When Leslee Goodman registered for the Wild Mind documentary filmmaking class offered at TwispWorks in 2013, she felt a bit in over her head. One of the only participants with no film or video experience, it took perseverance to push through the tears and fears that came with climbing the learning curve. But finishing the required six-minute short film opened up a new world of opportunities for storytelling, and she never looked back.
What started out as a hobby has become both a passion and product. As a marketing and communications consultant, Goodman can offer her clients filmmaking through her marketing and communications company, Alchemy on Demand. As a hobby, filmmaking has allowed her to find stories that interest her and share them with. As a profession, she’s been able to tell stories for clients that capture their target audience, whether it’s for information sharing, fundraising, or cataloging a place in time.
In 2018 she launched “Twisp, the Movie” with a debut at the Methow Valley Community Center. The 39-minute documentary showcases the personalities and lifestyles of valley residents, depicting how Twisp continues to thrive as a small town with a big heart.
Goodman’s portrayal of life in the valley captures the cooperative nature of a myriad of people who call it home. She believes that one of the reasons Twisp continues to thrive during uncertain and increasingly conflicting times, is the fact that most of the people have made conscientious choice to be here. By capturing admirable qualities of human behavior such as generosity and compassion, the film offers a refreshing change from mainstream films full of conflict, violence and suspense.
The film’s focus on human cooperation landed “Twisp, the Movie” an award at the 2020 Global Non-violent Film Festival. The film festival honored Goodman with the best Production Design award late last year during the pandemic. This honor led to the online streaming service Global Cinema Online to pick up “Twisp, the Movie” and make it available to the public via streaming as a rental or for download. The trailer can be watched for free on the movie’s website as can some of the outtakes of the film. Otherwise, renting the movie for a one-time showing costs just under $3 and a download is $10. DVDs are also available from Leslee via the website.
While “Twisp, the Movie” continues to go global via the internet, Goodman has taken her craft to a new endeavor, also has rooted in the valley. After a community town hall meeting discussing the reintroduction of grizzly bears to the North Cascades at the Winthrop Barn two years ago, Leslee interviewed participants after the discussion to document their perspectives. After her interviews, with mostly people who had lived or worked in areas with grizzlies, she had more questions. Of note she asked herself, “how did Native Americans live alongside these animals?”
“Beyond Fear: A Place for Grizzlies” is the film that sets out to answer that question. Goodman has teamed up with Rain, a Native American filmmaker, to explore the role and the respect Native Americans have placed on grizzly bears throughout their oral history in an attempt to unravel the secrets of how to peacefully cohabitate on the landscape with these powerful creatures. As producer, Goodman is responsible for the raising the necessary funds to complete the film.