Cabin fever got you down? If it’s too cold or too windy to fish, there’s another way to beat the winter blues.
If you can’t get on the water, then the next best thing to do is to watch fishing.
The solution: Say hello to the Fly Fishing Film Tour, a series of fly-fishing films that’s sure to quench your thirst to throw a tight loop.
The Film Tour usually gets cranked up in early winter and continues into the spring with stops throughout the continental United States.
To find out more about the FFT, TFO blog editor Mike Hodge chatted with Doug Powell, the FFT’s general manager. Below is an excerpt of the interview:
TFO: When does the Film Tour get cranked up? When does it end?
DP: “There’s a definitive starting point. Then there’s a loose end point. We generally start in late January. The last couple years we’ve been in Bozeman for our premiere. We pretty much end our tour in late April. By then, ninety to ninety-five percent of our shows are done. There are a few stragglers after that.
“We have two types of shows. We have what we call our primary film tour, which are the shows we put on ourselves with our road crew, where we book the venue, we book the promotion, control everything inside the theater and book the show. Those are about 50 cities that we do, which tend to be the Bozeman’s the Missoula’s, Seattle, Portland, Denver. There are the big cities across the country we do; then we have what are our affiliate shows — same films, same posters — for the consumer, but those are put by the local TU chapters, or a fly shop or a Project Healing Waters. Brevard, N.C. might not be one where we’re going to be, but a local fly shop might put it on. To the consumer, it’s the same set of films; it’s just who controls the promotion.”
TFO: With a primary showing (that FFT puts on), how many of you go to the event? How much work is involved in terms of getting everything together?
DP: “We’re traveling the country with two road crews. These are truly just temporarily out-of-work fishing guides. It’s the winter. Three of them guide in Alaska. One guides in Montana. They basically travel across the country. They’re driving two trucks, one towing our drift boat with a cargo trailer with all our gear. They’re fishing between the stops. They’re living the dream, trust me. Right now, they’re fishing for steelhead up in Washington. Later this week, they’ll be in Boise for trout. In a couple weeks, they’ll be in the Midwest.
“What it takes to put on a show. One is a projectionist. We have two dedicated to the sponsors. They’re in the lobby with our Costa, Yeti, Simms booths talking to people about gear. We have all of gear on display to chat up with folks and ambassadors of those brands. Then we have another person who takes care of everything else, taking tickets at the door, greeting people, handling the stage, running the thing from a making-it-happen stand point.”
TFO: Who came up with the idea of the Film Tour and how did it go from being an idea to a reality?
DP: “I would give full credit to the Angling Exploration Group, AEG, back in 2007. There was a group of people out there making really cool fishing films, but there was no way to see them. In 2007, the internet was still relatively new. It wasn’t like there was a YouTube to watch these things. There were VHS tapes and DVDs. The AEG guys decided in 2007 to do a film tour, so they took it around to fly shops and bars and showcased it. It was an amazing idea. We were helping those guys, and then in 2009, we bought the company and took it to where it is now, but they deserve all the credit for starting it.”
TFO: Why do you think it’s become so popular?
DP: “It was bound to. The sport was growing. As you know with the sport, it lends itself well to the big screen. Beautiful locations. One thing with fly fishing is it lends itself to some interesting characters. Then you have to give credit to the film makers who did a great job of showcasing those locations and people. Then when you see it on the big screen, it reminds you how entertaining it is. I think the sport is really growing. It’s kind of the perfect storm.”
TFO: Have the quality of the films improved since you’ve been involved with the tour?
DP: “For sure. The technology has improved. When we first started, there was no such thing as HD. There wasn’t Go Pros. The technology is certainly better for the film makers to get better. The technology is better. The film makers are better. Their budgets are probably better. One thing that’s always been the same: The sense of adventure has always been there. The fun was always there. The gathering of people in each community was always there. All those things were in place from the beginning.”
TFO: Tell me how the submissions work?
DP: “This year I think we got forty. Then we have to go through them. It’s really not fun. It’s fun to watch the footage. It’s not fun to make the decisions. You have the Rubik’s Cube of trying to give everyone something, going across the country in 170 cities and showing 10 trout films. You need some saltwater. You need some Midwest stuff. You need steelhead. You need some exotic stuff. Sometimes it’s hard. We’ll get three films on the Seychelles. We can only take one and they’re all amazing. It’s no fun at times, to make those selections, but usually the cream rises to the top.”
TFO: So ballpark, how many submissions do you get and how many make the cut?
DP: “I’d say 30, 40. This year we have nine films. Usually it’s eight to 10 (that make the tour). Basically, we’re working with two hours to fill (every show).”
TFO: Is there any way to give the viewer an idea of the work it takes to put together a film?
DP: “It really varies. They all take a ton of work and all of these film makers do so out of passion. No one makes fly-fishing films to get rich. They’re doing out of love, out of passion. The work in the field is insane; it’s dawn to dusk. We had one film this year and I think they had 58 hours of footage to make a 12-minute film. Other film makers, they’ll spend two years making a film with travel and research. … Then there’s editing securing sponsorship, music rights. That could take a couple months.”
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