Mountain Film Grant: "Mending The Line"
“Mending the Lines” screens Saturday, May 24, 3:15 p.m., Sheridan Opera House, and Monday, May 26, 9:15 a.m. at the Palm
When the founder of Uncage the Soul Productions, John Waller traveled to the Umpqua River 2 years ago to shoot footage for a piece for the show Travel Oregon, he wasn’t looking for a documentary film. But when he met 91-year old World War II veteran Frank Moore, owner of the legendary fly-fishing resort, the Steamboat Inn, the story and idea for Mending the Line rose up like a trout out of the Umpqua. Waller asked Moore what he hadn’t done yet done but would still like to. Moore’s reponse? Return to Normandy and fish the rivers he’d last seen as a 21-year old soldier.
Waller returned to the office but found he couldn’t get Frank Moore and his dream out of his head. He set about trying to get funding for the film from a few major donors but couldn’t gain any traction. He finally put the film project on Indiegogo, a crowd sourcing site, and the response was unprecedented. Within a few short weeks, he raised close to $50,000. Along the way, he picked up major donors like American Airlines, who provided all of the flights to Normandy and Patagonia, who provided much of the fly-fishing gear. He also received a commitment grant from Mountainfilm, who believed in Mending the Line’s unique story line and wanted to see the film produced.
Waller said the most amazing thing about filming Mending the Line was the way in which the story continued to evolve and gain new layers. He originally thought the story was just going to be about Frank, his return to France, and fishing. But because Frank and his wife Jeanne have been together for close to 70 years, the film is also about the way their love endured the war and the test of time.
“In a lot of ways the story is more about their love than it is about fishing and World War II,” Waller said.
Frank Moore, too, Waller said, was a profound presence to be around during the project:
“Frank has this way of connecting with someone that makes that person feel like the most important person in the world,” Waller said, explaining how Moore inspired him and continues to inspire him to be completely present in every interaction he has. “Spending time with Frank and Jeanne made me realize that they are really living that motto of making every second count.”
Waller can’t believe his good fortune of being able to have a world premier for his film at Mountainfilm:
“I’ve experienced the magic of Mountainfilm and know what a wonderful community assembles in Telluride,” Waller said, explaining how from the project’s inception, his dream has been for Mending the Line to open there. The theme of festival—celebrating the indomitable spirit—is identical to Frank’s and to the message of this film. “It’s the perfect place and the perfect time over Memorial Day weekend to unveil this film to a crowd that will probably appreciate it more than any other.”
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