Storytelling is Timeless


A little under fifteen years ago, I started filming one of my first stories. I spent a few weekends capturing roughly forty hours of footage on a single Sony Digital8 Handycam. I spent months crafting, editing and dwindling down the footage into a 26 minute story I was finally happy telling. The short documentary was called, "The Hakala Brothers". The documentary was about two brothers named Allen and Harold Hakala. The Hakala brothers lived in a remote part of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest in northern Wisconsin. They lived their entire lives with no electricity, no running water and nobody to care for them but each other. They were modern day pioneers, and did what they had to do to survive.


This film started as a senior thesis project at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, but turned into much more. In 2003, it aired on Milwaukee Public Television. In the mid 2000's, it was permanently up to watch on the Culture Unplugged website. Earlier this year, nearly 15 years to the date I started to film this documentary, I submitted it to the Big Water Film Festival, which takes place in Ashland, Wisconsin (very close to where the Hakala brothers lived). The film got into the festival and will be screened on Saturday November 7th, 2015.


My good friend, and fellow filmmaker Sean Kafer said this documentary is "timeless". After 15 years, I would personally change many aspects of the film to tell a better story, but despite the low quality gear used, the Comic Sans typeface (sorry designers) and mistakes in editing and cinematography(we never stop learning), there is still a story there. This particular documentary will forever tell the story of two modern day pioneers who lived their entire lives the only way they knew how.

Stories never stop resonating with people... that is what they are meant to do.

If you can't make the screening up in Ashland, Wisconsin on November 7th(I will be there!), feel free to watch it here: