In this dystopian vision, a family tries to maintain its humanity while struggling to survive, but when a young stranger disrupts their routine, they each must ask themselves what that survival really means.

Braving temperatures that froze equipment (and his eyelids!), Director Adam Besheer shot Kick-starter-funded Tribe over a four day weekend in 2012 around Cranberry Lake in Upstate New York.

Tribe is a very simple story that was actually inspired by a Jane Goodall anecdote. It was a story about an alpha male named Frodo losing his position of prominence among the group [and] how a bout with illness opened an opportunity for other males to toss him from his perch. These primal stories still play out in human society although their magnitude is often dampened by modern comforts, and the film is my attempt at an exploration of the more animal nature of humanity.

– Director Adam Besheer

We rely heavily on the technology and conveniences in our 1st world lives and this story taps into the fear of having to do without. How would we protect those we love against the elements, against hunger and against desperate and dangerous strangers? How would we stay human?

On the other hand, it is the very advance of technology that Besheer lauds for making the film possible; simplifying productions (the only artificial lighting used was an iPhone!), and freeing him to try things on a shoestring budget that would have been unthinkable only a few years ago.

Tribe flat out wouldn’t have been possible if we’d had to spend any time lighting the scenes, and quite frankly we didn’t have a true gaffer on set. The technology is at a point now where you just don’t need a grip truck, not that we would have been able to drive one up to the Adirondacks, and seeing how far these digital sensors have come is one of the most exciting things for me personally as a film maker. Not only have the price points on the technology come down tremendously, but the veil on one of the most cumbersome aspects of traditional film making is being lifted…the doors are open. 

– Director Adam Besheer

Although they posed technical challenges for the production, the frozen Adirondacks are a stunning backdrop for this bleak film. Photos of the area as well as the crew on the shoot are available on the film’s Facebook page.