-of-age adventure, a troubled teen must face the dangers of the Alaskan wild, as well as her own past, in order to find her way home. Sent to stay with her uncle in Alaska while her mother is in treatment, 14-year-old Mackenzie is forced to flee as her uncle’s attention turns threatening. Unable to reach her mother and afraid that the authorities will return her to her uncle, she embarks on a journey across miles of wilderness to find a way back home to Seattle. Watch WILDLIKE Film Trailer

As she plunges deeper into the Alaskan interior, a chance connection with backpacker Bartlett proves to be her only lifeline. Mackenzie shadows him across the rugged frontier, thwarting his efforts to cut her loose until he has no choice but to help her survive. Against the backdrop of a spectacular landscape, they discover the redemptive power of friendship. WILDLIKE Trailer

From the film maker Frank Hall Green: As the writer of WILDLIKE, I have been very close to all facets of this story for some time. I delved into the landscape of Alaska and studied the trauma that girls and women endure from childhood sexual abuse. I travelled to Alaska and backpacked across Denali National Park. I traversed the state by car, wandered into its woods getting lost, seeking adventure. I have also ventured close to the main character Mackenzie’s pain.

I have listened to victims and read countless stories of female sexual abuse of all kinds, both young girls and women. I know the statistics are of epidemic proportions. With difficulty, I have listened to and read the accounts of numerous offenders, and their perhaps incurable behavior. I have witnessed victims’ healing, and the recalibration of a woman’s relations (platonic and romantic) to men. Watch WILDLIKE Film Trailer

Marrying these themes and emotions with the landscape of Alaska bore the adventure and drama of WILDLIKE. Growing up, I cherished adventure, whether by fortunate or unfortunate circumstance. Even today, my dreams are consistently adventures. Looking back, I first subconsciously wrote a story of adventure, exploring themes of freedom, escape and innocence. Then, consciously, I asked myself why do I and others seek out adventure? What do people run away from? Or run away to?

I had been moved by a New York Times editorial on female sexual abuse, touching on all the subtle aspects of misogyny in our society. The inescapable pain drove innocent girls and injured women to run away from their perpetrators, themselves and their problems. When I dug deeper into sexual abuse and the offenders, I found other runners, the guilty party, equally pained and often running and trying to escape as well. At this point I knew I wanted to explore the idea of running from the fear of one’s own pain, both as a victim and a shamed person, guilty and afraid of their own potential. Thus Mackenzie’s adventure has meaning.

The character Bartlett is also on a journey of pain, running from acceptance and the grief of a painful loss. As a final step in the story, adventure and journeys of the soul eventually lead to encounters with other people. When one encounters the right person or group of people, that is the point at which recovery can begin.

As a storyteller I wanted to emphasize the why of adventure, and the inevitable questions we must answer regardless of how far we travel and what journeys we embark on. In fact, it can be these journeys themselves that reconnect us to others and provide answers. Alaska is a uniquely remarkable place I have come to know since 2003. Similar to its boundless mountains, glaciers and animals, the state and people are friendly yet tough and straightforward. The culture and geography is as nondiscriminatory and unpretentious as nature itself.

It immediately captured my cinematic sensibility on a backpacking trip to Denali with my wife. On a train ride back across the state, stories unfolded as we passed people, towns, remote abodes and a vast expanse of wilderness between them. It was on an extended research trip to Alaska when I read of the state’s specific molestation rate and accountability problems. I immediately set out to write this true-to-life story, and set it in Alaska.

It became clear that there were two frontiers in this film – that of Alaska, and that of innocence. A state with 700,000 people scattered over an area twice the size of Texas, Alaska is a vast and impressive land, not just to gape at the beauty of, but to disappear into – for victim and offender alike. It is the least religious state in the nation. You are undisturbed. The city of Juneau is trapped by mountains and sea, approachable (or escapable) only by plane or boat. Alaska is 5 also the only state we still refer to as a frontier – a place yet unaltered, but ironically destined to be despoiled.

The film’s subject matter was difficult to research, digest and “sit-with.” Developing the characters and attempting to understand their own experiences (victim, aide and offender) was challenging and usually uncomfortable. Despite the difficulty of handling the subject, I feel that young female sexual abuse is under-represented and misrepresented in film. Unlike what may be seen in previous movies, perpetrators are seldom overtly violent, and the incidents are often non-dramatic.

WildLike Film Review

It is a quiet, secretive event that happens before anyone knows, or can do, anything about it. Often the victim is unsure of whether a crime has even occurred, and generally it is unreported. It exists in many disguised forms, undisturbed in hidden corners of everyday life. Furthermore, the interior effects on the victims are complex and become extremely deep-rooted, usually moments after the experience

On film, I insisted it be presented authentically and with deliberate diligence, in order to report the truth. It could not be anything less than a difficult viewing experience. Likewise, the healing journey that Mackenzie embarks on had to be told honestly.

Reactions vary greatly, but the hard truth is that there is no full recovery from sexual abuse. Mackenzie’s trip with Bartlett is only the beginning of a life-long process. In research, it was clear that first damage is done with a secret kept or even a memory dislodged. Then, often with young girls, sexual development is askew, perhaps turning to promiscuity, misbehavior and manipulation.

Still, WILDLIKE is not a story of abuse, but rather a story of recovery. Equally important to reporting the truth around female sexual abuse is what a victim does next. Silence and secrecy are far too common and instinctual. Escape, mentally and physical, is standard, and coming back, returning to one’s place of innocence, is not possible. Mackenzie is but one example.

WILDLIKE is about the relationship between the physical journeys we take and the journeys of discovery we all must make within ourselves. It is about people who transcend the dark hands they have been dealt and find a way to trust again.

I believe that adventure and the wilderness has the power to reawaken our humanity and, if hand in hand with the right people, can help heal oneself.

Enter to WIN an iTunes Download Code

WILDLIKE Movie Download

Hear about new posts on Facebook: Please click “like”!

Megan is an Australian Journalist who has been travelling and blogging since 2007, with the main aim of inspiring others to embark on their own worldwide adventure. Her husband Mike is an American travel photographer, and together they have made the world their home.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

Follow their journey on Facebook, TwitterYouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.

All photos courtesy of Alaska Film LLC.

    16 Comments

  1. Sounds like a very powerful movie on so many levels Megan. I’d love to watch it.

    • It’s a phenomenally powerful movie Alison – one of the most moving I’ve seen in a while 🙂

  2. Sounds like an interesting and powerful movie. Looking forward to seeing it.

    • It truly is Elaine – absolutely was in awe by it 🙂

  3. Very cool Meg, and awesome iTunes idea too 😉 Thanks for sharing!

    Ryan

    • Thanks Ryan – such a fabulous movie, I thought an iTunes giveaway was a fun idea!

  4. Wow, that sounds like a tough and imporant film to watch. I’d love to watch it as I agree with these issues having to be brought more to the screen and given more attention and seeing Alaska with its ruggedness must fit perfectly as a reflection of the inner landscapes.

    • It absolutely is Annemarie. Alaska was a really fantastic location for this kind of film. It was the perfect metaphor for the struggles we take on inside ourselves. Good luck with the draw!

  5. This movie looks fascinating on several levels! The adventure in the wilderness is a beautiful setting for this compelling tale on sexual abuse and current issues in today’s society.

    • It’s such a powerful film Mary, they’ve really done a fantastic job on highlighting such a difficult issue without overdramatizing it though while still focusing on how much sexual abuse can completely upturn the lives of everyone involved. Alaska was a phenomenal setting for this story to be told.

  6. Sounds like a great story and the fact that it’s in Alaska makes it even more special. since I’m not from the US, I’ll see if it’s available any way to see in The Netherlands soon….

    • Absolutely – I’ll let you know if I hear of the date it’s being released in Europe 🙂

  7. sounds like a really good movie! Thank you for recommending it Meg, I will make sure to watch! Thank you!

    • It’s a fantastic watch for sure Kami – enjoy the film 🙂

  8. Sounds like some tough subject matter. Definitely explores a lot of uncomfortable themes, but that’s the purpose of this medium, I suppose.

    • Absolutely – I think it’s very important to cover these sorts of issues and themes, and the really did a very good job bringing it to light through this medium and the use of Alaska to highlight the struggles through our inner landscapes too.

Post a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share97
Tweet140
Pin68
Flip
+158