As we watch wildfires in Oregon again this year, it doesn’t take a long memory to remember the Holiday Farm Fire from two years ago.
Filmmaker Mark McInnis certainly remembers. He lost his home to the fire while making a documentary in Alaska. But that didn’t stop him from finishing his film, which will be showing in Bend next week.
“We didn’t know whether the house had burned down or not because the whole area was completely closed,” said McInnis. “We found out a week later, and it’s hard to convey what it’s like. People that have experienced catastrophic loss I’m sure can understand, but it’s just not anything you can convey with words.”
As a photographer, he lost his life’s work.
“I had no time to get anything. I had no time to save hard drives and computers and all that kind of stuff. I lost family heirlooms and hard drives full of digital images from the last five years,” said McInnis.
During this period of loss, McInnis was also filming a movie.
“Island X” stars McInnis as a surfer, one of his life’s passions, and incorporates his photography. The film is set on an island in Alaska where the cold waves are epic enough to surf.
“I had no option but to just restart from a blank slate. Restart my career. I think this movie does a really good job of being the catalyst for that, for me personally,” said McInnis.
Now that catalyst will be shown on screens up and down the West Coast. But the one he’s most proud to show on is at the Tower Theater in Bend.
“Showing Island X at the Tower Theater is truly a dream come true,” said McInnis. “My dad sat on the board of the Save The Tower movement back in the day, which they obviously were successful, and there’s even two chairs there that have my grandparents name on them.”
McInnis went from a loss many Oregonians can empathize with during fire season to rebuilding his career and moving back to Bend where he grew up.
Island X will show at Tower Theater on August 12 at 8:00 p.m.