News from the Nederland Chamber of Commerce about Frozen Dead Guy Days!
A trio of Boulder filmmakers is coming up the canyon to help celebrate the region’s most celebrated subzero senior citizen. After 20 years of hard work, first creating award-winning documentary films and then creating the world-class Boulder International Film Festival, they will find themselves the toasts of the town at the upcoming Frozen Dead Guy Days in Nederland.
Their cinematic focus has always been on telling the humorous, off-beat stories of the weird and wayward. Their successful association is marked by their warm feelings toward each other, and why not? They all grew up together.
The Beeck sisters — director Robin, producer Kathy, and promoter Shelly — moved with their parents to Boulder in 1976, and all three attended CU. Their 1998 short subject, “Grandpa’s in the TUFF SHED,” and its expanded, feature-length 2003 sequel, “Grandpa’s Still in the TUFF SHED,” helped inspire the world-famous Frozen Dead Guy Days.
Says Robin: “We love Nederland and are just so happy that we are coming! It’s exciting to be involved as grand marshals.”
The success of the “Grandpa’s…” project meant that Nederland became the focus of media attention — and its quirky, darkly humorous Frozen Dead Guy Days festival was launched in 2002.
Robin: “Teresa Warren, the organizer of the festival, said to me on the phone . . . that basically the festival grew out of the film.”
And the Beecks credit the film with launching their careers into the stratosphere.
Robin: “It was a big turning point in our career. As a result of the project, we went to a lot of film festivals and learned a lot about film festivals,” the experience of which inspired them to start their own highly successful Boulder International Film Festival. “Grandpa has been good for everybody all around.”
“Grandpa’s Still in the TUFF SHED” is the story of Norwegian Trygve Bauge, a now-deported Nederlander who kept his grandfather Bredo Morstoel’s corpse on ice on his property in hopes of restoring him to life one day. The film follows the wacky narrative through the consequences of the town’s discovery of his plans, and their eventual adoption and celebration of Grandpa after Bauge was forcibly returned to his homeland.
The townpeople’s wide-open embrace of the filmmakers made the movie that much easier to make – and that fine of final result.
Kathy: “I don’t think we had an interview where we didn’t use anything from it, because everybody was so animated and interesting…”
Robin: “They all had to have their part.”
Kathy: “In that sense it was a documentarian’s dream — people were wonderful.”
After the arduous business of getting the filming itself completed, they set to work as a family, mom and dad included, selecting footage for the final film.
“What we learned from this whole experience is that a family that makes films together — fights a lot,” says Kathy, laughing.
Kathy and Robin credit sister Shelly as a vital contributor to their cause.
Says Kathy, “She talks to people that we might not talk to, and she approaches people that we might be a little bit not willing to approach, like Michael Moore. We met him at a film festival and Shelly just walked right up to him and, ‘We need to sit down and talk with you, we need to have some drinks with you, and…’ — by the end of the whole time, he’s giving us money for our film project.”
When asked why she chose to work on only non-fiction films, Robin says, “I like to reflect society and the true stories — what is America like?… I never questioned why not documentaries. For one thing, we don’t have a lot of money … we don’t a big camera crew, we don’t have a sound guy — we have to, bare bones, make a film. We kinda pick these subjects that fit that mold, that of the underdog.”
Kathy: “I would recommend this festival to anyone. Its one of the funnest festivals we’ve ever been to. We even ran a coffin in the first year. We didn’t win – but I ‘m sure it was rigged.”