Thursday, February 11, 2016

Army Veteran's Western Series Stars Dad

The Big Muddy was supposed to be just ten minutes long. Then it mushroomed to 20 and now, two years later, is being turned into a feature-length series six times that length.

U.S. Army vet Chris Hoffert, back home and based in Montana, is currently earning an online degree in film from San Francisco's Academy of Art. It was for school that he started The Big Muddy and then, got a little carried away.

One of the most intriguing aspects of "Sins of the Past," which won an award last fall at the Magic City Shorts film festival in Billings, is that it features a heavy assist from the filmmaker's dad. Martin Hoffert co-wrote the script, stars in the lead role of William and allowed son Chris to make use of his guns. From a recent report in the Helena Independent Record:

"My dad has always been a simple, cowboy type,” Hoffert said. "He acted in local theater and had the opportunity to keep acting, but he turned it down to be a farmer."
Martin and Chris collaborated on the script using bits of Montana history with the fictional characters they created. The name of the film series comes from Big Muddy Creek, which flows out of Canada through the Big Muddy Badlands in northern Montana.
"The Big Muddy Basin in the 1870s to 1890s was a hot spot for criminal activity. As I was reading through Montana history, I discovered that Kid Curry and the Wild Bunch came out of these places. There was no law there,” Hoffert said.

The character played by Martin, like the one Clint Eastwood essayed in Unforgiven, is a former gunslinger trying to leave behind a violent past. Hoffert, who served in the Army for 11 years and is still part of the National Guard, made use of the ghost town of Bannack near Dillon for the first episode. He hopes to have the full series of shorts completed by this fall.

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