The Full Draw Film Tour Experience

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Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending an installment of the 2013 Full Draw Film Tour, sponsored in large part by Realtree Outdoors. The Tour features bowhunting films that haven't been seen anywhere else. Each event has a raffle with Hoyt youth bows given away. It's a fun time for all.

I'll confess that I'm not a big fan of outdoor video. This is undiluted cynicism speaking after a number of years working on both ends of the camera, observing the shenanigans resulting from the pressure to get shows in the can. I too often find myself watching as a jaded critic seeking holes and miscues. I've watched in horror, as post-production turns 14 days of epic adventure into a 13-minute view to a kill -- no story, experience or aesthatics.  But that's just me.

Full Draw movie shorts (all no more than 12 minutes, conspicuously free of commercials) prove a breath of fresh air. Each tells a story, cleverly sharing an overall experience. I found myself fasinated -- quite remarkable for a jaded soul like myself.

A few highlights for me included:

Fishbite Media's "Endless September," which does a exceptional job of conveying the friendships that develop and grow through shared outdoor experiances and the labor of love that is bowhunting elk.

Film Hunts' "Into High Country" poignantly relates the challenges of balancing family obligations with the desire to fulfill selfish needs, wrapped around an exciting bowhunt for Montana mountain goat.

I'm deeply impressed by Pahsimeroi Picture's "The Non-Professionals," mostly its unflinching honesty shown during a central-Idaho elk hunt (I won't spoil it and reveal any details).

Produced by South Cox and featuring Stalker Stikbows, "Perseverance" includes awesome high-country scenery and longbow-hunting excitment.

Born And Raised Outdoors' "Uncommon Ground" shows what public-lands bowhunting shared with close friends is all about, including all the mishaps, tribulations, and yes, ultimate success. I never laughed so hard while watching an outdoor show.

The highlight of the evening was the 2013 encore presentation of Sicmanta Multimedia's "The River's Divide," a 45-minute feature film taking the viewer through a two-year journey into North Dakota's remarkable Badlands in the quest of a Boone & Crockett whitetail buck labeled "Steve." Mind-blowing. Mesmerizing. The production quality, story-telling style and cinematography is the best I've seen, anywhere. If you're in the outdoor-video business, or aspire to be, I urge you to study these guys' work closely.

More heartening, all this work is conducted in the name of charity. All profits from Full Draw Film Tour raffles go directly to Hunt Of A Lifetime, allowing kids with unfortunate health issues to fulfill outdoor dreams. Jon Walusiak, Walt Ramage and Kody Kellom deserve a huge dose of gratitude for unselfishly donating their talents and time to this awesome venture.

If you live in the West make the effort to see a Full Draw installment near you and/or donate to this worthwhile cause. Take it from this curmudgeon; I guarantee you won't be disappointed. If you live in the East without ready access to these shows, contact Full Draw sponsors and let your interest be known -- a tour could be coming your way soon.  

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