Todd Crocker has had a diverse career so far, but on Wednesday, he's heading to Las Vegas to do something he's never done before. He's presenting his film at a film festival.
The Ancaster filmmaker's documentary short film about trapping in northern Ontario is being presented at Cine Fest in Nevada. Crocker made The Trapline earlier this year on a shoestring budget when he spent two days with his brother Mark north of Parry Sound.
It's an exciting landmark for the videographer and broadcaster, who owns From Thin Air Pictures.
"Many times in my career, I have come to the edge of something and leapt off, saying 'what the heck,'" Crocker said. "Many times, it doesn't work out. But I think this has already worked out."
Crocker is a familiar voice in Hamilton. He calls Hamilton Bulldogs and McMaster Marauder games for Cable 14, as well as working on the station's election coverage. He is the former Bulldogs head of broadcasting and one-time director of operations for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. He has also hosted hockey shows such as Inside the AHL and Rinkside.
From the festival schedule description:
The Trapline — A journey of understanding into the world of trappers and the way they are perceived by a reality adverse social agenda. The skeptical film maker is reluctant to follow his brother, the trapper, around but finds that the job is not at all what the protesters have made it out to be. The Trapline is the side of the debate that has not been heard.
He decided to make The Trapline after Mark, "the world's only trapper/comedian," invited him to document the trapping life.
The trouble with winter
Troy Izlaker edited and shot much of the film. Crocker and Izlaker spent long days trekking through snowy areas around Shebeshekong Lake, where trappers catch bear, wolf, fishers and other wildlife.
Crocker's eyes were opened. The trappers, licensed and strictly regulated by the Ministry of Natural Resources, are environmentalists and animal lovers, he said. They feel maligned by protesters who let large environmental evils pass without criticism.
"Their take is 'Why don't you go after a 100,000-acre farm? That's robbed habitat and killed more animals than we ever did,'" he said. "I think what galls them is the hypocrisy."
Crocker trekked over tough terrain. Nearly every member of the crew fell through the ice, including Izlaker, who was holding a camera. They wanted to film longer, but mild temperatures thawed the ice and snow.
"It just wasn't cold enough," he said.
Two more films
Crocker submitted the 28-minute film to a dozen film festivals, most of which passed based on the subject matter. It is still under consideration by three others.
Since February, Crocker has made two more short films. He's planning a short fictional one that deals with hockey as a childhood touchstone.
The Trapline will screen in Vegas on Wednesday afternoon. It is part of the film festival competition, but Crocker said winning is not the point.
"I don't think you can go into a film festival and think 'I would like to win our category,'" he said. "I'm already pretty satisfied with being accepted."