American Directing career has brought him the worldwide acclaim.

American by birth, C.M.Smith moved to live in Vancouver,
before making the “The Snow Walker”. His most notable roles as an
actor are “Toady” in George Lucas’s “American Graffiti” and
the “ill-fated accountant Oscar Wallace” in Brian De Palma’s
“The Untouchables”. Directing career has brought him the worldwide
acclaim. The film “Air Bud” which he directed won the Golden Reel
Award.  Made it one of the top grossed
film ever made in Canada.

In the film, Canadian actors played leading roles. Smith
was impressed by Barry Pepper’s performance as a baseball player “Roger
Maris” in the television movie “61” and invited him to the
primary role as Charlie Halliday. Like his hero in the film, Pepper has a
strong sense of adventure. When he was a child, his family sailed five years in
the waters of the South Pacific. “It takes a lot of courage,” he
says, “for a mother and father of three little boys to build a 50-foot
sailboat and say, “We are going to sail halfway around the world by
celestial navigation, the same way Columbus did. And we are going to teach you
about life. ” A kind of Robinson Crusoe meets National Geographic.”

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“Saving Private Ryan”, Pepper played
”Bible-quoting sniper”, was a life-changing film for him and continued
working with Tom Hanks in “The Green Mile”. Pepper performed in big
Hollywood production like Seven Pounds, Enemy of the State, We Were Soldiers
and etc.

Pepper says about the movie that “what developed
was a collective collaborative family, something he’d never experienced before
on a set. People would really go the extra mile to try and find the perfect
prop, like the pocketknife that is the only one that my character would carry.
They didn’t just go out into the back of their truck and find you some piece of
junk they used in another film. They’d really put some love into it because
they cared about you as a person”

The most challenging part was finding the female
co-star. He has been advised to use Asian actress as the main protagonist.
Smith was looking for a young woman who could speak Inuktitut and had knowledge
of traditional ways to act Kanaalaq. 
Flyers have been posted and advertisements took out in local newspapers
throughout the northern communities. “I was confident that we could find
somebody,” Smith recalls. “but the difficulty was that they, the
Inuit, are, generally speaking, a reticent people. I knew that if we were to go
up there and contact the people in the villages in the Far North and say ‘We
are looking for an actor,’ no one would respond because they don’t answer those
ads.” It took six months until casting director met her at the local dance
club and elected after reviewed thousands of young Inuit girls. Most of them
were non-actors like Piugattuk. She has been chosen for her bilingual language
knowledge in her native language and English. Hunting ability and survival
techniques brought believability to her role.

Several Inuit people have been recruited as extras and
the John Houston, co-producer of the movie, is one of the Inuit people and grew
up in a native village.

“The Snow Walker” was filmed in northern Canadian
lands, with breathtaking wildlife, sparse wilderness, and crystal clear lakes.
Sometimes those places were dangerous. Even the director forced to shut down
the shooting for some days due to the storm of the gigantic horseflies, called
“bulldogs,” and the infamous northern mosquitoes. Tundra scenes made
in Churchill, Manitoba, caribou hunt in Merritt, British Columbia, aeroplane
crash and other scenes in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut and Thompson-Nicola Regional
District, British Columbia. Winter scenes were filmed in -28 C with wind chills
going down to -45 C was part of it. “There were days it was so
excruciatingly cold that you thought that your ears were literally going to
crack off the side of your head,” Pepper recalls. “When I came home
all the skin peeled off my ears like they had been sunburned. It came off like
a lizard’s skin, and they said it was from the frostbite.” 

The score of the movie is composed by Michael Danna
and Paul Intson. Elements of ethnic Inuit instruments and music been placed by
two composers into this themes, including the Native American flute Sonoran,
percussion and throat singing. We can feel Inuit special flute sound in all
over “Kanaalaq’s Touch”. Symphonic underscoring nicely blends in with
the incorporated elements of exotic additions which emphases the Canadian rich
wilderness where Charlie meets with the tribal savagery of
“Mosquito”, “Caribou Hunt” and “Charlie in the
Wilderness” which plays without dialogue in the film.

 

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