For the second time in its eight years of filming on the Coquihalla, Highway Thru Hell has been nominated for Leo Awards for Best Musical Score and Best Picture Editing for a documentary series.
“We were nominated but didn’t win,” said Mark Miller, the show’s executive producer. “But (not winning) doesn’t matter. We’re not making the show for the awards, we’re making the show because the stories are so authentic and organic.
“The idea that there are people out there trying to keep a highway open—and a difficult highway—I think it’s pretty cool.”
With their efforts first airing in December 2012, the Highway Thru Hell crew spends months in the Hope area filming points along the Coquihalla Highway and Fraser Canyon during its harshest weather seasons.
“I thought it was going to be a lot colder, but it’s really wet,” Miller said during a telephone interview. “Our equipment gets destroyed from the rain, but (our crews are still) willing to stand out there in the rain for hours and hours (because) you just don’t know when the highway’s going to close and you got to have the people there ready to go tell the story.”
And it’s those story-telling techniques that were recognized by this year’s Leo Award nominations. Started in 1999 by the Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Foundation of British Columbia, the Leo Awards celebrate excellence in locally-filmed film and television. In 2018, Highway Thru Hell won a documentary series Best Sound Leo Award.
“It’s a little TV show we make in Canada that (inspires) people (from all over the world) travel to Hope,” Miller said.
Airing on Discovery Canada, Highway Thru Hell also streams globally on Netflix, airs in 170 other countries, and is on every night in the States on the Weather Channel.
“You can’t get away from it, and it showcasing B.C. and the communities we live in,” Miller continued. “Everyone wants to imagine what it’s like to live in a place that’s really challenging. Then they want to see it, and then they come and visit.
“Hope used to be known for Rambo, but most 20- or 25-year-olds starting families haven’t even seen Rambo, but they’ve seen (our show and it draws them there).
“I’m just so proud to be part of something that’s showcasing one of the most beautiful places in Canada, and I don’t think you could ask for a better highlight in your career than that.”