‘Best Driver in the County’ takes top honor at Tumbleweed Film Fest

Film goers watch the short film Merry Xmas starring Dick Van Dyke and Valerie Harper at Vicki’s Back Door Club. The film took runner up. for audience favorite. Gary De Von/staff photos

Film goers watch the short film Merry Xmas starring Dick Van Dyke and Valerie Harper at Vicki’s Back Door Club. The film took runner up. for audience favorite. Gary De Von/staff photos

OROVILLE – Best Driver in the County, directed by Marcus McCollum of Spokane, was the winner of the Best of the Festival at this year’s Tumbleweed Film Fest.

The short film, which was shot by Doug Host Hostetter, also had a local connection in Brendan Biele, who arranged the music. Biele is a graduate of Oroville High School, working in the music field in Spokane.

Film goers at Alpine Brewery.

Film goers at Alpine Brewery.

McCollum was one of three directors who made the trip to Oroville to discuss their work. Also coming to Oroville were Ryan Moody who directed Obituaries, starring James Franco and Amy Vallat, who directed her father, who has Parkinsons Disease, in the loving documentary, Personal Development.

The Tumbleweed screened 39 short films from around the world – Kenya, Argentina, Ireland, Germany, Latvia, Columbia, United States, Belgium, Australia and Russia. More than 300 people attended over the three nights, with many coming from west of the Cascades, as well as British Columbia and Los Angeles.

Festival Co-founders Geoff Klein and Mo Fine warm up the audience at Alpine Brewery

Festival Co-founders Geoff Klein and Mo Fine warm up the audience at Alpine Brewery.

The audience favorite at Family Night at the OHS Commons was Pik Pik Pik from Russia. The kids were really laughing it up. They also liked Bunny New Girl and Hedgehogs in the City. For Vicki’s Backdoor Club, which showed their films after a special opening event at the Pastime Bar & Grill, it was Lila from Argentina, with Merry X-mas and Go Daan Go, taking second and third in the voting. At Alpine Brewery it was Rhino Full Throttle, from Germany, followed by Walls and Treat. At Esther Bricques Winery it was The Best Driver in the County followed by Personal Development, directed by Amie Vallet and starring her father, and Best Man Wins.

“It’s been an incredible experience watching Tumbleweed grow over years,” said Maureen Fine, festival co-founder. “We love our loyal audience, who remind us why we put the festival on every year.”

She added, “For us it is about sharing great stories that enrich our lives and would otherwise be unheard. The awesome films, the unique venues, the community and the beautiful scenery all  come together to make Tumbleweed a truly unique event for anyone who attends.”

Fellow festival co-founder Geoff Klien added, “We really appreciate the support from people within the community and local businesses for helping to put this event together. We hope that we can continue to find members in the community who are interested in helping to grow the festival and make it a vibrant event for people within the area, as well as an event for people outside the area to discover what a beautiful place the Okanogan area is.”

Three directors, the subject of one of the documentaries and the music arranger of another answer questions about their experience making films.

Three directors, the subject of one of the documentaries and the music arranger (Oroville’s own Brendan Biele) of another answer questions about their experience making films.

Among the activities was the first Tumbleweed River Float from Oroville’s Veterans Memorial Park to the Cherry Street bridge. Two of the film makers and others involved in the industry took part in the float and expressed their enjoyment of the festival and the area in general.

“The filmmakers who visit the Okanogan always talk about how great a place it is out here and what a good time they have. They all want to come back here with another film the next year!” said Klein.

Klein and Fine offered their thanks to for the local support from the community including Kinross, Hometown Pizza, Reman and Reload, Vickie and Brant Hinze, the Okanogan Gazette Tribune, Landrace Farms, the Camaray Motel and the Oroville Chamber of Commerce

“Special thanks to Sandy Lorentzen for her tireless support in helping Tumbleweed secure grants like the Washington State Arts commission and the National Endowment of the Arts,” said the festival’s founders. “Thanks to the Venues – Alpine, Esther bricques, Vicki’s Backdoor, Esther Bricques and the Oroville High School.”

The festival is funded, in part, by the Washington State Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts.

 

About Gary DeVon

Gary DeVon is the managing editor of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune and celebrated his 25th year at the newspaper in August 2012. He graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Communications - Print Journalism, with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a proud alumnus of Oroville High School. His family first settled in Okanogan County in the late 1800s. His parents are Judy DeVon and the late Larry DeVon and he has two younger brothers - Dante and Michael. Many family members still call Oroville home. He has a grown daughter, Segornae Douglas and a young granddaughter, Erin.