Craig natives screen short at Vail Film Festival |

Craig natives screen short at Vail Film Festival

Movie a long-term project for Brendan Beachman, Alex Conner

Andy Bockelman
From left, the crew of the short film "Intersection": Colin Arndt, cinematographer; Nickol Matallana, producer; Brendan Beachman, writer, director and executive producer; Alex Conner, unit production manager; and Angelyn Bushi, art department. Beachman and Conner, both originally from Craig, and the rest of the group have spent several years working on the film, which saw its first major screening during the Vail Film Festival.
Courtesy Photo

Moffat County High School graduates Brendan Beachman and Alex Conner were recently back in Colorado for a short time, though the two California residents unable to make it up to their old stomping grounds. That’s because they were preoccupied with a movie screening.

Their own.

The short film “Intersection” was among the many entrants in the 2015 Vail Film Festival, showing March 29. Though it may not have received any prizes, the world premiere of the movie represented a long road of blood, sweat and tears for Beachman, Conner and all who were involved with them in the process.

Beachman, a 2004 MCHS grad, wrote and directed the short, which tells the story of two highway construction workers whose exceptionally boring day is interrupted by a mysterious item suddenly falling from the heavens.

Things didn’t happen quite as quickly behind the scenes of this tale — a Kickstarter project to fund the film back in 2010 fell through, and it wasn’t until three years later that the money was in place to make it happen.

Conner, a 2000 Moffat County alumnus, served as the production manager on the shoot, which took place for a week in the Mojave Desert to capture the sense of a bona fide “middle of nowhere.”

“It all came together so well without a hitch,” he said. “The desert was quite its own character in itself.”

Even once all the filming was complete, the post-production was far from over, and it was only weeks before coming to Vail that the 19-minute “Intersection” was entirely done.

“It was just tying up loose ends with the sound design, the credits and everything, but the bulk of it was finished in February,” Beachman said.

The film faced stiff competition in Vail, with the winning piece a student film from a Singapore school titled “Oh Lucy!” that has received honors at both the Cannes and Sundance Film Festivals.

Beachman had also submitted to Sundance, along with thousands of other artists, very few making the short list for what is arguably the most prestigious American film event of the year. Still, making it into Vail was no easy task, and the director was eager to have a fresh audience.

“I’d been so attached to it, so it was cool to see them jump at the right parts and laugh at the right parts,” he said. “It was really rewarding.”

Both the former Craig kids have made a career in the entertainment industry, Conner, a film studies graduate of University of Colorado, working freelance on the production side of things.

“It’s different than any other kind of profession, and it’s kind of hard to explain,” he said. “You never know when your next job is coming, but it’s great to be able to do that and then take that time to focus on our dream and our passions, seeing that come to fruition.”

Beachman, who got his diploma from Montana State University, also works regularly in entertainment, until recently a full-time assistant and self-described “low man on the totem pole” on a set.

“It’s a funny kind of juxtaposition,” he said. “Five days a week I’m getting oatmeal for an executive producer, and then on the weekends, I’m directing these commercials.”

Now he focuses solely on direction. He’s previously put together spots for Phillips Norelco, Bud Light, Braun and Secret deodorant, among others.

“They’re all digital, so you can see them if you’re watching Hulu or something,” he said. “No TV commercials, which is cool because I can push the limits, it just doesn’t pay as much.”

In the meantime, he’s got his eye on many other film festivals.

“Hopefully this is the first of many,” Beachman said.

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or

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