"Out of Nothing," a documentary made in Bellingham about motorcycle speed records in Utah will go public May 17 with a premier at Mount Baker Theatre.
Many of the people who worked on the movie are based in Whatcom County, and three of the four motorcyclists profiled in it reside in the county. The movie's music and lyrics are by local musicians, too.
"There's some amazing talent here," said Andrew Lahmann of Bellingham, one of the producers.
Ryan Stiles, the nationally known comedian who lives near Bellingham, played a key role as a producer with strong ties to the entertainment industry.
Stiles was featured in a Kickstarter video last summer that raised more than $53,000 for the movie, enabling the crew to travel to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah to shoot additional footage.
He became involved in the project at the urging of Lahmann, who had worked with Stiles on a pilot TV show.
The movie is being sent to film festivals, including ones in Seattle and Edinburgh, with the hope that showings will boost interest from distributors. Stiles said there's already interest in the movie, so he's not relying on festivals, alone, as a way to spread the word.
"There's a million different ways; it's a matter of people seeing it," he said. "If you have a good product, people will come to you."
Stiles said he enjoyed working with and becoming better friends with the cast and crew.
"That's something that stays with you," he said. "I do things, number one, before I enjoy doing them."
"Out of Nothing" follows brothers Mark and Carl Bjorklund of Bellingham, Jason Omer of Ferndale and Bill Woods of Shoreline as they travel to Bonneville to participate in the annual BUB Motorcycle Speed Trials, where racers hope to set speed records in various categories.
Stiles already knew the Bjorklunds because they built a motorcycle for one of his benefit auctions for the Burned Children Recovery Foundation.
The genesis of the movie began several years ago when Omer, who had been to Bonneville several times, urged the Bjorklund brothers to race there. They agreed and asked Chad DeRosa of Bellingham, a longtime BMX and motocross racer with video and photography skills, to accompany them, camera in hand, on their first trip in 2011.
DeRosa, the movie's director, returned from the 2011 trip with extensive film footage but no script and no large pile of money. So he turned for help to Lahmann, who earned a degree in film studies at Western Washington University and helped start a film production company after working on the first "Iron Man" movie.
Now it's time for the cast and crew to share the movie with their hometown community.
"It's looking way better than we ever thought," Lahmann said. '"That what happens when you have the right people on a project."
FOLK SCHOOL ON HOLD
Three years ago I wrote about the startup of Whatcom Folk School, an effort to help local people learn helpful know-how skills. Now, after offering hundreds of classes on such topics as native plants, sustainable farming and bicycle maintenance, the school is no longer sustainable unless major changes are made, organizers announced.
Cindi Landreth, board president, cited several reasons the school is on hiatus:
- Competition: With so many outlets for learning in the county, it has been difficult getting people to sign up for classes.
- Burnout: Board members are volunteers with limited time; the school would benefit from a full-time staff member, but lacks the money to hire someone.
- Money: Funding from donations, ad sales and class registration is limited, given the volunteer staffing.
Board members hope to hear from community members and develop a new approach to revive the school. To help, call 360-319-7495 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach Dean Kahn at email@example.com or call 715-2291.