Top Spot of the Week: Director Cameron Thuman, Gostlin Family "Dreaming of a Better Place"

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Robert Goldrich
Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023

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From SixTwentySix-represented director Cameron Thuman comes Dreaming of a Better Place, a heartwarming documentary short cinematically detailing the inspiring story of Jeff Gostlin who carries on his father’s legacy by operating Keefer Lake Lodge, a cat skiing business nestled deep in the Monashee Mountains (British Columbia, Canada), with his cousin and most trusted friend, Dave Gostlin. 

Teaming with NativeFour Productions, Thuman turned out this love letter to British Columbia’s powder culture, highlighting the significance of family and legacy, and the immense beauty that lies in the Canadian wilderness. Made in partnership with USCAPE Apparel, the film is also supported by HeliCat Canada and Destination BC, and is a part of their initiative, “Stories Make Us.”  

“This was a dream 35 years in the making,” said Jeff Gostlin. “My dad ignited my love for cat skiing when he surprised me for my high school graduation. Now as the [Keefer Lake Lodge] owner, operator and guide, there is no doubt in my mind that this was what my father wanted for me all along.”

While Dave manages the lodge and Jeff works as the owner, operator and guide, the pair can still hear their dad Keith telling them that a Gostlin must always be at the Keefer Lake Lodge. Keith believed the Gostlin’s passion for skiing would manifest into an intense commitment serving as the lodge’s X-factor. After Keith was diagnosed with cancer, Jeff recounts his father’s chilling call to tell the family he would be gone in a mere couple of days after choosing a medically assisted death. Jeff’s outlook on the lodge changed forever as it awoke a burning desire to honor his father by carrying on the dream that the trio had started together.

Jeff also enlisted the talent of Canadian freeskiing icon Mark Abma for the film. The two have been longtime friends with Abma known for his work in cult-classic ski films such as Superheroes of Stoke, In Deep and Session 51.

A labor of love on multiple levels, the film also holds additional sentimental meaning for the 24-year old Cannes YDA-nominated director Thuman, who found solace while connecting to the Gostlins. In 2015, Thuman was one of the top-ranked halfpipe skiers under the age of 18 in the U.S., after years of training and skiing with his father. Thuman’s father was not just a skiing inspiration, but tenacious in nature as he survived blood cancer and was named the National Honored Hero for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Once Thuman heard Keith’s final words to his family, he knew that he was meant to tell this story.  

“I have always had my eyes on directing a ski movie that didn’t feel like a ski movie,” shared Thuman. “What started as a documentary about a cat skiing lodge revealed itself to not be about the lodge, but rather a family driven to uphold a legacy. The film was an artistic journey crafted by a global team and made out of love for the Gostlin family and Canadian snow culture.”

Shooting the breathtaking film in a mere five days on a back-to-back schedule, Thuman captured the films imagery through vintage Russian lenses on diverse camera rigs utilizing the Sony VENICE on Richard Gale Optics Clavius Primes in addition to the RED V-RAPTOR on Olympus OM lenses rehoused by zero optics as well as the Laowa 12mm.

Ahead of its festival play spanning America, Canada and Europe, Dreaming of a Better Place was officially released online this week.  The film received a sold-out worldwide premiere at the Canadian Screen Award Qualifying Whistler Film Festival and its upcoming schedule includes a Director’s Choice Award and Academy Award Qualifying selections.  

Dreaming of a Better Place also features a soundtrack by German artist and composer Liam Mour. Recorded in Berlin’s historic Funkhaus Cathedral, the soundtrack will be released on Spotify.

Credits

Production NativeFour Cameron Thuman, director; Dilan Mistry, producer; Christopher Clark, DP. Editorial Christian Whittemore, editor. Music Liam Mour, composer. Color Company 3 Parker Jarvis, colorist; Blake Rice, color producer. Sound Studio Defacto Sound Lead Cast Members Dave Gostlin, Jeff Gostlin, Mark Abma

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