Old Goats

Old Goats

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Old Goats (2010/2014)

Opened: 01/17/2014 Limited

Scottsdale, AZ03/15/2013 - 03/21/20137 days
Tucson, AZ01/17/2014 - 01/23/20147 days
Music Box Thea...01/18/2014 - 01/19/20142 days
Cinema Village01/24/2014 - 02/06/201414 days

Trailer: Click for trailer

Websites: Home, Twitter, Facebook

Genre: Biographical Comedy

Rated: Unrated


Old Goats is the often hilarious and always heartfelt story of three older men who refuse to go quietly into the night of retirement and old age. Cantankerous and set in their ways, each man must come to terms with the sunset years in his own unique fashion. Shot in and around Seattle, Old Goats finds humor in the everyday foibles of retirement life, providing a refreshing perspective on the golden years through the eyes of three men who don't feel (or act) anywhere close to as old as they look.

Director's Statement

You might say I got interested in filmmaking for all the wrong reasons. When I was sixteen, I had the opportunity to visit the set of a large Hollywood feature and I was fascinated by the spectacle of it - the synchronization of all the moving parts, and the glamour of seeing movie-stars interacting behind-the-scenes. The irony is, as I started making my own films, I was drawn to small projects using minimal crew and cast with non-actors. I was pretty much self-taught as a filmmaker; I just played around with the equipment, picking it up as I went along. After doing a few short films that played film festivals and competitions, and producing and directing corporate videos for a couple years, I felt like I had the chops and the confidence to take on a feature. What I didn't have was the money.

I'd met the three leads of Old Goats independent of one another and I knew I wanted to cast them in a project. Each had a distinct, inherently interesting personality, and I knew if I could capture them on film essentially being themselves, they could keep an audience engaged and carry the movie.

In this case, life imitated art in an extremely beneficial way. All three of the leads were retired, had a lot of spare time, and were looking for something to do - much like their on-screen alter egos. They immediately took to the project and really threw themselves into it. Beyond giving great performances, each had a lot of friends, and knew a lot of people, and helped me out in a lot of very practical ways - such as securing locations and wrangling up extras. Benita Staadecker, who gave an excellent performance as Britt's love interest, was also extremely helpful in countless ways to the overall production. I honestly don't know if the film could have been made if they hadn't had the time and enthusiasm to invest in it.

Despite the realism of the performances, the film isn't a documentary - but it is a blend of truth and fiction. I devised a story to fit the personalities of Bob, Britt and Dave. It's basically these three men behaving as themselves in imaginary circumstances.

Old Goats was essentially shot with a two-person crew: myself as director and cinematographer, and my business partner, Jonathan Boyer, as everything else. We shot for 54 days over a seven month period. The schedule was very much dictated by our budget, or lack thereof. We had to take a lot of breaks between shooting days to get our resources together for upcoming segments.

And this is an example of how working with Bob, Britt and Dave, all being retirees, was a huge advantage. They had few, if any, competing commitments. When the elements for a given segment fell into place, and we were ready to shoot, they could be available at almost a moment's notice. It gave us tremendous flexibility and was a major reason we were able to complete the entire film for under five thousand dollars.

While we were shooting, I repeatedly warned everyone involved that it was very possible we would end up being the only audience Old Goats ever had. And I was serious. So the positive reaction the film has received is extremely gratifying.

I do find it interesting that the humor is what comes across most strongly, while the darker aspects receive less notice. The main reason for that is obvious: Bob, Britt and Dave are hilarious. I also wonder if there's another dynamic at work, and audiences are reacting to the film the way most of us react to life: we laugh as a way to keep the hard realities - including those associated with aging - at a distance.

-- Taylor Guterson

Director's Bio

Taylor Guterson (son of Novelist David Guterson - Snow Falling on Cedars) grew up in the Pacific Northwest on Bainbridge Island, WA. He graduated from the University of Washington in 2004 with a bachelor degree in arts and cinema studies. Taylor started his career with a difficult stretch of landscaping and production assistant gigs, before landing a full time position with an internal corporate studio in Seattle. He is currently a principal at Elliott Bay Productions, a video and events production company, where he produces and directs corporate and non-profit videos. Taylor makes his home in Issaquah, WA with his wife Elizabeth. Old Goats is his first feature film.

Cast Biographies

Bob Burkholder (Bob)

Bob Burkholder had his beginnings in Salina, Kansas during the hard times of the early 1920's and 30's. He developed into a man of style and substance who lived a life of danger and risk with uncommon enjoyment. He survived World War II, finished college with a BS degree in Wildlife Biology, married and became a bush-pilot/biologist in Alaska for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Burkholder went on to raise seven children and continued studying and managing wildlife for over thirty years until his retirement in 1983, to Bainbridge Island, Washington where he currently resides. There, he became a political activist for good government and environmental issues involving land use and is still serving on several boards and committees while writing numerous letters to newspapers. Burkholder has published several popular and scientific articles, as well the book Skirting the Edge -- which, like himself, is prominently featured in Old Goats.

Britt Crossley (Britt)

Retired -- gardens with his wife, Carolyn, and socializes with the old men on the Island. Traveled Alaska extensively during his career as a Certified Public Accountant working primarily with the electric utility industry. Enjoyed hunting, downhill skiing and curling during his 62 years in Alaska. Proud of his 29 year marriage to Carolyn, the apple of his eye in high school. Father of four socially responsible children, all apples of his eye. Recorded classical music hobbyist -- enjoys the listening and the collecting. Reads extensively non-fiction and fiction alike with equal enthusiasm. Amateur photographer specializing in smiley faces. That sums it up.

David VanderWal (Dave)

David VanderWal was born and raised in Hudsonville, Michigan. He has a Bachelor of Arts from Hope College and a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Engineering from The University of Michigan. He joined The Boeing Company in 1973, and retired in May 2009 as Director of Contracts after a 36-year career. He was also co-founder of a successful professional model-making company named R & D Unique, which he sold in 2004 after 25 years. He and his wife Bianca now fill all their available time with their hobbies and art, their friends and their boat. Aside from all the "acting" that life and a career normally requires, David did not begin acting seriously until he was asked to perform some small roles in various short features and training videos. This activity led to his participation in the project now known as Old Goats -- which is David's first feature-length film.

Benita Staadecker (Cynthia)

Benita Staadecker is married to a wonderful guy and has three remarkably wonderful children. She grew up in Seattle and graduated from the University of Washington well before Taylor Guterson was even born!! Benita met Taylor while she was working part time as a bank teller, after retiring from her job with the City of Seattle. Benita advises any older woman who is approached by a young man asking her to be in his independent film to just say "yes."

Gail Shackel (Crystal)

Old Goats was the experience of a lifetime. I never dreamed I'd be in a movie, particularly such a delightful one. At first glance, Taylor thought I looked like the Crystal he wanted in his movie, but neither he nor I knew if I could act. In fact, I kept from Taylor my high school drama honor society experience where I successfully avoided the stage until my senior year, convinced I couldn't act. When I told my husband I couldn't play this part because the woman wasn't very nice, he replied, "I think that's why they call it 'acting.' Just go and have fun." And I did. As the cliche goes, the rest is history.

So - thanks, Taylor. I'm glad I looked like your Crystal, though that was serendipity. Old Goats, and you and all the cast have added much joy to my life.