Sunday, February 28, 2016

It's Deja VW All Over Again

Four years ago, at the 2012 Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in Missoula, Montana, Damon Ristau showed as a work-in-progress his documentary The Bus. He would officially debut his ode to the VW camper two months later in Durham, North Carolina.

This weekend, it's time for a German engineering encore as Ristau will help close out this year's edition of the Big Sky event with the Sunday night premiere of The Bug. It is, indeed, a documentary all about the Volkswagen Bug, a franchise that benefited along the way from an amount equivalent to several vintage models raised on Kickstarter.

Local newspaper The Missoulian put The Bug on the front page of Friday's entertainment section. In addition to Jason Willenbrock, a fellow Missoula local (and co-owner of Posh Chocolat) who fixes Bugs in his spare time and purchases one in the film from a widow via Craigslist, the documentary spans far and wide:

Ristau recreates the story with ample footage dating back to the 1930s, along with interviews with experts and enthusiasts like Jason Torchinksy, a writer for the auto website Jalopnik; Tory Alonzo, a young Santa Monica collector and historian; Andrea Hiott, author of Thinking Small: The Long, Strange Trip of the Volkswagen Beetle; and actor Ewan McGregor, an avid fan.
Ristau traveled to Germany and also made stops in California and Mexico City.

As one commenter on The Bug's Facebook page reminds, a lot of VW Bug and Bus owners have given the vehicles names, like pets. In Royce Engle's case, two of the three Bugs he owned were Beulah and Beatrice, while a camper was christened Boris.

So it seems only fitting that tonight's Big Sky screening will unfold at a venue that perfectly fits that owner practice – the Wilma. In fact, the Wilma Theatre dates back even further than the oldest footage featured in Ristau's new documentary. It opened in 1921 during the glory days of Vaudeville.

No comments:

Post a Comment