The WYO Film Festival was honored to screen these films as part of the programming for our festival in 2020. We're proud to consider these WYOFF alumni part of our festival family and continue to celebrate the projects that have made the WYO Film Festival what it is today.
Like many combat veterans, transitioning back to civilian life was very difficult for Jon Hancock. After years of struggling, he decided to take an epic journey across the country – on foot.
Walking nearly 6,000 miles alone, Jon confronts the demons that had overtaken his life. Visiting his fellow 2/4 Marines – known as the The Magnificent Bastards – and families of their fallen along the way, he finds a mission even bigger than his own redemption. Veterans everywhere are struggling with PTSD. They are taking their own lives at an alarming rate – 50% higher than non-veterans.
With remarkable honesty, insight and humor, Jon rediscovers the power of unbreakable bonds and learns he can change how he relates to his traumatic memories.
2020 / US / 98 Minutes
DIRECTOR/PRODUCER: Brian Morrison
SCREENPLAY: Mark Stafford
MUSIC COMPOSED BY: Jeremy Griffith
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Brian Morrison
“Big Fur” is a fun portrait of an eccentric artist-hero. World Champion taxidermist Ken Walker builds a life-sized Bigfoot, based on frames from an iconic 1967 movie, and unveils her at the World Taxidermy Championships.
While Ken would love to win Best in Show, his real hope is that putting “Patty” on display will prompt some hunter to open his freezer and pull out the proof Bigfoot is real. Instead, it’s Ken’s love life that gets thawed out.
Although true love proves illusory, Ken is still sure that any day Bigfoot’s existence will be confirmed. Until then, he’ll keep searching for both.
2019 / US / 76 Minutes
DIRECTOR: Dan Wayne
PRODUCERS: Dan Wayne, Jon Niccum
High above the sacred Navajo land of Monument Valley, two hot air balloons float, circling each other as if in a dance. One carries the German flag, the other that of the United States. A closer look reveals that the balloons are not only tethered together, but that a person is walking on this thin, connecting line.
This is the sight that the protagonist of the short film #BuildingBridges beholds, as he steps out of his humble Utah home and looks up at the sky. An old and lonely man, he finds his own courage through the actions of these strangers.
This balancing act in movie form by the young creative agency One Inch Dreams was commissioned by the German Embassy as a tribute to German-American friendship.
2019 / Germany / 4:44 Minutes
DIRECTOR: Johannes Olszewski
Told in the cinematic tradition of classic westerns, “COWBOYS – A Documentary Portrait” is a feature-length film that gives viewers the opportunity to ride alongside modern working cowboys on some of America’s largest and most remote cattle ranches. The movie documents the lives of the men and women working on these “big outfit” ranches – some of which are over one million acres – and still require full crews of horseback mounted workers to tend large herds of cattle.
Narrated through first-hand accounts from the cowboys themselves, the story is steeped in authenticity and explores the rewards and hardships of a celebrated but misunderstood way of life, including the challenges that lie ahead for the cowboys critical to providing the world’s supply of beef.
“COWBOYS” was filmed on eight of the nation’s largest cattle ranches across 10 states in the American West.
2019 / United States
DIRECTORS: Bud Force, John Langmore
PRODUCER: Jeffrey Brown
CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Felicitas Funke
EDITOR: Lucas Harger
Death in the Mountains
Legendary inksmith Ernest Hemingway first visited Sheridan County in 1928, seeking solitude and seclusion in his quest to complete what would become his masterpiece, A Farewell to Arms. Hemingway spent time writing – and fishing, drinking, dining and merrymaking – at Folly Ranch, Spear-O Wigwam, and the Historic Sheridan Inn. This short film from Sheridan County Travel & Tourism celebrates what Hemingway loved best about Wyoming, a place he called damn lovely country.
2020 / US
A 24-hour glimpse into an Equine Therapy Program where two Wyoming veterans turn to the healing power of horses to battle their PTSD. Allen and Sam find themselves on a path to self destruction. Sometimes the only one who hears our cry for help is the last one we expect to be listening.
2020 / US / 16:55 Minutes
DIRECTOR: Ted Schneider
WRITER: Sean Patrick Higgins
PRODUCERS: James Brown III, Sean Patrick Higgins
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Johnny Moreno
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Greg Harriott
EDITOR: Joe Stankus
COMPOSER: Nick Sumner
In a world of demons and ghosts, a lone samurai and his odd companion, a cursed severed head, seek vengeance. The Haunted Swordsman is a live action samurai tale that utilizes 36-inch-tall bunraku puppets, traditional in-camera effects and good old-fashioned smoke and mirrors trickery.
2019 / US / 16 Minutes
DIRECTOR: Kevin McTurk
A metal-loving motorhead finds himself in a tight spot.
2020 / US / 1:49 Minutes
DIRECTOR: Mike Overton
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Sam Robinson
WRITTEN BY: Zack Werb
Making Men examines the question of masculinity. This dance film zooms in on 4 individuals in the process of becoming men. As is expected, they proceed unquestioningly into manhood through various stages of their lives, adopting the clearly coded characteristics allowed by society.
However, a feeling of unease, in the very depths of their being, oppresses them. They feel uncertainty but also something else, harder to define…
Shot in the breathtaking landscape of Zimbabwe, the film features strong and rhythmical choreography but also a special camera work that intensifies emotions inspired by the movement.
2019 / Belgium / 10 Minutes
DIRECTOR: Antoine Panier
One Man’s Trash
After his father passed, Bennett uprooted his idyllic life as a fishing guide to try and get a “real” job in real estate. That plan flops and he spends the summer living on top of his 1990 Cadillac Deville in some of North Americas wealthiest summering locations like Martha’s Vineyard. Strapped for cash, Bennett picks up trash on the beaches to tie flies for fishing, and enters into a fishing tournament. The simple joys of life are exactly that: simple, and often free.
2020 / US / 8:19 Minutes
DIRECTOR: Oliver Sutro
A story about a dog, his human, and that jerk next door.
2018 / US / 2:21 Minutes / Short Film
DIRECTOR: Tyler Holme & Ben Fout
The Cinch is an eight-minute observational slice-of-life documentary film about growing up on a ranch, how that fits into today’s society, and how the lifestyle prepares young boys for life. The film is shot over the course of one year. We track our hero, Cinch, as he learns to mount a horse on his own. Mounting a horse ‘solo’ is a right of passage for a ranching family. For Cinch, it’s a lesson from his father that can be applied to many aspects of his life. This is a coming of age story in a small sliver of life that is often forgotten about in the rural midwest.
2020 / US / 8:23 Minutes
DIRECTOR: Ian McGee
The World is a Skatepark
The World is a Skatepark shares the work and stories of legendary skateboarding photographer J. Grant Brittain. In his 40-years as a photographer, he captured some of the most iconic images in skate history, documenting the rise of future pro skaters like Tony Hawk.
2019 / US / 13 Minutes
DIRECTOR: Bill Wisneski
Time & Tide
The beaches of Hartlepool, in the North East of England, are where seacoalers have worked and prospered for centuries. Steve and Keith are the last two seacoalers working today, and despite the government phasing out coal in under two years’ time, they remain proud of their craft and the life it has given them.
2019 / UK / 11:45 Minutes
DIRECTOR: Caleb Yule