Greg Chaney provides direction when filming cameos for “The Quest for Lee,” at JUMP Society’s Winter Film Festival, Thursday, Jan. 18, 2019. Chaney will use audience members at each of the festival’s screenings to create four different versions of his campy, Sci-Fi short. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Greg Chaney provides direction when filming cameos for “The Quest for Lee,” at JUMP Society’s Winter Film Festival, Thursday, Jan. 18, 2019. Chaney will use audience members at each of the festival’s screenings to create four different versions of his campy, Sci-Fi short. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Film experiment could only happen here

JUMP Society Film Festival project makes the audience the stars

Greg Chaney turned the movie-viewers into the movie stars — or at least high-profile cameos.

Chaney’s short film, “The Quest For Lee” closed out the first night of the Juneau Underground Motion Picture Society Winter Film Festival, and alternative versions of it closed each screening of the collection of Juneau-related shorts.

“I’ve made a baseline movie, and what I’m going to do is drop footage of audiences into it,” Chaney said. “Each movie will be different. It’s not quite interactive, but it’s quite similar to an interactive experience.”

[Young filmmakers depict life around Alaska]

Early arrivals to the festival were asked if they would like to be involved in the making of the movie and willing participants were taken back to a green screen, outfitted in plastic viking helmets covered in re-writable discs and asked to deliver lines with minimal context and maximum emotion.

“We’re right at the action point,” Chaney said after shooting footage of festival attendee Karl Bausler. “I’m excited and a little bit nervous but hopeful.”

A crowd reaction shot was also filmed before the first short was shown.

The end result was a complete and knowingly campy science fiction film with “Mystery Science Theater 3000” flavor.

Chaney has been a longtime participant in the summer and winter JUMP festivals that began back in 2002. He said it provided an excellent platform for his outside-of-the-box vision.

“The JUMP festival is the perfect venue for this kind of thing,” Chaney said.

Nearly 20 years

of creativity

Pat Race, event organizer, said each JUMP festival averages about 15 films —there were 16 shown Thursday —and with two festivals per year for 17 years the screenings have put hundreds of local projects on the silver screen.

[Film ‘Wrestles’ with Middle East conflict]

This year’s collection of shorts showcased the variety allowed by the format.

The shorts included everything from the surreal computer animated farce “Halloween the 13th” made by James Hunter Greene, to Andrew Okpeaha Maclean’s well-made dramedy, “Feels Good” about an altruistic dirtbag.

It also included the sincere and informative “Ocean Station November” made by Damon Stuebner.

Stuebner has made multiple films in the past, but Thursday was the first time one of his works had been shown at a JUMP film festival.

His 12-minute documentary “Ocean Station November” was one of two entries that exceeded the festival’s suggested 10-minute runtime limit — “Feels Good” was the other. Stuebner’s film was also one of the night’s standouts.

It tells the story of Pan Am Flight 6, which ditched in the Pacific Ocean in 1956. All 31 passengers on board the plane survived thanks to quick response from the Coast Guard.

The documentary included in this JUMP lineup featured an interview with recently deceased Juneauite Doak Walker, who was among the Coast Guard members who ensured no lives were lost.

It also included an interview with Richard Olson — who was also part of the Coast Guard’s response to the ditched plane — archival footage and a snippet of a news reel.

Stuebner said it took “too long” to complete the project, which translates to about three years.

Time and location played a major role in why Stuebner decided to submit “Ocean Station November” to the hometown festival.

“I had just finished the film,” Stuebner said. “It was very convenient timing.”


• Contact arts and culture reporter Ben Hohenstatt at 523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter @BenHohenstatt.


Karl Bausler turns in an unexpected performance for Greg Chaney’s film “The Quest for Lee” at JUMP Society’s Winter Film Festival, Thursday, Jan. 18, 2019. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Karl Bausler turns in an unexpected performance for Greg Chaney’s film “The Quest for Lee” at JUMP Society’s Winter Film Festival, Thursday, Jan. 18, 2019. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

More in Home

Mitchell Haldane, Sealaska’s carbon offset administrator, surveys forest land owned by the Juneau-based Alaska Native corporation that has earned more than $100 million since 2016 by putting the property into California’s carbon credits markets, which is paying to keep the land unharvested for 100 years. (Screenshot from YouTube video by Sealaska Corp.)
Could it be easy being — and making — green?

State, Alaska Native corporations among those who see carbon market potential, but questions remain.

David Holmes digs through a pile of boardgames during Platypus Gaming’s two-day mini-con over the weekend at Douglas Public Library and Sunday at Mendenhall Public Library. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)
Good times keep rolling with Platypus Gaming

Two-day mini-con held at Juneau Public Library.

Dane Hubert, Fredrik Hale Thorsteinson IV, Casey Knapp, Alexis Juergens and Finley Hightower, the Fedora Squad, pose for a photo during  the Region V Drama, Debate and Forensics Tournament. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
Tournament brims with oratorical talent

On a busy Saturday at Thunder Mountain High School, there was room for debate.

This distinctive peak overlooks Herbert Glacier. (Courtesy Photo / Kenneth Gill, gillfoto)
Wild Shots: Photos of Mother Nature in Alaska

Superb reader-submitted photos of wildlife, scenery and/or plant life.

City and Borough of Juneau 
This is a photo of the current site plan of the proposed Capital Civic Center. Thursday evening the city was given an update on the project’s concept design which is expected to cost up to $75 million and would include amenities like a theater, community hall, gallery, ballroom and business center.
City OKs steps toward proposed Capital Civic Center

Advocacy group to seek state and federal funds for the project.

Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire 
Juneau’s municipal and state legislative members, their staff, and city lobbyists gather in the Assembly chambers Thursday meeting for an overview of how the Alaska State Legislature and politicians in Washington, D.C., are affecting local issues.
Local leaders, lawmakers and lobbyists discuss political plans for coming year

Morning meeting looks at local impact of state, national political climates.

Captain Anne Wilcock recieves the Emery Valentine Leadership Award at the 2022 CCFR awards banquet on Saturday, Jan. 14. (Courtesy Photo / CCFR)
CCFR honors responders during annual banquet

Capital City Fire/Rescue hosted its 2022 awards banquet earlier this month as… Continue reading

A resident and his dog walk past the taped off portion of the Basin Road Trestle after it suffered damaged from a rockslide earlier this week. The trestle is open to pedestrians, but will remain closed to vehicular traffic until structural repairs are made, according to city officials. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)
Rocky road: Basin Road Trestle open to pedestrians, remains closed to vehicles

City officials say repairs are currently being assessed after damaging rockfall

Gov. Mike Dunleavy talks about his second-term agenda with members of the Alaska Chamber of Commerce, which is doing a two-day legislative fly-in this week, before his speech during the Juneau Chamber’s weekly luncheon Thursday. The speech and subsequent question period was at the Baranof Hotel to accommodate the extra out-of-town guests spending much of their time at the Alaska State Capitol, rather than the usual location at the Juneau Moose Lodge Family Center. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Big carbon and ‘small nukes’ are state’s future, governor says

Dunleavy sells business leaders on greenhouse gas cash, greenhouses with mini nuclear power plants

Most Read