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Auvil, Mathison documentaries reveal greatness of NCW entrepreneurs

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There's going to be quite a party at Pybus Public Market Wednesday evening when two short documentaries highlighting the achievements and influence of fruit industry giants Tom Mathison and Grady Auvil will be shown free to the public. Filmmakers Jamie Howell and Jeff Ostenson will be on hand to answer questions after the documentaries.  

Howell stopped by the office on Friday chat about the event and what he has learned from the experience. The genesis of the Auvil documentary goes back in 2004, so it has taken nearly nine years to bring that one to completion and Howell acknowledges that doesn't put him in the category of the world's fastest documentary maker. It was worth spending the time to do the job right, he said.    

One of the things he found astonishing was how little is known about what Mathison and Auvil accomplished, even in the fruit industry. He was talking to  a member of a fruit-growing family in the Yakima Valley recently about the documentary who admitted she had no idea of Auvil's role in introducing the Granny Smith apple to this country. That's amazing.  

"These were men who persisted through failure, through doubt, through decades of difficulty," Howell wrote in an email to me about the experience of making the films. They were "men for whom their own vision was all the motivation they needed to keep after their goals," he added.  

These documentaries, which are intended to be the first of a "Community Heritage Documentary Series," remind us of the power of ideas and the individuals who have made North Central Washington what it is today. The fiscal sponsor for the series is the Wenatchee Valley Museum and Cultural Center.  

Thanks to the Auvil and Mathison families, the 30-minute documentaries will be made available free of charge to schools and libraries throughout North Central Washington. Copies of the film will be available for sale at the event. The market is a perfect venue for this event, since Auvil was one of philanthropist Mike Walker's mentors.

Individual achievement is a wonderful thing to be recognized, but the sense of giving back to the community in a meaningful way transformed the Auvil and Mathison successes into a legacy that we will remember for generations.