If you only have a month to make a movie, wasting
time is not a luxury you can afford especially when you are shooting in
the mountains at the tail-end of winter.
So that said, directing your brother in a film you wrote is what you can call a win-win situation.
was the case for writer/director Cameron Labine when he set about
making his second feature film, Mountain Men, last April on location in
Co-starring his younger brother Tyler Labine and Chace
Crawford (he of Gossip Girl and many sexy-men lists), Mountain Men is a
combination sibling comedy/drama and wilderness thriller which focuses
on two estranged brothers who find themselves dangerously alone in the
The film, which is the leadoff movie in the
Borsos Competition for top Canadian feature at this year’s Whistler Film
Festival, follows on the heels of the brothers’ 2008 collaboration,
Control Alt Delete.
“We learned really quickly that we have an
excellent shorthand,” said Tyler. “We can quickly get into each other’s
head. Which is good and can be bad, but mostly good in a creative
“So when we went to do Mountain Men we’d already laid the
ground rules for working together. Once we started it was just hopping
back into bed with your brother, can I say that? Yeah, hopping back into
the sack with my big bro. It’s great, it kind of cuts out a lot of the
shoe leather that goes down between a director and an actor when they
don’t know each other. There’s a lot of niceties and stuff that Cam and I
just dispensed with.”
For the story of Mountain Men, you can say Cameron followed that age-old writing guideline and wrote what he knows.
wanted to write something about the B.C. wilderness and growing up
around it and in it and how I thought I could sort of handle myself in
the backcountry, but still had a feeling that I couldn’t handle myself
in the backcountry, if it came down to it,” said Cameron.
wanted to write something about brothers. I have two brothers (Kyle is
the youngest) and that’s a big part of who I am. I wanted to
specifically write about adult brothers and how brotherhood kind of
changes as you become older and have separate lives and how you fit into
each other’s lives as adults.”
In real life, that fitting in part
means working together. Most recently Cameron was in New York while
Tyler (That Burning Feeling, Fathers and Sons, Monsters University) was
filming the second season of the Hulu TV show Deadbeat.
Tyler’s down times the pair were writing and collaborating, something
they’ve done since they were little kids growing up in Vancouver.
“We had many, many ill-fated but high-concept productions,” said Tyler, reminiscing about some of their crazy kid projects.
pretty natural we grew up making little short films together in the
basement on my dad’s camcorder, so it feels pretty natural for us when
we get on set,” said Cameron. “And I’ve always been the bossy one. The
older brother dynamic, by birthright, means the privilege of telling the
younger brothers what to do at any given moment.”
a two-parter, the brisk, nicely shot film stars Tyler as a stoner,
small-town underachiever and Crawford as the older, more uptight brother
living in New York City.
“There are obviously some parallels,
some things in the script that I am sure were drawn from real life and
may be exaggerated a bit,” said Crawford. “I loved seeing their dynamic
“It was fun to see them play with each other like brothers, back and forth, making jokes.”
Tyler says he and Cameron share similar views of the world, he says
they go about making those views known in very different ways.
we are pretty different,” said Cameron. “Ty is more a heart on your
sleeve kind of guy like Toph, while myself and my younger brother Kyle
are more reserved and guarded, like Coop. I guess that’s where those
archetypes come from.”
Right now the pair are focusing on developing a TV series and another feature.
like deathbed important whenever I think about doing these things with
him, I get very extensional,” said Tyler. “If we didn’t collaborate like
this it would be a huge life-regret for me. He’s a writer and director
and I’m an actor and sometimes writer.
“We want to turn into an entity as the brothers.”