Two filmmakers and one film at the Breckenridge Film Festival have ties to Summit County |

Two filmmakers and one film at the Breckenridge Film Festival have ties to Summit County

SUMMIT COUNTY – For some filmmakers, the annual Breckenridge Film Festival is more than just another showing of their film. At least two of this year’s featured films were written by one-time Summit County locals.

“Gold and Brimstone:

John Lewis Dyer and the

Colorado Gold Rush’

James “Brandy” Spear, who wrote, directed and produced the documentary “Gold and Brimstone,” has lived in Summit County for the past 11 years.

Spear said he studied television and film production at the University of Georgia, where he also studied history. He was already living in Summit County when he decided to make a documentary about Father John Lewis Dyer.

“I wanted to stick around this area, so it gave me an excuse to hang out,” Spear said. “(Father Dyer) had a decent story that hadn’t really been told.”

Father Dyer is considered one of Colorado’s 16 founding forefathers. Known as the snowshoe itinerant, he was famous for travelling on long, wooden skis and founded the Father Dyer Church in Breckenridge in 1880.

“That’s kind of his claim to fame in this area,” Spear said.

“Gold and Brimstone” is a picture of the Colorado Gold Rush, told through Father Dyer’s life story, he said.

Since Father Dyer is well-known as a part of Summit County history, Spear is showing the local’s version of the film at this year’s Breckenridge Film Festival. The documentary is a compilation of local efforts, Spear said – from the soundtrack and narration, to the editing and production.

“Pretty much everybody in it is local,” he said.

It’s no coincidence the documentary’s premier is in Breckenridge.

“That was kind of the intent all along,” Spear said. “I had to show it here for all the local support I had. There’s no way I could have shown it somewhere else first.”

“Gold and Brimstone” is playing at 7:15 p.m. Saturday at the Beaver Run Resort.

“Self Storage’

Filmmaker Peter Brown left Summit County a few years before Spear arrived. He attended junior high school here in the late 1970s before going away to boarding school.

Because his mother lived in Summit County into the 1990s, Brown returned here to work each summer through college (he studied english at Northwestern in Chicago). He worked at Goods in Breckenridge and for Colvin Construction.

“This was kind of my home through high school and college, even though I wasn’t going to Summit (High),” Brown said.

Brown left Summit County for Los Angeles in 1988, he said. He has been a screenwriter for the past six years, though none of those scripts has been produced.

“Self Storage” is Brown’s first directing effort and production. He wrote and directed the film, which he describes as “Alfred Hitchcock meets Edgar Allen Poe.”

The 16-minute film stars William Mapother from the academy-award nominated “In the Bedroom,” Rainn Wilson of “Almost Famous,” and Catherine Kellner of “Pearl Harbor.” It’s a dark, comic thriller about one friend who helps another move boxes into storage. As the two men weave through the halls of a self storage facility, their banter takes an unexpected turn.

“It’s definitely a bit on the macabre side, but it’s fun,” Brown said.

This year’s Breckenridge Film Festival also will be a reunion for Brown. He said he’s excited to watch “Self Storage” with friends and family “to show them what I’ve been doing in L.A. with my professional life.”

The film is showing at 9:15 p.m. today, at the Speakeasy in Breckenridge.

For more information about the Breckenridge Film Festival, call (970) 453-6200, or visit the Web site at

Lu Snyder can be reached at 970-668-3998 x203 or

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