1848. A government agent surveyor attempts to return home after surveying land on the western frontier
As a 25 minute film, Surveyor might sound like it was conceived as a festival short, but its first submission was actually for Ridley Scott’s YouTube short film contest. After making the first cut, the film got disqualified for including a quote by Cormac McCarthy without permission. The film was turned to festivals for a few projections, but slipped through most major festival selections. That’s when director Scott Blake decided to bring his film back to the online afterlife. And since then, with just a little exposure, Surveyor has become one of the internet’s hidden gems.
The self proclaimed Anti-Western film created by Scott Blake, a first time director with no film experience who spent two years University years working on Surveyor, was his way of showing the lack of true american historical facts in almost all Hollywood western films.
I wanted to make an anti-Western because the Hollywood western is a disgrace; it’s a genre that has little to do with what actually happened. “Surveyor” is my attempt at trying to reflect the truth of the founding of the American West.
Surveying was the most dangerous job in American in the 1800s. It was literally the mechanism by which the American government expanded westward. The practice of surveying was a function of capitalism working itself out leaving a holocaust in its wake. American Indians referred to surveying as a “dark magic.”
Despite Blake’s filmmaking inexperience, the film nourishes some incredible shots and a rather impeccable flow from beginning to end. Costume, location and props are also to the highest budget standards, which makes this film as unique as it is.