Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Films on the fly

Silver Creek film fest features new genre of adventure films

Express Staff Writer

Fly-fishing films are a new genre of adventure documentary filmmaking.

The genre of adventure documentary filmmaking is growing beyond its typical subjects of extreme skiing and expanding into the world of fly fishing. The second annual Silver Creek Outfitters Fly Fishing Film Festival on Thursday, June 21, at the nexStage Theatre in Ketchum will present some of the most cutting-edge fly-fishing films making a splash in the sport of fishing today.

"It is a new genre of video that started coming out three or four years ago that resemble the ski movie industry in its infancy," said Dave James, an employee at Silver Creek Outfitters. "Last year the festival had a full house and the breadth of the audience was really surprising."

The festival will showcase fly-fishing films from the Baja Peninsula, Mexico, the Caribbean and Alaska, hoping to interest anglers in fishing beyond the trout streams of the Wood River Valley.

"I do see it growing," James said. "It has become a large part of the fly-fishing industry. I'm seeing better films coming out raising the bar every year."

"Location X," a film by Jamie Howard, was shot in an undisclosed fishing area in order to protect the fishing and the location.

"The idea was to give a big cinematic feel to fishing films, which they have never had," Howard said. "It's my passion, but I think it is something I felt compelled to do. As fishermen, we felt something was missing from this visceral experience."

A former commercial director and producer in New York City, Howard created HowardFilms specializing in angling adventure films. He has produced and financed several of his films, including an award-winning mini-series, "Chasing Silver," on tarpon fishing.

"Compared to NASCAR or the NFL, you are still talking about a niche," Howard said. "How do you make it worthwhile? I sell DVDs as well."

Howard has only been making fly-fishing films, but plans to do make other types of fishing films. He wants to change the paradigm of fishing films and give people higher expectations of watching angling documentaries.

"You have to believe in filmmaking," Howard said. "I have a lot of armchair fishermen in the audience."

Howard will not make freshwater fishing films because he believes once those locations have been exposed, they will be tough to keep safe.

"As long as I stay in salt water, it will be okay," Howard said. "When you expose these locations you are theoretically protecting the area. Salt water can withstand it. When you have created the film, the film can be ambassadors for fishing."

The festival will donate all proceeds to the Nature Conservancy's Silver Creek Preserve. Tickets are $12 and seating is limited. For more details, call 726-5282.

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