Not Your Typical Bigfoot Movie provides a look at the trials and triumphs of life in the Appalachian foot hills. Through the experience of Dallas and Wayne, two amateur Bigfoot researchers in southern Ohio, we see how the power of a dream can bring two men together in friendship and provide hope and meaning that transcend the harsh realities in a dying steel town. -- from the official website
I got an email from my cousin Shane yesterday with a link to his new movie. Shane (who is my first cousin once removed or commonly referred to as a second cousin) is a tortured artist and cinematographer. We usually spend at least a few minutes chatting about our similar interests at most every family gathering. So this past Strickland family reunion at the governor's residence he told me that his film had been accepted to the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin. I don't think the news was common knowledge so I kept it under my hat until I got this email. To give you an idea of the stature of SXSW, the new Harold and Kumar movie will premiere at the festival.
On the surface the film is a
documentary about two Bigfoot researchers, Dallas and Wayne, and
their struggles to get their material reviewed. In reality the film
is about the indestructible Appalachian spirit. It also looks to be
a cry for assistance on behalf of our beloved Scioto County.
Anyone familiar with the Jesco White documentaries may be a bit concerned that this is just another exploitation doc but I am certain that this is not the case. Shane and his friends have worked with a number of non-profit organizations in our region. Habitat for Humanity is among the better known. The crew is from the Lucasville-Otway areas of Scioto County which gives them extreme hillbilly credibility. There may be areas of Appalachian Ohio that are closer to the center of the region but there can be no areas that are closer in spirit.
The ethics of this type of documentary also depends not just on how the subjects are depicted in the film but how they are treated afterwards. The fact that a bunch of folks had to have a fund raiser to buy cord wood for Jesse White while his documentaries were being sold by a commercial distributor is proof in my mind that ethics were breeched.
This documentary offers Dallas and Wayne a chance to reach their primary goal of having the mainstream media pay attention to their “research” which is more than I think this pair of buddies had ever hoped for. Knowing Shane as I do and my conversations with Jay cause me to believe that this film is more similar to Country Boy in its treatment of its subjects. I have witnessed the better angels of our nature with David Sutherland's Country Boys and the power of these small films to draw attention to the real Appalachia.
This film is all the more poignant for me as this is about my Appalachia.
edited 2-22-08 7:10PM