Metal Wani‘s Carl O’Rourke sat down with Mark Hunter (Ex-Chimaira) and director Nick Cavalier to talk about the collaborative effort between the two that produced their documentary, ‘Down Again’. The short feature piece is centred on Hunter who, throughout, shares his personal journey and struggles with Bipolar, as well as how he utilises art to live with his his condition. ‘Down Again’ aims not only to help raise awareness for mental health, but also to encourage fellow strugglers to find healthy ways of dealing with their own personal issues. ‘Down Again‘ follows Mark through his personal life, conversations around his condition as well as his reunion with Chimaira. It is available to watch now for free through the internal link.
On how the documentary came to life, Nick recalled,
Nick: Mark and I met on that panel (Mental Health and Creativity) and he told most of the story that’s in the doc when we were there. So I really just wanted it to be about that. The thing that drew me to it was sort of how he, much like myself, used his talents, whether it’s in photography or previously in that music, to express himself and maintain the demons, exorcise the demons.”
Asked how the experience was for both Mark and Nick to depict the intimate and vulnerable moments needed to tell this story, the two shared their thoughts.
Mark: “By the time I met Nick I was comfortable. It doesn’t necessarily mean it makes it easy by any means but when you’re asked good questions, and the team itself is competent, there’s really no fear. You could tell right from the bat what Nick’s vision was, and it was going to be something that you’d want to open up about. And if we’re going to have this conversation, let’s have this conversation. So, somewhat of a seasoned veteran, but also eager to talk about these sort of things because I know how important they are.
Nick: “Yeah, I’d echo that for the most part. My only concern was, I knew they had done a bunch of documentaries, but a lot of times when people have screen time, and experience, and they see the wizard behind the curtain if you will, and Mark being a big film fan too, I was really kind of worried that a lot of people put on a front. Or they put on a thing for affect, and it’s my job to sort of, break that wall down from people. When I work with actors, I’m working with an actor right now who is in a documentary sense, it’s really difficult because she’s always on. I was worried about the performer in Mark coming out. That was my only concern. But to his credit he really was vulnerable the whole time. I think it was good we spent a little bit of time beforehand together as friends and talked about these issues.”
Touching base on Mark’s reunion with Chimaira, Mark was asked if the band still served as the same lifeline it once did seven years prior.
Mark: “That’s a good question. I think it’s kind of a little bit of a mix of the two. The only thing that didn’t necessarily serve me the same way was knowing that once that show was over there was nothing coming down the pipeline. So that was a little bit difficult. Even after the show it such an incredible high, and then to spend a year and a half working on it, that by the time it was over it was pretty difficult for me to get my feet back on the ground. I think when I met up with Nick a lot during those times you’re actually getting me at a lower state. So I think that was cool. high on the way up, then anything we did after the show I was definitely at a lower place.”
Mark concluded “That’s a good way of putting it. It’s a much better book end than the one it was, how we ended. So, in that regard, if that’s the last thing we ever do, then wow! Cool! And it’s almost, I think, that there’s this hesitation that no one wants to move forward because how are you gonna top that? It was such a great experience, we broke all of our records in terms of finances and merch sales. We broke the Agora, the venue, it was the largest bar night in the history of the venue and they’ve been open since the 60’s. I’m good on another one, nobody’s really jumping. We keep having hot and cold moments where we’ll all be on the same page and then a week goes by and nobody feels that way anymore. I think that’s because we’ve accomplished the things we’ve set out to do, and for us to do something moving forward we’ve gotta top that in terms of performance first and foremost [Laughs]. Then worry about a click track and production! [Laughs] not the other way around!”