If you go
What: Documentary double-feature, “Gee Whiz: The Apples of Grady Auvil” and “Tom Mathison: The Growing Season”
Where: Pybus Public Market
When: 7-8:30 p.m. Wednesday
Sometimes the best way to tell a story is to make it shorter. Filmmakers Jeff Ostenson and Jamie Howell are re-releasing shorter, snappier versions of two documentaries about agricultural legends Grady Auvil and Tom Mathison Wednesday at Pybus Public Market.
When Howell at the Moon, originally released “Gee Whiz: The Story of Grady Auvil” in 2009, the film was about an hour long. The new release is about half that, with new narration and animated graphics. The documentary follows the discoveries of Grady Auvil, a pioneering orchardist who brought the Granny Smith apple, Rainier cherry and Fuji apple into mainstream production.
“The idea from the beginning has been to create easily accessible biographies of the people who helped give North Central Washington its identity,” Howell said.
Specifically, he wanted to make it more accessible for schools to build into their curriculum. For both films, the crew worked with experts from the Richland School District to create lesson plans aligned to the new common core standards for high school, grades 9-12. Stemilt Fruit and Auvil Fruit Co. will provide free DVDs and teachers guides for local schools.
The second documentary, “The Growing Season” is also a half-hour long. Howell at the Moon screened it earlier this year for employees. The new version includes Spanish subtitles. The film tells the story of Tom Mathison, a hard-working family man who created one of the biggest tree-fruit companies in the world.
Howell at the Moon produced both films as nonprofit projects through the Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center. The films’ budgets were funded by grants, private donations, pre-sales of the DVD and Howell at the Moon.
“Getting the movie out there is half the project,” Howell said. “We’re thrilled to finally have both of these movies completely finished.”
Howell at the Moon is looking for a distributor to make the films more widely available. In the meantime, the DVDs will be for sale at the screening, at Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center and online at howellatthemoon.com.