Mitch Dickman on localizing Colorado’s film scene

Courtesy of Prodigy Public Relations

This might be a little naïve,” director Mitch Dickman tells Boulder Weekly. “But I’ve been… talking about this film-to-table idea. I think the food community has done a tremendous job of capitalizing on the farm-to-table movement. I don’t think film is all that dissimilar.”

Documentarian Dickman, whose previous film was the Colorado-produced Hanna Ranch, is back with a new documentary, Rolling Papers. The film takes a look at Colorado post legalization of recreational marijuana and how print media is changing to cover it.

Rolling Papers is much more than a documentary about Colorado; it is a documentary from Colorado, another entry into a growing trend of homegrown Coloradan cinema. With Rolling Papers recently premiering at the South by Southwest Film Festival, Dickman adds his voice to the many Colorado filmmakers who are stepping out on to a large stage.

“I think there were four films at Tribeca last year,” Dickman explains. “I believe that there were two that had Colorado ties at Sundance this year. Just people seeing that there is good work coming out of Colorado definitely helps.”

Dickman has also been hard at work on another documentary coming out of the Centennial State, Being Evel — which premiered this year at the Sundance Film Festival and played the Boulder International Film Festival, for which Dickman worked as a line producer for another filmmaker who has set up shop in Colorado, Daniel Junge.

“We’ve been able to collaborate,” Dickman says on his relationship with Junge. “A lot of people here do that kind of thing. It raises the water for everybody involved.”

Building a community of artists takes time, but Colorado has reached that tipping point, he says. At BIFF, Junge brought his Being Evel production team on the stage of the Boulder Theater and also acknowledged the slew of fellow Colorado filmmakers, both those on stage and those in the audience. Recognition like that makes a film movement possible. Saying that Colorado has a film scene isn’t just lip service anymore.

But for Colorado to compete in an ever-growing movie market, it must accommodate filmmakers.

“The Colorado Film Office and [Commissioner] Donald Zuckerman have done a great job,” Dickman says. “It’s a very supportive place, if we can work on finding financing here, instead of having to go to the Coast and compete with the number of talented people and projects out there, and secure more equity and financing in-state. Also, there are distribution outlets like the Sie Film Center, or Starz, based in Colorado. It kind of becomes a sustainable cycle. You could fund projects, make projects and get projects seen here. I think that will only help the community stay and grow.”

Money and distribution are part of the equation, but so is the audience. Thankfully, you won’t have to wait very long; Rolling Papers was just acquired by Alchemy and will reach theaters later this year.