Chimaira’s Mark Hunter is the subject of a new short film created by director Nick Cavalier. The documentary, which is named after the band’s track “Down Again,” focuses on the connections between creativity and mental illness. Cavalier was inspired to make the film after he met Hunter and the Medical Director at Centers For Family And Children, Dr. Patrick Runnels, who were running a panel with a similar theme at Acting Out!. You can see some pictures from the movie at nickcavalier.com and read a statement from the director below.
“In September Marty Geramita, manager of Derek Hess and my good friend asked me to participate on a panel for Acting Out! to discuss mental health and creativity. I was honored to do it and the panel was a great success.
One of the coolest things about this panel was I got to meet two exceptional people, Dr. Patrick Runnels (Medical Director at Centers for Family and Children), and Mark Hunter (Chimaira vocalist and photographer) This panel sparked an idea for me, a deep exploration of the subject matter discussed, inspired a short film on the connection between creativity and mental illness. It’s something I’m passionate about and I am personally affected by.
I believe bipolar, depression or other mental afflictions have inspired some of the greatest art ever created. I know in my case, bipolar is not only a burden, a callus monster you have to harness, but a source of great power. It’s a disease that forces you to look inward, sometimes in painful ways, but ultimately providing a deeper connection to the human condition. If you can harness that and translate it into any medium, then we are talking about a giant creative advantage.
After hearing Mark’s story at the panel, I approached him to create a documentary portrait about his issues and his art. He was kind enough to let me explore this topic through his art and his experiences. I am calling the piece Down Again, after Chimaira’s hit song. The title and song have a much deeper meaning which will be explored in the doc piece. On a personal note, Chimaira’s music was something that helped me through dark times when I was an angsty teenager, So I played this one pretty close to the chest.
We wrapped the first leg of our principle photography around Chimaira’s 7 year reunion show on December 30th at the legendary Agora. I wanted to interview Mark leading up to the show as it was bound to stir up some feelings, as well as using that time as an opporitunity to gather interesting B Roll around the band practicing and re-uniting for the big show.
Metal music by its nature is intense, and this piece is shaping up to be a window into that world I feel no one has opened before. Metal musicians and metal fans are often misunderstood and I hope to change that. As a fan of metal myself, and a fan of music and how it affects people, I really want to pour myself into this one. It’s deep, it’s moody and it will hopefully be profound.
It was awesome to see how the band approaches music in such a professional way. The setlists were rehearsed religiously, the songs were played to a click track live, and every detail from lighting to sound was meticulously managed and thought through in advance.
I am also putting together a short film around Chimaira’s return to commemorate an awesome evening I will never forget. The crew was on point and the band absolutely crushed. It was a barn burner of a show.
Huge thanks to Mark and all the fellas in the band for letting me into their world. It was an honor to be a part of the Chimaira family and share such an amazing night with such awesome people. You guys are the best dudes, and should be very proud of what you built with the band and the music and how it’s touched fans around the world.
Big thanks to the crew, Tyler Clark for his vision and eye for making the piece moody and atmospheric. Luke DeJeu for running audio and assisting with camera needs. Mikey Tell for wearing all the hats and helping with whatever we needed. Nolan for his assistance on camera and helping with gear on the shoot. Magan for her looks, charm and the Miller High Life. And lastly James Waters for putting this together last minute in a classic hail mary fashion as only he can do.
I am really proud of what we have so far, and am excited to start putting something together. We will be shooting the remaining content in March and the piece will be edited sometime in April. Stay tuned!”