See local legends chase down actual legends in “Bo McGraw & The Legend of the Alabama Bigfoot,” a short feature making its debut at the Crescent Theater on Saturday, May 5, at 11 a.m. Local commercial videographer and documentary filmmaker Jon Miller tapped Uncle Henry, Killer Beaz and Johnny Gwin to work on this microbudget feature shot in Evergreen, not coincidentally the designated Bigfoot capital of Alabama.
It is the tale of Bo McGraw, the kind of guy many of us might well recognize from our own experience, who runs amok in the Alabama backwoods, convinced he is on the trail of Bigfoot, that elusive and hirsute figure of lore.
The star of all this madness is Steve Jenks, a longtime radio personality whose largely improvised character Bo McGraw was developed a few years ago. Says Jon Miller, “Steve Jenks and I used to host a cable access and internet country music video show together and we’d come up with skits and material to go between the videos … I’d been watching the ‘Finding Bigfoot’ show on Animal Planet and I was captivated by this show. I ordered a ‘Gone Squatchin’’ hat and took Steve and a video camera out to the woods near my house. I told him to put on the hat and a wig I’d just bought from the Dollar Tree, and just pretend like everything you see in the woods is some sort of evidence of Bigfoot. He did, and it was hilarious.”
For Jon Miller, whose previous projects include documentaries about spirituality and a documentary about cigar box guitars called “Strung Together,” this comedic mockumentary is both a departure and a natural transition.
“When I was a kid,” says Miller, “I absolutely loved the Ernest movies and Mr. Bean. I was a big fan of Pee-wee Herman and Ace Ventura. I really enjoyed the eccentric individual-type films that had a lot of slapstick and situational-type humor. So when I kind of zoned in on this idea, I drew a lot of inspiration from those movies and shows that I grew up loving, along with some of the other more rural stuff like ‘Hee Haw,’ ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ and ‘The Beverly Hillbillies.’ It just seems to me that we don’t get a lot of that good-hearted, rural-type comedy anymore. That’s really what I was going for with this. It’s not necessarily a kids’ movie, but it’s clean enough for the family to watch.”
In search of an idea for a microbudget film, Miller remembered the material he and Jenks came up with on Bigfoot, and knew Jenks’ natural gifts for comedy and improvisation were a perfect fit for the project. About 70 percent of this movie was shot over a two-day period at Miller’s family property and his father’s childhood home in Washington County, where the cast and crew felt free to “act totally foolish and no one would care.”
The result is a daffy, uproarious misadventure that finds bumbling outdoor enthusiast Bo McGraw investigating possible Bigfoot sightings and evidence. If you’ve ever sought out our own Crichton Leprechaun, you will appreciate the humor of the good-natured, poorly prepared Bo as he goes in search of the elusive Alabama Bigfoot. What he lacks in grammar Bo McGraw makes up for in enthusiasm, and locals will appreciate this wacky version of our backyards as only we can.
After the May 5 screening, the filmmakers will making it available on Amazon Prime and also on Vimeo On Demand. Visit www.BoMcGraw.com to keep up with this elusive creature and visit www.crescenttheater.com to view the trailer and purchase your tickets for $7.