April 14, 2014
Corvallis, Ore. – The locally produced feature documentary American Wine Story will premiere at the 2014 Newport Beach Film Festival on Saturday, April 26. Selected from more than 2,000 submitted films, the documentary will screen three times at the festival, which attracted more than 50,000 film fans in 2013.
American Wine Story follows the stories of dozens of people who left behind past lives to pursue their winemaking dreams to various degrees of success. Much of the film follows the story of Portland native Jimi Brooks who passed away in 2004 at the age of 38 just as his business was beginning to take off. The Oregon wine community rallied to help save Brooks’s winery as a legacy for his eight-year-old son.
Other noted winemakers in the film include Oregon wine legend Dick Erath and former NFL star Drew Blesoe of Bend. The filmmakers interviewed winemakers and industry insiders from six different states.
The film was produced by Corvallis residents David Baker, Kegan Sims and Justin Smith, and also Truen Pence of Portland, who met while working in University Relations at Oregon State University and decided to pursue an independent project.
“We wanted to make a film that drew inspiration from the landscape around us,” said Baker, who directed the film.
“Since we’re in wine country, the concept was a natural fit. But it took us four years of travel and investigation to finally find our core story.”
After Newport Beach, the film will screen at the Mendocino Film Festival in May and as part of the International Pinot Noir Celebration in McMinnville, Oregon in July.
“It’s still amazing to me that a film we produced on a shoestring budget here in Corvallis is going to screen at some of the more reputable festivals on the West Coast,” Baker said. “We’re just starting our festival run, so we’re excited to see where it goes from here.”