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USA, 2008, 62 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Documentary, Social Issues
Program: Documentary FilmsLanguage: English
DIRECTOR: Jay Delaney
Producer: (executive) Jeff Montavon, Jay DelaneyEditor: Jay DelaneyCinematographer: Shane Allen Davis
Dallas Gilbert and Wayne Burton are not your typical natural scientists. Wayne is a sometime car wash attendant, Dallas a retiree who occasionally practices Reiki; neither makes much of a living in the dying steel mill town of Portsmouth, Ohio. After years of roaming the woods beyond city limits, Dallas and Wayne have accumulated hundreds of photos and a vast video library that they claim depicts the world’s most elusive creature. Naturally these two old friends hope that the hard-won fruits of their research will be a boon to science, proving Bigfoot’s existence once and for all—but they also dream about the fame and fortune that just might extricate them from their endless financial woes. When Dallas creates a website showcasing their footage, it attracts the attention of a celebrity Bigfoot hunter from California, whom Dallas lobbies in the hope that he’ll make Portsmouth a stop on his national Bigfoot tour. Suddenly it looks as though the amateur investigators’ luck is about to change.
Amid the recent spate of documentaries focusing on the eccentric characters inhabiting our American landscape, few prove more than manipulative exercises that reveal as much about the cynicism of the filmmakers as about their subjects. Not Your Typical Bigfoot Movie could easily have become a parody of Unsolved Mysteries. Instead, in his first feature-length documentary, Jay Delaney has faithfully created a surprisingly gentle and touching portrait of two friends and their struggle for dignity in the heartland-turned-wasteland. Ultimately, with their singular passion and enviable resilience, these two dedicated Bigfoot researchers remind us that even in the poverty-stricken Appalachian foothills of southern Ohio, the American dream is alive and kicking.
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