EXCLUSIVE: 'Wildlike' Nears End of Alaska Shoot

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by Russ Slaten

(ANCHORAGE, AK) - Alaska's film tax incentive was recently renewed for another ten years. One film taking advantage of the benefits is Wildlike.

Wildlike is the story of an unlikely friendship formed in the majestic Alaskan wilderness. It follows a runaway girl and grieving widowed backpacker, who find sanctuary in the Last Frontier.

Fifteen-year-old Actress Ella Purnell plays the role of Mackenzie. Mackenzie's mom sends her to Alaska to live with her uncle, away from her home in Seattle. She decides to runaway and explore Alaska.

"I think by the end of it, she really is a different person. She's stood up to what she didn't want to stand up to, she faced all the things she wanted to ignore, and I think that makes her a better person for it," said Purnell.

Actor Bruce Greenwood plays the role of Rene Bartlett trying to get over the death of his wife. Known as 'Bart' in the film, he realizes he and Mackenzie both have something to learn.

"In the course of his journey, a young girl whose running from a situation with an uncle, that feels wrong, attaches herself to him. The more he resists, the more they come together," said Greenwood.

Greenwood said the most eye-opening experience was to learn how officials at Denali National Park view the wildlife.

"When you see an animal, if you're close enough to change it's behavior that's too close, which I thought was just such an elegant, simple way of describing how the animals are left alone, and at the same time people are allowed to be in the environment but not interfere," said Greenwood.

Second Assistant Director, and state resident, D.K. Johnston said the filming of Wildlike allows outside professionals see through the eyes of Alaska.

"It really gives a lot of Alaskans a chance to kind of come and showcase the hard work we've been putting in the last couple of years to be able to help support films like this, and be able to pass on the experiences we've had, living here in Alaska, to the producers from New York and L.A. to help tell a better story," said Johnston.

Producers for the film, based out of New York City, said the production value of shooting in Alaska cannot be quantified. Producer Schuyler Weiss said every time the camera is pointed in a different direction it showcases Alaska's vast, breathtaking landscape.

"Every place we've been adds so much value, and that's just the natural environment. When you add to that the people in Alaska, the stories, you just have a very rich, cinematic environment up here that you can't double anywhere else," said Schuyler Weiss.

Wildlike, written and directed by Frank Hall Green, also features Brian Geraghty of the Hurt Locker and Jarhead fame.

The cast and crew plan to finish up shooting by the end of August.

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