Video Artistry in Elko

This is a special invitation for you to come and experience one of the most unusual programs at the Cowboy Poetry Gathering…the 2010 Deep West Videos.  These are short videos and slide shows made by ranchers and other folks living in America’s outback.  These shows have heart, they have humor, and they have spirit.  They give the rest of us a window into the personal lives of folks living in the most remote corners of the West. As WFC’s Media Producer, I’ve been involved in this program since it began 10 years ago, and some 58 films have been produced since then.  What was originally a one-year project to encourage ranchers in the Elko area to tell their stories is now attracting videomakers from half a dozen states.  And Deep West Videos have come to represent many facets of life in the rural West…not just on the ranch.   It’s been interesting for me to see how this program has evolved over the years.  The original group from Elko county were all ranching women.  I think the men were afraid of computers.  After a few years though, the guys began to trickle into the program, giving it a different flavor. Then we started hearing from ranching folks outside Nevada.  Most recently, the program has evolved to include people who live in rural places, but not necessarily as ranchers.  The program is attracting younger folks, such as Kristin Windbigler and Kier Atherton…people with one foot planted in the traditions of the rural West…and the other walking in the 21st century, iPods in hand.  Their films show us how they artfully combine the old and the new in their day-to-day lives…creating a new West.

My hope for you is two-fold.  First…that you’ll come see this year’s films, and spread the word to those you know.  They’re screening at the Convention Center in the Turquoise Room on Thursday and Friday at 11AM.  They’ll also be on our website and on WFC’s YouTube page…plus they’re available on DVD.  Second…that you’ll pitch us a story for next year.  Contact me at ttelonidis@westernfolklife.org or my media colleague Hal Cannon at hcannon@westernfolklife.org.  We want Deep West Videos to reflect rural living in the West in all its variety.

Taki Telonidis