Hunting Bigfoot Opens at the North Bend Theatre

When filmmaker Taylor Guterson initially contemplated his fourth feature film he knew two things “I wanted to film predominantly outdoors in North Bend & Snoqualmie and John Green was going to star in it.”

A resident of Snoqualmie, 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 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 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.

The film’s unique distribution strategy initially focuses on a region by region national theatrical rollout partnering primarily with owner-operated independent theatres.  The marketing campaign uses high visibility messaging that spreads the word with tastefully irreverent humor.  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 financial terms and not having to compete with folks being able to stream the same film at home are both very helpful” says Beth Burrows, owner operator of the North Bend Theatre.  She also notes an additional benefit “Their willingness to ask for our input on the best ways to reach our audience and really listen to our advice is a breath of fresh air.”

According to Kelly Coughlin, Executive Director of the Snoqualmie Valley Chamber of Commerce, “Our members are happy to help spread the word because they know a film drawing large audiences at a local theatre means more business for coffee shops, bars, and restaurants, before and after each screening. “

On Bainbridge Island the film’s Friday, August 13 opening will be preceded by a special benefit screening on Thursday, August 12 which will kick off a campaign spearheaded by the local Chamber of Commerce to support the historic Lynwood theatre. 

Guterson is especially gratified to have Hunting Bigfoot make its debut at the North Bend Theatre because “the entire community really took this project under its wing and was incredibly supportive.” Guterson points out “the majority of those appearing in the film are local residents” and concludes “I don’t think this project could have come together the way it did anywhere else.”

Local entrepreneur Ben Cockman is one of those local residents who appears in the film, in his case with a major supporting role.  His explanation for the way the community rallied around the project is simple, and echoes Guterson’s original motivation for wanting to shoot in the area “the movie features this beautiful place where we all live and that we love.  That’s what makes it special.”

Hunting Bigfoot opens Friday, August 6, at the North Bend Theatre, located at 125 Bendigo Blvd. North, in beautiful downtown North Bend.  For showtime and ticket information visit NorthBendTheatre.com or call 425.888.1232.

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