The Glitterati of Bozeangeles – Part 2

Jim’s Adventure at the Hatchfest Film Festival

Red Oxx Manufacturing co-owner Jim Markel traveled to Bozeman, Montana ‘s Hatchfest Film Festival. In this Part 2 installment, Jim rubs shoulders with directors in dreadlocks, kicks the tires of the world’s greatest race car, and pals around as VIP sponsor of what may become Hollywood’s next must-see-and-be-seen event. Check out Part 1 of The Glitterati of Bozeangeles.

The 2nd day of the festival began at The Emerson Cultural Center with panel discussions and where local artists’ works were on display. I recognized the work of Dennis Harrington. The Harrington families have been long time supporters of the Oxx since the first Christmas when we opened our store; before long he was listing his collection of bags.

Enough chitchat, it was time to get rolling over to the Baxter Hotel. The Werner Cello Quartet was set to perform. They’re all siblings and are absolutely wonderful. I was spellbound by the sounds that radiated with symphonic harmony. They totally jammed and played with an emotion that far belied their years. Bravo!

[Covering the performance was the festival documentary crew all decked out with lights and enough AV gear to cause a titter with that set. Sometimes I wonder what ever happened to those audio visual guys after high school. Well, no worries mate, they are all working for the movie industry now.]

Next stop on the hit parade was a sweet VIP dinner at Dick Walter Auto, an Audi dealership. The showroom is a full wall of glass that sweeps back onto itself, making a bold statement to minimalism. The hip movie crowd seemed comfortable with the curving steel and glass.

The star of the evening was the flagship race car of the Audi line: the R8. This baby won the 24 Hours of Lemans 5 times in 6 years. It is a truly amazing vehicle. Many consider it the best prototype racer ever built.

There I hooked up with new friends from Getty Images and we left together for the upcoming screening. Arriving at the Ellen Theater, we were treated to a red carpet reception. The lights were so powerful they cut the chill off the Montana night. Being paraded past the cameras I had the feeling of being inside a fishbowl.

A million thoughts seemed to crowd my mind as the cameras whirred and we strode into the historic theater. Now that is not something you’re likely to experience everyday!

I soaked up my ten seconds of simulated fame. Daydreaming someone would ask for my autograph and I would quickly sign "Kevin Spacey" and duck into the theater. Word is Mr. Spacey looks a lot like Jim Markel or maybe the other way around…

Once inside, the theater showed signs of having seen better days. The nice people at Panavision sent over a new projector and sound system for the festival. Since the heat was on the blink, we huddled in our coats. The volunteers had thoughtfully requisitioned some gas stoves and were making some headway against the chill. With a capacity crowd and campfire atmosphere, we munched our popcorn and waited for the show.

First up was Perils in Nude Modeling — as shorts go, this was quick paced and inventive. Scott Rice is the first person in history to be awarded two Student Academy Award Nominations in two different categories in the same year. His film brought great applause from the packed house.

Screening next was a sneak preview of the unreleased film Prime. A funny film and that was a real crowd pleaser also, although I had the feeling that I had seen this film under another name. Typical Hollywood recycling but done well enough and entertaining for most.

Heading down the street after the screening we walked down to the Rocky Mountain Rug Gallery for a VIP party. Making an initial run on the chow line, I am pleasantly surprised to see sushi being chopped up at fairly brisk pace. I select something that looks like unagi and cruise over to get a seat by the dance floor. Just then the band Psyche Origami fires up and they hit the room like a tidal wave. Not really being a fan of hip-hop, I was blown away by the rich sound and mesmerizing saxophone. The mohawked barefoot drummer had to be from another planet. Intensity and unrelenting power were the standard as they dropped the hammer down and did not let up until well past two am. Ears ringing I stumbled down the street to my low rent accommodations and crashed. I could still hear the party hamsters ripping it up as I drifted off to sleep.

Shivering awake in the morning, I grab a quick shower and hit the bricks. I love Bozeman. You can walk just about anywhere you need to go. And my favorite place to go is the coffee shop. Finding the perfect cup of coffee has to be on top of my list of things to do. Filling the supertanker mug I head down to catch my first flick of the day. I had long day of film watching ahead of me. Eying an empty seat by the gas stove I slide in and make myself at home. Sometime it’s the little things like a great cup of coffee and sitting by the fire that really renew your energy.

Leading off the day was Among Thieves, a film by Oscar Daniels. Don’t let the Bob Marley dreadlocks fool you. This kid has a future in the movie industry and I would not be surprised to hear of big things happening for this talented and hard working director. Our feature film was the Americano. Filmed in Spain, it had a rich visual texture that is sure to appeal to the travel junkie in all of us.

After a short Q&A session we got back to some serious movie watching. Our next student film was Chasing Daylight and it had some awesome imagery and the star of the film was a Beech 17 one of my favorite airplanes. (Winner best cinematography)

It was time for a break so I strolled down the street to grab some chow and get some rest before the last show of the day. Since I did not look at my schedule I missed out on a VIP dinner. How uncharacteristic of me! Seems the people in the know were at the Baxter Hotel and I missed out! Arriving back at the theater I slip past the red carpet reception and straight into the theater. Guess I am not cut out to be a rock star. I can’t stand the smell of paparazzi!

After the films wrapped up for the evening we retired to Looie’s Down Under. I chatted with as many of the student directors as I could. Each had their own unique style and inspiration for their films. No matter where they hailed from each of these talented people had the drive and belief that their films would be seen and accepted. Creative ideas abound and it is up the individual to make those dreams become reality. We closed down the bar and I called it a day by simply walking across the street to my low rent accommodations.

Sunday was the final day of the festival and it would prove to be inspirational. Scoring my coffee and scone, I again walk down the street. I take note at the change in this little town. One major change is the retail therapy available. Boutique row in Bozeangeles is home to Harley Davidson, Helly Hansen, and Schnee’s, to name a few.

Again finding my favorite spot by the temporary heating system, I caught the first couple films. Okay. Since I had to get back to Billings for more work on the website with E-business Coach, I would be cutting out early. But not before seeing what was to be the film of the week for me" Ithuteng – "never stop learning" — a documentary film made by Charlie & Willie Ebersol and their friend Kip Kroeger.

This film follows the story of three students at this amazing school. The brutality of life in Soweto is well known. What is not as well known is what some amazing people are doing about it. Mama Jackey’s drive and unwavering commitment to this cause is a story of transformation and triumph. At the end of the film there was not a dry eye in the house. This film so moved Oprah Winfrey that she donated over million dollars to Mama Jackey’s School. A truly remarkable film about change and getting done with what you have.

Well I would be missing out on the screening of "The Westerner," starring Gary Cooper, the inspirational character for Hatchfest. And the Gary Cooper spirit of Montana Award would be presented later that evening to Johnny Depp. None other than Peter Fonda was presenting the award. Next year, I will stick around for the whole gig but the Oxx was calling and I had to go. Feeling totally rejuvenated, I piled my gear into the truck and headed east just ahead of another storm.

Cheers, Jim

For more information on the selected groundbreaking student films and student filmmakers mentioned in this article, visit www.hatchfest.com

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