Successful, Sold-Out World Premiere of 'The Devil's Road'

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Successful, Sold-Out World Premiere of 'The Devil's Road'

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There was an undeniable buzz in the air. Even before the doors opened, a line was beginning to form along the sidewalk outside the box office of the Rio Theatre for what would later be the sold-out world premiere of The Devil’s Road: A Baja Adventure.

When the doors opened, crowds filled the foyer with all the excitement and glitz of a red carpet premiere. Guests traveled far and wide to attend—some as far as the East Coast.

Cameras flashed as pictures were taken before our backdrop, guests excitedly looked at one of the motorcycles on display that had completed the 5,000-mile journey through Baja, and onlookers studied the map that showed the historic expedition route alongside the Devil’s Road expedition route. Many stories and memories of Baja were shared among the guests, serving as a reminder of one of our initial goals of the film: to pay homage to the beautiful Baja California.  

The Devil's Road

From the laughs and sighs of the crowd as the film played out on the big screen, to the excitement of the road montages set to Latin American rock, to the scenes of quintessential Baja—cactus, vibrant sunsets, friendly locals, and incredible wildlife—the premiere was a night to remember.

We are incredibly grateful for the turnout as we shared our film four years in the making, and extend our enormous appreciation to those that have made the project possible—family, friends, sponsors, and beyond. We could not have done it without your time, generosity, and support. Thank you for making the premiere an unforgettable success.

For those that were not able to make the premiere, or who were turned away when we reached maximum capacity (we are so sorry!), we strongly urge you to join our mailing list ( http://eepurl.com/ghDRVL) to receive updates on future screenings and our progress on the project’s next chapter.

We are exploring the possibility of having other local screenings, and with the premiere in the rearview mirror, we are embarking on the long journey of the film festival circuit, which will bring the film far and wide—both nationally and internationally.  

As always, keep your eye on the Road and continue to follow our journey.

See photos from our big night >

The Devil's Road
The Devil's Road
The Devil's Road

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Our Time on the Hour Local Radio Show!

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Our Time on the Hour Local Radio Show!

The Devil’s Road filmmakers had a great time on last night’s Hour Local Radio Show on KSCO! We spoke with DJ and host Neil Pearlberg about all things The Devil’s Road, Nelson and Goldman, and what it took to ride over 5,000 miles through the harsh deserts of Baja California.

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On The Devil’s Road: Local Filmmakers Make World Debut in Santa Cruz

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On The Devil’s Road: Local Filmmakers Make World Debut in Santa Cruz

[Santa Cruz, Calif., April 5, 2019]—Four years ago, four Santa Cruz filmmakers set out to bring a historic expedition out of obscurity. The result was a feature-length historical-nature-adventure documentary called The Devil’s Road. The film will make its world debut at the Rio Theatre in Santa Cruz on April 27th.

The Devil’s Road is a culmination of over four years’ worth of research, exploration, filming, and post-production work to revive the pivotal work of two of America’s most prolific naturalists: Edward William Nelson and Edward Alphonso Goldman. While these are not household names, their research laid the foundation of scientific studies in Baja and were viewed as a link between Darwin and present-day scientists. 

Nelson and Goldman’s landmark expedition in 1905-1906 was unprecedented and completed in a time when the Baja Peninsula was considered one of the most remote and challenging areas in all of North America. They documented, cataloged, and obtained specimens of never-before-studied flora and fauna, all while trekking over two thousand miles on horseback.  The pair made a number of significant scientific contributions to Baja’s natural history, and their expedition was the most thorough and complete studies of Baja’s ecosystems. They would later spend their careers heralded as some of the most adept naturalists of their time, with hundreds of plants, animals, and geographical features named in their honor.

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It wasn’t just the early achievements of these two famed naturalists—though undeniably obscure outside of academic circles—that motivated the film crew. “It was only recently that, coincidentally enough, we learned our ‘Uncle Ed’ was the famed naturalist Edward Alphonso Goldman that worked with Edward William Nelson to explore the Baja Peninsula. I have been traveling around Baja with my family since 1990. We had no idea we had much deeper roots there,” explains Todd Bruce, the producer of The Devil’s Road, and the great grandnephew of Edward Goldman. “Baja has captivated us over the years. Nelson and Goldman’s accomplishments, coupled with our familial connection to this unique place, were driving forces behind creating the film.”

In early April of 2016, the team made a trip to the nation’s capital to pour through documents and glass plate negative photographs in the archives of the Smithsonian Institution. With latex gloves, they sifted through letters between President Theodore Roosevelt and Nelson, read field notes written over a hundred years ago by Goldman, and inspected century-old photo albums and specimens collected by the pair during their expedition. The film crew was also invited by the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco to film archived specimens of mammals and birds collected by Nelson and Goldman during their time in Baja.

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On March 1st of 2017, the film's director, JT Bruce, and producer set out on an expedition of their own, spending two months and covering over 5,000 miles of Baja desert and coastline to retrace Nelson and Goldman’s original expedition route on motorcycles. 

The film documents their thrilling quest—by motorcycle, airplane, boat, and horseback—across the Baja Peninsula where, along the way, they observe the vibrant culture and unforgettable people, and endure the challenges of the road. The film includes interviews with biologists and conservationists that provide a reminder of how grueling the original expedition was and why Nelson and Goldman’s work was so fundamental, as well as offer insight into the precarious future of the fragile ecosystems of Baja—and beyond.

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“Much like our predecessor that inspired the film, knowing Baja on a more intimate level makes it incumbent upon us to be stewards of such a unique corner of the world. By sharing it with viewers we hope to help make a case for its conservation,” says Bri Bruce, the film’s associate producer and UC Santa Cruz alumni. “Baja is truly a magical place. There’s really no other way to describe it. I think I speak for anyone that has been fortunate enough to really witness it—stand in its deserts, swim in its oceans, get to know both the animals and the people there—they’ll see it’s worth fighting for.”

“Baja is a biodiversity hotspot,” explains The Devil’s Road Scientific Advisor Greg Meyer. Meyer is an educator at California State University, Monterey Bay, and a professional naturalist who led his first trip to Baja in 1985. He has traveled extensively throughout the peninsula, working for the Oceanic Society, Lindblad Expeditions, National Geographic Expeditions, and the BBC. “The Baja Peninsula is still one of the great wildernesses on earth and this film project has allowed us to see the changes over time and to highlight why it needs protection today.”

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JT Bruce, the film’s director, expands on the themes of The Devil’s Road:

“Our film is not just a historical documentary or motorcycle road movie. It's not a reprimand on the audience for some perceived failure to protect the environment. It's a chance to gain a wider perspective and view the trajectory that our planet's ecosystems are on, and to help people make their own decisions about how we should approach the future.” 

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The film shows a complex interplay between past and present, and weaves together themes of discovery and change while serving as an environmental call to arms that pays homage to the strange and awe-inspiring Baja California. In an exciting mix of history, nature, and exhilarating adventure, The Devil’s Road is sure to entertain, educate, and inspire. 

The filmmakers anticipate a year of showings throughout the U.S. and internationally as they begin their film festival tour, starting at the Overland Expo in May of 2019 in Arizona.

Tickets for the premiere can be purchased at thedevilsroad.brownpapertickets.com.

Tune in to KSCO’s Off the Lip Radio Show (AM 1080, FM 104.1) on April 17th at 7pm where the filmmakers will be featured as guests.




 

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Thank You, Sneak Peek Screening Attendees!

On behalf of the Broken Wagon Films crew, we’d like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who came to last night’s sneak peek in Oakland! You were specially selected to help us look at the film from an objective, critical perspective as we near the end of production and begin to make our final adjustments. Your input is critical in this final stage. We enjoyed the productive Q&A session, and it was great to hear from everyone what they felt were the film’s strengths, and what could be improved upon as we gear up for the film festival circuit.

We hope you enjoyed the film and the refreshments, and greatly value the feedback and criticism from everyone.

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Broken Wagon Films at the California Academy of Sciences

Last week, Broken Wagon Films’ The Devil’s Road producer, Todd Bruce, and director, JT Bruce, attended the 2018 Annual Fellows Gathering as guests at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, California.

The exclusive event, which took place on Tuesday, October 9th, comprised of an evening of intriguing lectures, awards, and special recognitions. The crew was honored to have been invited among many esteemed scientists.

The Devil’s Road  Producer, Todd Bruce, at the Fellows Gathering.

The Devil’s Road Producer, Todd Bruce, at the Fellows Gathering.


Descansa en Paz, Pancho "El Correcaminos" de San Rafael

It is with a heavy heart that we, the Broken Wagon Films crew, write this upon receiving word of the death of a dear friend--and friend of many--Pancho.

It is hard not to think or talk about Baja without thinking of Pancho. In a way, he is Baja personified. He defined so many of our trips: making the drive on the rutted, sandy road out to Playa San Rafael to the beautiful spit of land he called home; his welcoming nature as he greeted us; and the ensuing days of stories, laughter, and exchanging of gifts. We spent many nights beside a fire on that beach with him and his dogs (so many over the years that we've lost count and begin to forget their names), drawing pictures in the sand, communicating in broken English and Spanish, listened as he told us stories of banditos and dolphins and the disappearing fish in the gulf, and watched as he ate a black scorpion that had crawled over his foot--in one bite, careful to not bite the venomous tip of the tail, pinched between two of his fingers. 

His unmatched kindness and spirit will be missed, as will his jokes and wisdom. 

Descansa en paz, Pancho "Correcaminos," nuestro amigo.

Our friend, Pancho, during an interview for "The Devil's Road" in 2017.

Our friend, Pancho, during an interview for "The Devil's Road" in 2017.

Pancho and our family during a 2015 trip. 

Pancho and our family during a 2015 trip.