When a film director offered Justin Haight the opportunity to go on the trip of a lifetime, despite the challenges, the Fenton resident knew couldn’t turn it down.
Haight helped film a documentary called Where the Yellowstone Goes about the Yellowstone River in Montana, which will be screened at 7 p.m. Thursday at Schoolcraft College VisTaTech Center.
“I remember thinking to myself a few nights, ‘What did I get myself into?’” Haight said.
For the love of film
He first picked up the camera in yearbook class at Hartland High School.
“I continued to pursue photography on my free time, but after talking to many people about the industry, I quickly got discouraged about how hard it would be land one of those amazing jobs. I knew that I had that eye, and wasn't sure where I wanted to go with it,” Haight said.
A tough decision
Haight then finally landed one of those amazing jobs, although it was unpaid.
The 23-year-old had asked his mentor and director of the film Hunter Weeks for a job opportunity. Weeks told him he couldn’t pay him, but would fly him out to Montana in two weeks for 30 days and take care of his expenses.
The Fenton resident decided to take the opportunity and ask for a leave of absence from his place of employment. It turned out to be everything Haight thought it could be.
“I had no film making experience. I was good at website design and photography, and that was enough for Hunter to trust me with the film,” Haight said.
The crew started on a drift boat in Livingston, Montana and made their way nearly 500 miles down the Yellowstone River. A support jeep rode along the side as a “mobile command center” holding batteries, memory cards and supplies. Haight and the filmmakers camped at night.
“I loved being able to plan and organize meet ups with locals and here their stories,” Haight said. “That was probably my favorite part of the trip. The hospitality of the people out in the northwest is very rare out on this side of the country. They just take being friendly and hospitable to a whole new level.”
Editor's note: A video preview of the film is embedded to this story; reload the page if it hasn't appeared, view the attached YouTube video or click here to view.