Electronic media professor Kari Barber will host a special sneak preview of her award-winning documentary “Baking Alaska” at The Reynolds School’s Studio A on October 9 from 4-5 p.m.
The film is about two Southern sisters from Oklahoma who pursue a dream of opening a bakery all the way to Homer, Alaska. Amid fishermen and outdoorsy adventurers they’ll face the challenges of an extreme environment and working with family.
Baking Alaska has been selected for screenings at the 2013 LA Femme International Film Festival, the 2013 Santa Fe Independent Film Festival, where it won the jury selection award for best short documentary, and the 2013 Ruby mountain Film Festival, where it won the award for best short film.
Barber was inspired to make the film in 2009 during her first year of graduate school.
“I’d lived a pretty adventurous life before starting grad school,” she said. “I’d worked as a freelance journalist in Southeast Asia and West and Central Africa where I reported for a variety of recognizable international media organizations. I’d recently gotten married and started a family. My life had changed and I suddenly didn’t feel so free. ”
Enter Jackie Johnson.
“Jackie had visited Homer, Alaska, previously and found it to be the most beautiful place in the world,” Barber said. “She told me she stood on a hill in Homer and knew she wanted to return some day. After her father’s passing Jackie wanted to take a risk and so something different with her life, so she moved to Homer with her mother and sister to open a bake shop.”
“After speaking to my mom (who knew of Jackie) in Oklahoma, I learned of Jackie’s dream to start a bakery in Alaska,” Barber said. “Jackie’s sense of adventure, willingness to take a risk and find her personal freedom interested me. So I headed to Oklahoma to film her packing her RV with baking supplies as she headed off to Alaska.”
A story of personal growth.
“I finished filming in the fall of 2012 and got to live vicariously through Jackie’s adventures,” Barber said. “I also learned during filming that the same problems you think you are leaving behind are there and you, in this case, Jackie, still had to face her fears and family challenges. These are things you can’t run away from.”