World champion taxidermist Ken Walker has embarked on his defining project: either find a Bigfoot… or make one. The quirky film Big Fur, which documents Walker’s quest, will be presented in a special online screening by the Appalachian Theatre of the High Country. The film’s producer and director, Dan Wayne, will present a pre-recorded discussion following the screening. The public is invited to view these events online at 3 p.m. on Sunday, October 4, 2020.
Big Fur is the second event presented by BOONE DOCS, the newly-launched year-round film series at the App Theatre featuring documentary films that spark community conversation by presenting an independent lens to view our world. Showcasing emerging and award-winning filmmakers and distinct perspectives from across the globe, BOONE DOCS celebrates the creative power of independent film.
Called the “the Elvis Presley of taxidermy,” Walker’s work has been featured at the Smithsonian Museum and in National Geographic Magazine. He specializes in recreating extinct and endangered animals, but his pièce de résistance is a life-sized Bigfoot. Using the 1967 Patterson–Gimlin film of an alleged encounter with a female Bigfoot as a guide, Walker lovingly refers to his creation as “Patty.” The film follows Walker’s obsession from his meticulous research and construction to the unveiling of the finished piece at the 2015 World Taxidermy Championships. Receiving top recognition in an under-appreciated art form would be satisfying, but what Walker really wants is to prove the existence of the mysterious creature once and for all.
“I followed Ken for three years as he researched and built his amazingly life-like Bigfoot,” says the film’s director Wayne. “I learned more about taxidermy and Bigfoot than I ever expected. I camped and filmed in the remote wilderness where resource extraction is causing habitat fragmentation that threatens all wildlife – including Bigfoot, if he exists… If our landscape becomes so tamed that we can no longer even imagine that a wild hairy ape might exist in the forests, then we will have lost something more profound than Bigfoot.” Big Fur premieres in the High Country following highly-acclaimed screenings at the 2020 Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in Montana, the 2020 Slamdance Film Festival in Utah, and as an official selection at Mountain Film 2020 in Telluride, Colorado.
This BOONE DOCS event at the App Theatre is made possible through the Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers, a South Arts program. Since its inception in 1975, Southern Circuit has brought some of best independent filmmakers and their films from around the country to communities throughout the South. The program is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020-21 Southern Circuit season features a hybrid model of in-person and online screenings to prioritize the health and flexibility of Screening Partner venues and filmmakers.
Big Fur is offered free of charge to High Country audiences through the generous support of the theatre’s board of trustees and donors to the recent fundraiser, “Lights, Camera… AUCTION!” To subscribe to the theatre’s e-list and receive a link to view this event at no cost, visit the theatre’s website at www.apptheatre.org.