Makin’ Moonshine

Makin’ Moonshine

“My obsession has been – and is still – the feeling of being there. Not of finding out this and analyzing this or performing some virtuous social act of something. Just, what’s it like to be there?” – Richard Leacock

Being Here, Project Moonshine’s documentary on Artown will premier at the Reno Film Festival on Saturday 5/5/07 at 12:30 PM at the Nevada Museum of Art. It was shot entirely by seven high school students from the Reno area, otherwise known as “Moonshiners” (Ali Alonso, Noah Conrath, Ben Kolton, Danielle Hauser, Charlie Hayes, Nathan Lower and Allana Noyes). Additionally, the documentary couldn’t have been done without the help of Heather Fuss, Dave Pomeranz, Brad Bynum, Laura Miller, Rossitza Toderova, Austin Baker, Ryan Bartlett and Lis Bartlett who were production coordinators throughout the summer.

Over the course of the past ten months, I’ve edited hundreds of hours of footage and attempted to really encapsulate the feeling of what it’s like to be in Reno. The film not only captures the eclecticism and local charm of the Artown festival, but also subtly focuses on the filmmaking process and the importance of the community coming together to redefine their city as a place for the arts. Artists and events featured include, (con)temporary gallery, Implied Violence, The Drum, Dance and Didgeridoo Festival, Mantis vs. Miniman, Controlled Burn, Art in the Garden, Hank the Revelator, Fireside, Never Ender, Artists Co-op, La Bussola’s Art Slut, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, 777 Kids Rock the Arts, Peripheral Vision (UNR), Controlled Burn, Reno Celtic Festival, Simply 7 (Stremmel Gallery) along with several other artists and events. The film also features music by The Books, Lilly Nguyen, Robert Johnson, The Add-Ons, The Spits, Caspia, Lo-Lite, Woody Guthrie, Blue Stone, Dan Garblik, Sonny Smith, Jack Rose and The Losing Streaks. Special thanks to Pete Manchetti and Slovenly records.

Prior to the film we will be showing trailers for Sonic Youth: Sleeping Nights Awake and Sonny Smith: Weird Fantasies and Strange Adventures (winner of best short film at Noise Pop 2007).

Please join us and support Project Moonshine’s filmmaking debut. Following the screening at the NMA there will be a post-party at Holland Saturday night with live music by Caspia. (Ali Vazin and Dan Garblik) at 7:00 PM. Caspia’s electro-ambient music reminiscent of Boards of Canada, Tortoise, Eluvium, and Mogwai. They contributed three excellent songs to our film and will be playing material from their latest EP which will be available to those who attend their show for free. To listen to their music please visit:

Additionally there will be an exclusive Sonic Youth: Sleeping Nights Awake screening on June 22nd at Holland. The documentary was shot in black and white by the same group of teenage videographers and features 10 songs performed live in Reno, NV on July 4th 2006, intimate backstage footage, and candid interviews with Kim Gordon, Lee Ranaldo, Thustron Moore, Mark Ibod (bassist from Pavement) as well as insightful observations from their sound crew. An earlier version of this film premiered in March at Noise Pop in San Francisco. I’ve tightened it up a bit and Lee Ranaldo mastered all the tracks for us, so it’ll sound and look amazing. The film will also be screening in Paris at Filmer La Musique in June if anyone happens to be over there for the summer.

Project Moonshine will be back this summer with three more projects in the Reno area (The bicycle trip across highway 50 in Nevada has been postponed indefinitely, but will hopefully be able to happen in the next couple of years).

1) Califone (May 7th at the Green Room)

2) Tour De Nez (June 13-16)

3) Dada Motel (June 28-30)

Applications are available on our website to download. Despite the fact that some of the info hasn’t been updated, the existing form will work just fine and I’ll work on getting a new version up there soon. Applicants from all of Washoe County high schools are welcome to apply; however, we will only be taking seven students so the selection process may be competitive. This program is free and Project Moonshine will provide the equipment, filmmaking tools, a series of screenings and guidance and support.

Check out our website (designed by Felix Polanski) for more information, including trailers of the films and production stills by Jolene Adams:

Thanks for all your support. We hope to see you at the premier of Being Here at the Nevada Museum of Art next Saturday.