Did he really see it… or was it only in his mind? Directed by Bainbridge’s own Taylor Guterson, and starring Islander John Green, the documentary-style film Hunting Bigfoot opens at the Lynwood Theatre on Friday August 13.
Tickets also go on sale tomorrow (Wednesday August 4th) for a special VIP Screening at 7:15pm on Thursday August 12 which kickstarts a new fundraising campaign to help Far Away Entertainment renovate the island’s beloved Lynwood Theatre.
This one-off event features a pre-show reception, post-show Q&A with the film’s stars and director, plus exclusive swag for patrons, with proceeds going to the Lynwood itself.
$25 (Screening + Q&A)
$50 (Reception + Screening/Q&A)
$100 (Reception/Screening/Q&A + exclusive signed swag)
When Hunting Bigfoot opens to the public at the Lynwood on Friday August 13, ticket prices will revert back to the standard $12.50, and with 50% of that price going to the Lynwood).
Banners advertising the film have been hung up and down Winslow Way, and posters are popping up around the island… so what is Hunting Bigfoot all about?
Of Mythical Creatures & Island Residents
When filmmaker Taylor Guterson (Old Goats, Burkholder) initially contemplated his fourth feature film he knew two things “I wanted to film predominantly outdoors in the Northwest and John Green was going to star in it.”
A Northwest native who grew up on Bainbridge Island, Guterson loves the outdoors and realized “the natural beauty of this region would give a movie a visual appeal and production value well beyond anything money could buy.” Guterson had worked with Green – a current Bainbridge Island resident – before, having cast him in a small role in a previous film in which Green made a definite impression, “After the first take of the first scene John was in, I knew this was someone I could build a feature film around” Guterson recalls.
The film which ultimately emerged, Hunting Bigfoot, is a compelling drama (which includes a healthy dose of humor) about a man obsessed by an all-consuming quest to verify the existence of a Sasquatch he claims to have witnessed. The film introduces the audience to the Bigfoot subculture, featuring interviews with people recounting their Bigfoot encounters and appearances by recognized Bigfoot authorities.
But, as Green observes, “the film is about a lot more than Bigfoot. It’s about a human being searching for meaning in his life. That’s what gives it a universal appeal.”
Hunting Bigfoot is being released by Xenon Pictures. Leigh Savidge, Xenon CEO and an Academy Award nominee for his screenwriting work on Straight Outta’ Compton, is one of the film’s Executive Producers, as is Tom Gorai, whose producing credits include Outsourced, Nostalgia, and Arlington Road.
Film’s Unique distribution strategy focuses on partnerships with independent theatres and local communities
The film’s unique distribution strategy initially focuses on a region by region national theatrical rollout partnering primarily with owner-operated independent theatres. The strategy also includes working with local Chambers of Commerce to encourage local business communities to engage in network marketing and related activities in support of the film.
In addition to providing independent theatres a film which is not simultaneously available for streaming at home, a rarity in the current environment, Hunting Bigfoot offers significantly better financial terms than independent theatres typically receive. “When we say we want to partner with independent theatres in presenting this film we mean it” says Savidge. “We want them to be engaged and be able to really benefit from its success.”
For independent theatres coming off a year plus of Covid-19 restrictions this distribution approach holds a lot of appeal: “The increased share of the box office and being able to show a film folks aren’t able to stream at home makes a huge difference.” says Jeff Brein, owner/operator of Far and Away Entertainment, the parent company of the Lynwood theatre where Hunting Bigfoot opens on Friday, August 13. Beyond those factors “the commitment to local outreach and grass-roots marketing is a really effective way to make people aware of the film,” says Brein.
Director Taylor Guterson will attend both the August 12 & 13 Screenings
Hunting Bigfoot’s official Bainbridge Island opening on Friday, August 13 will be preceded by a special screening on Thursday, August 12 benefitting the historic Lynwood Theatre.
Complete with pre-screening reception at the Marketplace at Pleasant Beach and post-screening Q&A with writer/director Taylor Guterson, the screening will launch a fundraising campaign by Far Away Entertainment in support of the Lynwood and Bainbridge Cinemas.
The fundraising campaign is fully backed and strongly supported by the Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce. “The Lynwood and its family of local cinemas are community treasures that we simply cannot afford to lose” says Bainbridge Chamber President Stefan Goldby.
On partnering with Hunting Bigfoot, Goldby observes “We love that supporting independent theaters is built into this film’s innovative marketing plan.” That plan, along with the film’s strong Pacific Northwest and Island connections, “made it the perfect kickoff event of a local campaign to save our screens.”
The fundraising campaign for Far Away Entertainment, a locally-owned collection of eight small town community movie theaters whose partners believe in bringing the silver screen to small Western Washington towns where the “big guys” don’t exist, also enjoys the support of Arts and Humanities Bainbridge and the Bainbridge Island Downtown Association.
“I have great memories of watching films at the Lynwood as a kid” says Guterson “so it’s really special to have Hunting Bigfoot play a role in supporting the theatre.” The connection Guterson feels to theatres like the Lynwood goes beyond nostalgia, “There’s nothing more instructive for a filmmaker than to see their work in front of a live audience” he observes, “They will immediately let you know what works and what doesn’t, and in either case, the energy and engagement are amazing.” Ultimately, “It’s the way movies were meant to be seen.”