This is it.
The "Divergent Hunting Film" we've been talking and dreaming about here at Sitka Headquarters for years now. Nothing like it has ever been done in hunting media, and because of it, we hope the hunting world will never be quite the same.
Welcome to the beginning of a revolution.
So much went into it – the work of dozens of people from Sitka, Leica and GORE-TEX™, not to mention a ridiculous number of all-nighters from the talented folks at Helio Collective and Seacat Creative. Partners from organizations like the NRA and RMEF to retailers like MidwayUSA, Sportsman's Warehouse, and ProGuide Direct got behind it and pushed it to their audiences.
But it didn't stop in the hunting world. The artsy community of Vimeo Staffers made it a Staff Pick, and BRAIN FARM, makers of Red Bull's snowboarding epic, 'The Art of Flight,' called it a "Must Watch."
And while it's fun seeing 'Searching for West' all over cyberspace, there's just something about a live event that cannot be recreated on the web. Which is why we still keep coming back to our memories of the night of the premiere here in Bozeman.
Nearly 700 people battled the oppressive summer heat of an old, run-down theater to witness the live premiere.
Dan Crockett, Editor of Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation's Bugle Magazine was the spark to ignite the evening, brilliantly conveying his passion for elk country, elk hunting and the "art and heart" required of any good hunting story.
John Bedlion from Leica Sport Optics regaled us with his company's long and illustrious history, and the imperative to innovate, in both hunting gear and hunting media.
Mystery Ranch Backpacks Founder Dana Gleason brimmed with pride over serving hunters and doing what so few companies can – manufacturing products right here in the USA.
And our very own Business Leader Kevin Sloan applauded the evolution of gear and the evolution of media, saying the safe, same-old way of doing things was detrimental to both.
While each speaker had a different take, and a different message, none of them left the stage without mentioning the unmatched drive and creativity of the guy featured in the film, Sitka Athlete Mark Seacat.
Thousands of dollars in prizes were raffled off, and Cass Bolton picked up a full Sitka System. Congrats, Cass!
Then we premiered Dustin Lutt's unreleased Sitka Film 'BC Moose.' You'll get to see it here really soon.
And when the anticipation seemed all but unbearable, 'Searching for West' played.
The credits rolled, the lights came up, and the crowd drifted out into a cool Montana night, the outside air crisp and electric with elk season just around the corner.
Thank you for watching. Thank you for being a part of it all.
This is just the beginning.