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Arcadia youth brings Sandhills stories to life in documentary

July 11, 2012

'Ahh, the Nebraska Sandhills. Its surreal beauty has captivated poets, artists and teachers alike. Beholding its golden waves reaching into the distant horizon, time seems to subside; leaving one in union with its artistry.'
The beauty of the Sandhills has captivated Mitch Hunt, so much so in fact that the young man has set out to capture the land and people of the Sandhills in a special documentary film. The above quote was written by Hunt for a flyer promoting his project.
The 19-year-old Arcadia man has been dabbling in digital photography since the age of 12, and soon thereafter graduated to video and started filming little projects at home. As friends and acquaintances became familiar with Hunt’s hobby he began getting requests to create promotional videos for business websites. He says that gave him a lot of exposure, which led to even bigger projects. This undertaking, however, will be far bar his biggest project to date.
“Secrets of the Sandhills” is currently in its pre-production stage, but Hunt knows exactly what his vision is. To put it simply, Hunt feels he has discovered the hidden treasure of Nebraska known as the Sandhills and wants to share that treasure with the rest of the world.
“Growing up outside the Sandhills I was led to believe this huge expanse of no-man’s land was nothing more than a barrier to better places beyond. . . the ‘Death Valley’ of Nebraska,” says Hunt. “A series of life events led me to venture deep into the heart of the
Sandhills; encounters with the land and its people forever changed my point of view. It seems to be a waste not to share these experiences.”
This is not Hunt’s first documentary. “A Journey in Nature” is a film about the Sandhills Crane and has been broadcast on NETV and on the Nebraska Department of Travel and Tourism website. Hunt says he spent about two years editing that production after filming was completed.
“After that I had the nudge to do a bigger project. This one will be on a much grander scale!”
Hunt says he fell in love with the Sandhills when his father started taking him on camping trips there. He says they would often park and hike to a remote location to camp, allowing him to experience the true feel of the land.
“One of the main pushes of this documentary is to show people what the Sandhills really are.”
His idea for accomplishing that is a little different than your typical documentary. Hunt is currently working on the script for the production, which will feature an older gentleman taking his grandkids camping. As they sit around the campfire, grandpa begins sharing stories of “The Secrets of the Sandhills.” However, the stories he shares will be real stories of the land and the people of the area, told through film and pictures. The plan is for the film to be 50-60 minutes in length, which will require lots of filming and photography.
Obviously, a project of this magnitude cannot be completed by just one individual; he needs help. Hunt is looking for videographers and crew members to help with the production, and later will need actors to bring the stories to life.
“We’re keeping this a Nebraska project; made in Nebraska, starring Nebraskans and benefiting Nebraska,” Hunt explains.
Though he has actually been doing this since he was about 15, Hunt formed his production company - Huntrext Digital Productions - just a couple of years ago. This company will release the documentary when it is finished, which Hunt estimates will likely take two to three years.
Not only does a project like this require man power to accomplish, it also requires funding. Hunt is currently working on recruiting sponsors to help support the documentary financially as well.
“Sleeping under the stars is an experience I relish to this day, and that master angler bass. . . well, let’s just say I was hooked,” Hunt exclaims.
He says his desire to share those experiences is the driving force behind the film.
“Secrets of the Sandhills will show its land and people in a new light,” says Hunt. “This project could prove monumental in the history of our Sandhills.”
To learn more about the project, or how you can get involved visit Hunt’s website at www.secretsofthesandhills.com

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