You can imagine my surprise when a local gallery owner friend of mine made the apocryphal claim that there are no working filmmakers in town.
My immediate impulse was to remind her that she was talking to one. Then I remembered that, as the IRS hasn’t categorized me as such in some time, I should keep my now fair-weather avocation to myself.
Were she not the busiest of Boulderites, Paula DuPré Pesman would have been my first expert witness. DuPré Pesman and her husband moved here 17 years ago, looking for a place where they could leave their bikes outside without fear of theft and where they could raise their children.
DuPré Pesman also needed an international airport nearby. You would too if you were producing such films as “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “Rent” and the first three “Harry Potter” installments.
“I think there’s a wonderful film community here,” says DuPré Pesman. “There are some real treasures in our talent pool, and we’re all very collaborative.”
DuPré Pesman continues to engage herself in the active local filmmaking community, having produced “The Cove,” which was directed by another local, Louie Psihoyos. The film also won Best Documentary Feature at that Academy Awards thing in 2010.
“It’s important to be surrounded by talented people,” agrees Psihoyos, who is in post-production on his next film. “In Boulder, it might not be a deep vein of talent, but it’s truly rich.”
As with many filmmakers in town, Psihoyos says he owes a lot of his success to local media lab GW Hannaway & Associates, which has been providing equipment, education and post-production services for more than 30 years.
“I don’t think there’s any question that a film community exists in town,” says owner Wyndham Hannaway. “Boulder represents such a wide spectrum of sensibilities.”
Animation specialist Patrick Mallek of Mighty Fudge Studios — with an office right on Pearl Street — would concur. Having started his company here in 1999, the Detroit transplant is electrified by the growth of the area film community that he’s witnessed.
“Boulder could be a destination for filmmakers if the community continues to embrace us,” said Mallek who points to the annual exponential success of BIFF as fostering said community. “When BIFF first started, we weren’t sure if there would be another one the following year. Now they sell out every show at every venue.”
“Boulder is a great place to live and a great place to make documentaries,” says Jerry Aronson. Potentially the best-known filmmaker in town, Aronson was a CU film professor from 1974 to 2008 and still makes movies today. It was Aronson who helped bring James Franco to BIFF this year, and his “The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg” is regularly shown across the globe.
He’s also co-producing “Chasing Ice,” a documentary that is produced by none other than DuPré Pesman.
“Hopefully,” says DuPré Pesman, “there will be some positive change affected by Boulder filmmakers. That’s the intention of most of us working here today.”