On Monday, June 18, the hit OLN (Outdoor Life Network) TV series Mantracker will broadcast the first of two episodes that were filmed in the¸Barriere area.
The episodes were shot on Barriere’s Trails Systems, with Kamloops’ hoodoos providing the backdrop for the opening sequence of this season.
“The whole idea of Mantracker coming to Barriere was a direct result of the trails that have been developed in the area through Job Creation Projects,” said Connie Falk of Barriere Employment Services. “We believed that being featured on Mantracker would be a great way to promote the trail systems and market the area.”
Connie Falk provided on-set logistics to the Mantracker crew as well as lending the production her paint horse Striker, which stars in both episodes as well as in the opening sequence.
“Working with the Mantracker crew and being able to participate in the filming was without a doubt one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. They are great people to work with,” Falk said.
Contributing partners to the production include the District of Barriere, Thompson Nicola Regional Directors Bonnie CruzelleMyram of Electoral Area “O” (Lower North Thompson), and John Sternig of Electoral Area “P” (Rivers and The Peaks); Barriere and District Chamber of Commerce; the Thompson-Nicola Film Commission (TNFC); Tk’emlups Indian Band; and the Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association.
Michelle Budden, production co-ordinator for Bonterra Productions, the company behind Mantracker, credits the TNFC for pointing them in the direction of Barriere and the surrounding area.
“By far, the film commission’s pitchbook, which was full of pictures of the area’s trails,local services and possible ‘sidekicks,’ was one of the best presentations we’ve ever received,” Budden said.
Butch Falk of McLure was chosen to be the “sidekick” who helps the Mantracker find his “prey,” which in this case were two Kelowna residents.
“I really had no desire to be the ‘sidekick,’ but they wanted someone who looked the part of a sidekick so I guess I fit the bill. They also needed someone who knew all the country they wanted to film in,” Falk said.
“Everyone asks if the chase is real, and I can tell you, yes, it is very real. The adrenaline is pumping and everyone is doing their utmost to be the winner. I saw real fear in the eyes of the ‘prey’ more than once. And the camera crew members are amazingly fit to keep up,” Falk said. “The new Mantracker, Chad Savage, is the real deal and has exceptional tracking skills and amazing eyesight. I would often miss the signs he was watching for.”
After an exhaustive search, Savage took over the reins for Mantracker in Season 7. Raised in the shadow of Alberta’s Rocky Mountains, Savage grew up hunting and working with horses. He’s been a professional guide since the early-’90s, travelling from Alberta to Northern B.C., the Yukon and Northwest Territories, as well as exploring the wilds of the U.S., Mexico, Africa, Australia and Asia.
For Vicci Weller, Executive Director of Film for the Thompson-Nicola Film Commission (TNFC), having Mantracker film in the region is the ultimate in product placement.
“The return on investment goes beyond just what the crew spent in Barriere and Kamloops,” said Weller. “We anticipate that awareness of the area’s trails and increase visitation by tourists will also add to Barriere’s economy.”
Peter Milobar, Chairman of the TNFC, said that having Mantracker in the region was a fun experience for a lot of people and that the film commission is “poised to present our region again when Bonterra Productions is ready.”
Bill Humphreys, Mayor of Barriere, echoed Milobar’s sentiments: “The production of the Mantracker series in Barriere brought not only new revenue but an opportunity for the community to be involved in an exciting project of this kind.”
In celebration of the broadcast, the Thompson-Nicola Film Commission (TNFC) and Barriere are hosting a public screening on Saturday, June 16, at the Barriere Elementary School. Depending on the turnout, there may be two screenings. Those who wish to attend are asked to bring a contribution to the food bank. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the screening will take place at 7 p.m.