Local filmmaker premiering 2 self-made movies next month
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POCATELLO — Travis Williams could hardly believe his eyes when he saw the aftermath of the Chinese Peak Fire east of Pocatello last summer.
The fire started on private land July 19, 2020, and the blaze quickly grew to encompass 137 acres. It was early August and Williams, who lives nearby, decided to venture out and get a look at the damage.
“I was surprised at how different the landscape looked,” Williams tells EastIdahoNews.com. “The cedar trees and the ground were just black. If you didn’t look over the hill and see the lights of Pocatello, you would’ve thought you were in a different world.”
Williams is a filmmaker and videographer and seeing the devastation Mother Nature caused inspired him to take advantage of the scene around him.
“I came up with a simple concept that maybe this earth was destroyed by an atomic bomb and it’s dead. This evil force wants it to remain dead and a little boy is the only hope for bringing back life,” Williams says.
Williams’ idea became the premise for a sci-fi drama short film premiering at the Blackfoot Movie Mill next month called “Powers That Be.” He shot the film on Chinese Peak last September over the course of two days. His production company, Rumorfy Media, is the film’s distributor.
The project was a family affair for Williams. His own kids, Elijah and Makenzie, play the lead roles. Despite never having acted before, Williams says they pulled off a stellar performance.
“My daughter … can act naturally and give an expression really well. I thought (both of them) were perfect.”
But it wasn’t easy for them. Williams says they had to get up early and endure a cold and ashy environment. The film’s production also faced a few challenges with lighting and power but a solar energy equipment supplier in Pocatello helped with generators during production.
“There’s only a few lines in it. I wasn’t going to have any dialogue but I soon realized it needed just a little bit so it was understandable,” says Williams.
Williams shot another film in McCammon last fall that will also be shown at the premiere. It’s an adventure comedy called “Please Shoot” and features an actor from Pocatello named Dan Kunkel. The plot revolves around a hunting prank gone wrong and is based on a joke Williams’ dad told him growing up.
“I play the part of a rancher who owns a horse he’s really attached to and he asks (another character) to put the horse out of his misery in exchange for some hunting rights on the land,” Kunkel says. “It was my first film work but the direction was really easy to follow. It was very comfortable. The other actors were great to work with.”
Williams formed Rumorfy Media in 2016 and has produced commercials and promotional videos for a number of clients over the years. One of his favorite projects is a documentary he produced for Twins Falls-based Ford dealer Gregg Middlekauff.
Williams was interested in art and photography as a kid and a stint in the Marine Corps introduced him to the idea of videography as a career.
“The infantry was full and they wouldn’t accept anyone doing that job. Since that was gone, I wanted to do something with art. Combat photography and public affairs were the two art options. I went with combat photography and just fell in love with it,” he says. “During a class on the history of film, the magic of moviemaking really struck me and it just took off from there.”
Williams premiered his short film “For What It’s Worth” at the Reel Theatre in Pocatello two years ago and he’s hoping to bring more exposure to his work by entering his latest projects in a film festival.
Williams says he’s thrilled to be hosting his latest film premiere at the Blackfoot Movie Mill.
“I certainly hope people enjoy it and get something out of it. I just absolutely love storytelling … and motion pictures are the most exciting way to tell a story,” he says.
The film premiere is happening March 30 at 7 p.m. Williams will be there to present each movie, which are about 10 minutes each, followed by a question and answer session.
Tickets are $7, which will be available for purchase in the coming weeks on the Rumorfy Media Facebook or Instagram page. A trailer for each film will be available on Williams’s YouTube channel March 7. Visit the website for more information.