Private Project

Camera Trap

In this half- hour documentary, an aspiring wilderness photographer puts every thing on the line in his quest to capture one photo that will help tell the story of the greatest land migration on earth.

  • Marty O'Brien
  • Kelly Milner
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short, Television
  • Runtime:
    25 minutes 25 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    October 16, 2017
  • Production Budget:
    10,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
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  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Yellowknife International Film Festival
    Yellowknife, NT
    October 28, 2017
    World Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Tromso International Film Festival
    January 18, 2018
    European Premiere
    Official Selection: Films From the North
  • Available Light Film Festival
    Whitehorse, Yukon
    February 5, 2018
    Official Selection
  • Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival
    Vancouver, B.C.
    February 11, 2018
  • Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital
    Washington, DC
    United States
    March 17, 2018
    Official Selection
  • Wasatch Mountain Film Festival
    Salt Lake City and Park City, Utah
    United States
    April 5, 2018
    Official Selection
  • Hot Docs
    Toronto, Ontario
    May 2, 2018
    Official Selection
  • Dawson City International Short Film Festiva
    Dawson City, Yukon
    April 1, 2018
    Made in the Yukon Award - Professional
  • North By North Festival
    Anchorage, Alaska
    United States
    April 29, 2018
    Official Selection
  • International Wildlife Film Festival
    Missoula, Montana
    United States
    April 19, 2018
    Best Newcomer
Director Biography - Marty O'Brien

After graduating from a Bachelor of Film and Television in Melbourne, Marty has worked for a diverse range of award winning video production companies throughout Australia and Canada. With a strong focus on adventure and visual storytelling, his path eventually lead him to the Yukon. Marty's varied experiences in life and industry have lead him to approach projects and stories with openness and innovation.

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Director Statement

My first encounter with Peter Mather came after a public slide show presentation of his photo series 'Caribou People' on a frosty winter day in Whitehorse, Yukon. I was new to the north and also new to Canada; in fact, it was through this photographer's imagery I was introduced to the migratory species for the first time. Until meeting Peter, I had never seen a caribou.
As I sat there, in awe of the unique images and learning about this incredible species he put on display, the one thing that kept running through my mind was 'what does it take to capture these images?'

During the presentation of unique photographs of caribou giving birth to their calves in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, and stories of the looming environmental threats to the herd, Peter kept referring to the missing link to the story - the one image he has so far been unable to capture; the winter migration of the Porcupine Caribou Herd. The final picture he needed to finish the story.

Instantly, I not only wanted to see this unique image, I desperately wanted to see how he would capture it, and the ways in which this pursuit would impact him. Peter is not only a photographer; he is a father, a math teacher, an environmentalist. How did he weave these dangerous, isolating, and incredibly costly quests into his own life?

Although I had never before encountered a caribou prior to embarking on this project, I knew all too well how the pursuit of unique imagery can take a toll on an individual. My personal obsession with imagery had taken me from Australia to Canada, from Edmonton to the Yukon, and had presented countless struggles, obstacles and internal and external battles along the way.

As Peter described the upcoming expedition that would take him deep into the arctic, in order to capture an incredibly specific image he has constructed in his mind, I knew I had found an opportunity to explore a theme that had both haunted and inspired me through my adult life - obsession.

My reason for creating Camera Trap was so show the harsh realities and multitude of challenges that inspired individuals face when pursuing the photographs they dream of. This unique industry is often celebrated and glorified, however rarely do we see deep into the day-to-day lives of the people who acquire some of the images that inform our understanding of the natural world. What does it really take to capture these images? What is sacrificed, and what is gained when we chose to pursue an unlikely dream?