Jared & Carly Jakins, Directors of Ghosts on the Mountain: 2014 Heartland Film Festival Interview

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Jared Jakins is a South African-born filmmaker. He is currently studying non-fiction and documentary film at Brigham Young University.

Carly Jakins is a graduate of Brigham Young University, earning her degree in Sociocultural Anthropology. Her focus of study were the migrant guestworker sheepherders in Central Utah. Complementing her study, she has enjoyed learning about the medium of film. She enjoys working side-by-side with her husband.

HFF: What is your film about, and how did the project come to be?

Jared: Ghosts on the Mountain shares the stories and experiences of one of the most isolated occupations in the United States, that of the shepherd. The project grew out of an anthropological field study that my wife conducted on the micro-culture of H-2A guestworker shepherds. Despite growing up in a community historically known for the production of sheep, we knew little of the shepherds’ experiences. We soon discovered that our community has been dependent on migrant guest workers for nearly 50 years.

HFF: What was your role in the production?

Jared: Producer, director, cinematographer.

Carly: Producer, co-director

HFF: Why did you submit to the Heartland Film Festival? Have you been to the Festival before?

Carly: Some of our mentors have screened at Heartland in the past and listed it among the best in the nation. We’ve never attended before but have only heard wonderful things.

HFF: This year’s tagline is “Shift Your Perspective” – what lasting effect will your film have on moviegoers?

Carly: We would hope that moviegoers might leave our film with a determination to identify who might be the ‘ghosts on the mountain’ in their lives and communities.

HFF: What is something that you know about filmmaking now but you weren’t told when you started your career?

Jared: Nothing good will come from your work unless you take risks. If it isn’t risky then it probably isn’t worth doing, or someone has already done it definitively well.

HFF: What are some of your favorite movies? What’s your favorite worst movie (you know it’s bad, but still love it)?

Jared: I love documentaries. A few of the films I haven’t been able to shake lately have been: Jesse Moss’ The Overnighters, Thomas Balmes’ Happiness (Which is at Heartland! Can’t wait to see it again.), and anything Ross McElwee made. Can’t think of a favorite worst movie.

Carly: This is kind of silly, but my go-to movie is probably The Scarlet Pimpernel with Jane Seymour. I think it’s clever. But, I normally watch documentaries—I enjoy the ones about people—I like Rich Hill, Ross McElwee, food films.

HFF: How many film festivals has your film been a part of? What do you like the most about the festival experience?

Jared: Heartland will be the Seventh festival Ghosts on the Mountain will screen at. There are a lot of things to love about the festival experience. It’s great to meet so many excellent filmmakers and audience members and to share a passion of storytelling with them. We love hearing the reactions and insights that audiences bring to our film.

HFF: Heartland Film Festival moviegoers love filmmaker Q&As. Let’s say a Festival attendee wants to earn some brownie points—what is a question that you’d love to answer, but haven’t yet been asked?

Jared: No one has ever asked about the food the shepherds share with us in the film. We have some fun stories in that regard.


See Ghosts on the Mountain in the Festival Award Shorts 2 program at the 2014 Heartland Film Festival:

  • Friday, Oct. 17 – 10:30 am at AMC Castleton Square 14
  • Friday, Oct. 17 – 6:30 pm at AMC Castleton Square 14
  • Saturday, Oct. 18 – 10:15 am at AMC Traders Point Showplace 12
  • Sunday, Oct. 19 – 12:30 pm at AMC Castleton Square 14
  • Monday, Oct. 20 – 12:00 pm at AMC Castleton Square 14
  • Thursday, Oct. 23 – 2:00 pm at AMC Traders Point Showplace 12
  • Friday, Oct. 24 – 4:00 pm at AMC Castleton Square 14
  • Saturday, Oct. 25 – 12:45 pm at AMC Traders Point Showplace 12
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