The air was heavy, saturated from coastal humidity and steady rainfall lasting for days. Spawning pink salmon amassing into the millions filled tributaries from one bank to the other, the smell of rotting salmon carcasses lingering amidst the aroma of lodgepole pine and yellow cedar. British Columbia is a beautiful place, but its beauty is defined by steep climbs and uneven terrain. Traversing in this landscape is a test of endurance, both physically and mentally, yet Billy was there on the ground hunting black bear with a cameraman to capture the scenes unfold. In honor of his late father, George Katsigiannis, this was Billy's season, A Season to Remember.
George passed away in the summer of 2007, Billy was lost. In which direction does one turn when they lose their compass? He had a decision to make. He could sit down and wait to be found, or he could stay on his feet and carry on his father's legacy. Eight years later, Billy captured his season spent in the woods and on the water retracing his father's footsteps in the cinematic documentary film, A Season to Remember. His inspiration? "I wanted to tell my Dad's story." - Billy Katsigiannis (aka Billy Kats)
In the film trailer, Billy narrates an old adage that sets the tone for what's to come - They say it's the journey, not the destination. That life is short and time flies. But time stood still when Billy's Dad passed away and this cinematic tale of woe was Billy's way to get it moving again.
Watching the film, I'm immersed into every scene. In British Columbia, the sound of the aluminum keel under Billy's boat grinding into a gravel shoreline invokes familiarity, I feel as though I am there. Emotion becomes tense during some extremely close bear encounters - Billy is there to hunt them, but he is on the ground, and at times, there is little more than ten metrical feet between himself and the potential threat of danger these predators are respected by.
While fishing muskies on a quiet wilderness lake in Ontario, the hum of Billy's reel cues a reminiscent sound, the essence of the cast captured in a cinematic close-up of mist wicking off braided line peeling from the spool. The pure honesty behind Billy's raw excitement for every catch is vividly portrayed as his cousin, Massimo, scoops the net headfirst on several great muskies Billy manages to hook up with.
Later in the film, Billy shares a whitetail hunters point-of-view elevated twenty-two feet high in an oak tree overlooking acres of open Illinois hardwoods. This particular segment of the documentary just may have been my favorite as Billy writes the final chapter to his season in the most unforgettable way possible, hallmarking the title.
As a father and avid outdoorsman over water and afield, this film served as a reminder of time spent with my Dad hunting and fishing, and how that shaped me into who I am today. I'm reminded that it is not the catch or the kill that defines the experience, but sharing the adventure with someone you love so that they might see through your eyes long after you're gone.