Remembering Hunter: When I die

This weekend I went to see a screening of a new Hunter Thompson documentary. Well, sorta. Actually, it is a documentary about the strange and troublesome erection of his huge funeral monument… a 150 Gonzo Fist statue mounted with cannons that fire explosives, fireworks, and Hunter’s ashes on his property over Woody Creek.

Filmmaker Wayne Ewing had been filming Aspen neighbor Hunter Thompson for the last twenty years. They were working on a film which came out a couple of years ago called Breakfast with Hunter. It is a terrific and strange piece of work, as anything involving Hunter would surely be. If you are a big Hunter fan, that film is worth ordering, but it is not what we are here to discuss.

When Hunter killed himself last February, he left behind some typical insanity inanity: one of which is his funeral request to have his ashes shot over Woody Creek from his property off of a cannon resembling the Gonzo fist rising 150 feet over the valley. Sounds insane, doesn’t it? Nonetheless, they pulled it off. With actor and HST pal Johnny Depp footing the considerable bill to make this happen (millions)… we get to follow. Film maker Wayne Ewing did what he had been doing for the last 20 years, followed the antics of the Owl Farm with his camera. What results is a 60 minute documentary on the logistics of getting this tribute off the ground. It starts at the beginning, meeting with townsfolk to get the go ahead. What follows are fire concerns, lightning concerns, aircraft concerns (Hunter lived in the flight path to Aspen airport, 3 miles away), and other various problems. Hint, it helps the logistics process that Hunter’s best friend is the sheriff.

I thought it was fascinating, but I am simply too involved in the whole Hunter thing. I can not say if the film is for you (only available to direct order from Ewing’s website) I can say the viewing was a really great experience. It was being showed at the Denver Starz Film Festival. I got to see the film in a small theater, with beer served… and guest speakers. At the end of the film, as I damn near shit myself with joy, film maker Wayne Ewing walks in with Hunter’s widow, Anita. They spoke to us for sometime, and then fielded questions from the audience. It was pretty terrific. Anita explained to us after the film that the film will be traveling the country on the ‘film festival circuit’.

I should also mention a work in progress we got to watch called ‘buy the ticket, take the ride’, whose director was also there. More about that later, surely.

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