“The Adventure of the Hunt”
Senior Liam Erickson learned hunting from accompanying and observing his grandfather and his father, and he’s hunted on his own now for four years. For his senior project, his initial idea was to film himself hunting over one season to show his idea of it and why it is important to him. Then, realizing he wanted to know other people’s opinions about this activity, he began approaching people in the city randomly to interview them on film.
The opinions he found while interviewing in Sellwood, downtown, and in the Pearl convinced him to expand his original concept. “A lot of people don’t know anything about hunting,” says Liam. “For me, it’s one way I’ve become a man. Less than 300 years ago, everyone hunted. It’s actually new not to hunt.”
For his accompanying research paper, Liam explored the decline in hunting. “It’s dying off,” he says. “Kids now play videos instead of being outdoors. But hunting has a real role to play in ecological management; you have to have predators.” He points out that people don’t realize what a demanding activity it is. “It’s hard to just sit and observe—sometimes I sit in a tree from sunrise to sunset,” Liam says. “It’s tough. There are no distractions, but you see the most amazing things. I have footage of elk, antelope, big horn sheep, birds. You have lots of conversations with yourself. Then, when you take an animal, you have more emotions than you can describe.”
Between his interviews and his footage of nature, Liam has shot six hours of film. Now he’s working with his mentor, filmmaker Fred Schwoebel, to edit this footage. For Schwoebel, the relationship has been rewarding in many ways. He says, “I listen and ask questions and let Liam make the decisions as to how his story will unfold. I cultivate the idea that it is important to find your voice and to value the collaborative process.” Schwoebel continues, “As Liam shares his views in front of the camera, he exhibits courage and strength of conviction in his project, and his beliefs become focused and expressed with clarity.”
“I’m against trophy hunting, against people who just go out and take the antlers, or who don’t respect the land while they’re out there,” Liam says. “I eat all the meat of the animals I take, and I use the skin. Killing isn’t what it’s all about. The meals are amazing, but it’s really about the connection to the people you learn from and to nature and the animals. This is what I’ve tried to show.” Liam’s final product will be a 15-minute film, which he will present as part of his complete project at the Senior Project Presentations on March 21, 2015.
[Edit]: Liam’s short film is now available to watch on YouTube! Check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLjRqY78ivEThis article originally appeared in the Spring 2015 issue of the Portland Waldorf High School Newsletter. For the full issue, visit our newsletter archive!