Did you go into this thinking that you could be risking your life?
Some things like that you just can't plan for. It just happened. The cameraman and his soundman were far away. They were on the other side of the river beyond the fringe of the forest so the wolves didn't know there were more people there. They told me afterwards that they started to be uneasy and had thoughts like what if something goes wrong in the next second, we are too far away to help her in any way. For whatever reason, it was never in my mind.
What do you hope people take away from the film, "A Woman Among Wolves?"
I hope I give them a realistic image of the wolf. At the beginning [of the film], you see wolves attacking bear and chasing caribou. In the last century, most everywhere it was the big bad wolf, threatening whatever is ‘civilized.' It was a very dark, negative image. Just in the very last decade, suddenly wolves took on another image; they became a symbol of freedom, grace and diminishing wild places. So positive attributes. But the wolf itself is an animal, and it doesn't care about all that. We tend to categorize things in good and bad; nature doesn't.
I have to ask. How did you learn how to mimic the wolf's howl?
A wolf howl—and you can ask anybody who's ever heard one—gives you goose bumps. It still gives me goose bumps. I'm not sure what it is, if it's the frequency or just the tone. It's eerily beautiful.
With other research colleagues you kind of talk about what's the typical characteristics of the wolf howl. So mainly [I'd practice] when I was by myself in the car driving along the highway when no one can listen. It's bizarre and kind of ironic.