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Boulder International Film Festival


by Jared Petsche

Boulder International Film Festival: Independent Filmmakers Perspective

It could be argued that Colorado is currently becoming the documentary capitol of the world. Film festival wins and Oscar nods are starting to spotlight Colorado as a creative mecca. From local documentarians to independent film makers, Colorado is building a name for itself through locally sustained productions.

This year Boulder International Film Festival kicked off its celebration with the documentary "Muscle Shoals," about a dinky recording studio in Alabama that produced some of the greatest musicians of our time. Greg Camalier, a Boulder resident, premiered the documentary at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year and includes interviews with Bono, Alicia Keys, Mick Jagger, and Keith Richards while highlighting the amazing history of the studio. Striking a similar chord, last week the Colorado Film Office incentivized "Caribou Records," a Randell Miller film set at another famous recording studio in Boulder County.

As the most educated and creative population ranked by Forbes Magazine, Boulder's International Film Festival featured a stellar line up of educational programming to match the outstanding films selected this year. The Digital Media Symposium was the most attended and the largest draw to the festival for all types of creatives. Oscar winning documentary filmmaker Louie Psihoyos of the "The Cove" was the keynote speaker and shared an interesting story about sailing and anchoring next to Stephen Spielberg. In a twist of irony Louie was told never to ever make a movie about boats or animals, an anecdote that tickled the crowd.

One of the most intriguing films at this festival, "No Place on Earth," is a compilation of documentary-style interviews and re-enactments which told the unbelievable story of a family that survived the Holocaust by living in one of the world's largest caverns in Ukraine. This salvation story was the recount of cave explorer Chris Nicola who discovered that humans had once taken refuge and, for a time, lived beneath the earth. Perplexed by what he had seen, Nicola goes out in search of the real story. This creative blend of storytelling with amazing visuals will leave you feeling a deep sense of community.

The closing night and end to the festivities included the original independent film maker Peter "Captain America" Fonda. From changing how the industry produces film, which helped fuel the New Hollywood phase of filmmaking, to creating an enduring counter cultural film, Fonda continues to shape culture by staying involved in social issues and activism which is very much in line with the majority of residents living in the 'Republic of Boulder'. His advice for upcoming independent filmmakers : "Beg, borrow and steal to finance a movie -- and to never give up. It takes all the heart you've got..."

A Native Coloradan, Jared Petsche has worked in the film/media industry, state government and with the surrounding Denver communities’ many non-profits. From PA work on films, commercials and music videos to producing and directing live television, Jared has run the creative gamut in production. He has a passion for anything creative and loves to share it with the world.