Films capitalizing on their Colorado connection |

Films capitalizing on their Colorado connection

Charlie Owen
Vail CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily

VAIL, Colorado ” Next time you think of Colorado, put away the images of majestic mountains and world-class ski resorts. For a moment, forget about the gorgeous wildlife and rivers overflowing with trout. It’s time to start looking at this beautiful state through the lens of a video-camera.

Tom Parkin is a resident of Boulder. He is also the director of photography and one of the producers of “Broken Fences,” a feature film in the 2008 Vail Film Festival.

“Broken Fences,” the story of an old rancher who must deal with his son’s criminal past, was shot on location in Fairplay, Gold Hill and Boulder, Colorado. According to Parkin, most of the cast and crew of the film are either from Colorado or live here, further entrenching it into the state’s cinematic history.

“It was pretty much an all Colorado-type movie,” Parkin said.

Because of Parkin’s and writer Troy McGatlin’s familiarity with the state, they were able to maneuver the logistics of getting clearance to shoot in certain areas, scouting locations and casting. McGatlin’s father owns the ranch that much of the movie was shot on making things that much easier for the filmmakers.

Still, Parkin’s film almost didn’t make it onto the festival roster this year, but thanks to another film dropping out, a slot for “Broken Fences” became available. Ironically, probably no other film at this year’s festival seems more fitting to be screened here than “Broken Fences.”

“This worked out pretty well, we were really thrilled with it, I mean it’s just … it’s a good flick,” Parkin said.

Many of this year’s festival entries have ties to the Centennial state. Does that mean that there is favoritism shown behind the scenes to native filmmakers or movies shot in Colorado?

“I think it’s more a matter of coincidence,” said Sean Cross, the Vail Film Festival director.

With so many movie submissions, some of them are bound to have at least a vague affiliation to our mountainous state. Cross said that there is a slight discount given to Coloradan filmmakers, but their films still have to make the cut.

“They have to compete with everyone else in the same way,” Cross said.

Of the 80-plus movies being screened this year, only 11 have connections to Colorado. Still, that’s a pretty significant number given the very large number of submissions. “Up With Me,” “Looking Up Dresses,” and “Sliding Liberia” all have some association with Colorado.

Some have very vague attachment to say the least.

“Summerhood” is a very funny and enjoyable coming-of-age tale written by and starring Vancouver resident Jacob Medjuck. He said that the only major relationship he has with Colorado is that half of his family is from Denver ” that’s gotta count for something, right? Although Medjuck said that he visits the state quite often, he doesn’t live here and none of “Summerhood” was shot within its borders. That doesn’t stop him from recalling some fond memories of his time here.

“The first NFL game I ever saw was at the Mile High Stadium … we were at the nose-bleeds,” Medjuck said.

His limited partnership with Colorado might be enough to influence many more people to see his film though. Word of mouth, especially through locals, can carry some hefty weight.

“I don’t know what the criteria was, why they picked us, but I can tell you that it’s a thrill that we’re among so few selected,” Medjuck.

Unlike Medjuck, however, short-filmmaker Timothy Anderson was born in Denver and grew up near Morrison.

Anderson got his start in filmmaking during high school when he would make sketch comedy shorts to air on the school’s TV system.

His latest project is titled “At The Surface,” a film about what happens when a family’s buried past comes back to haunt them. With four hours of sleep under their belt, the cast and crew shot the film on Lake Mead in Nevada on a shoestring budget in three days. Sounds exhausting, but Anderson said that as a labor of love the sacrifices were worth it. His goal is to raise enough money from his short films to start shooting features. But for now, filming short flicks is Anderson’s passion.

“I take it really seriously when I do it because it’s essentially an investment in myself,” Anderson said.

High Life writer Charlie Owen can be reached at 748-2939 or

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