Parkite launches passionate film project |

Parkite launches passionate film project

Steve Phillips, Record contributing writer
This Hunter Metcalf self-portrait is a tintype. He uses the chemical process, popular in the 19th century, to reveal stunning levels of detail and a unique, mirror-like image.(Photo courtesy of Hunter Metcalf)

Hunter Metcalf drew enthusiastic applause earlier this month at the Jim Santy Auditorium at the Park City Library when he stood with other local filmmakers to talk about his newest film, a short documentary project entitled "Wake Up With A Passion." His was one of several short films screened at the Park City Filmmakers Showcase November 14th. "Someone asked what it was like to see my work on the big screen. ‘Well, it’s really cool,’ I said, but what I get most out of it is the reaction of the audience, having a group of people see my work and getting feedback from them. I can sit at home and watch my film and think, ‘wow, I’m really happy with what I’ve created.’ But it’s not until I sit in a theatre with several hundred people, hearing their response, that I can get a sense of its value."

His film is the first in a series he plans to create aimed at inspiring people and helping to ignite, or re-ignite, passion in their lives. For Metcalf, it’s personal.

His family moved to Park City from California when he was just five years old. He started kindergarten here, attending both McPolin Elementary and Treasure Mountain Middle School before graduating from Park City High in 2004. He developed an interest in photography and the visual arts in middle school, fueled by his mother, a graphic designer, Chris Maddux, the PCHS TV production teacher, and the staff at Spy Hop Productions in Salt Lake City.

Two months after graduation he plunged straight into college, first at Brooks Institute in California, one of the finest photography schools in the country, and later at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. He graduated in 2009 with a B.F.A. degree in film production and photography.

That’s when Metcalf came face to face with the second big challenge of his life. The first had come at age 15 when he was diagnosed with epilepsy. "Being 15 and having epilepsy was a totally foreign idea to me," he recalls. "It was like, now I’m different! It’s been a roller coaster since then, but I’ve gotten a lot of positive experiences out of it too. I’ve definitely become more interested in how the brain works. That’s given me plenty of topics for my creative work. I’ve come to appreciate my situation, to say, ‘you know what, this is me.’ It makes life seem even more precious to me." The 27-year-old says his epilepsy is mostly under control with medication, and a new device implanted in his chest a year ago that acts as a pacemaker for the brain. Nevertheless, he still has occasional episodes.

After college, Metcalf was recruited back to Park City for a position in art publishing. He also did marketing and media work at the Kimball Art Center and Spy Hop Productions. The work left little time for film making. "When you’re in school you have the resources you need to do what you want to do and everything is so much easier," he explains. Then you get out in the real world and it’s like oh. There’s that aspect of disillusionment they don’t tell you about while you’re in school"

At age 26, Metcalf stepped back to reevaluate. It didn’t take long. "Creative storytelling is where I believe I shine," he says. I decided to use my storytelling abilities and filmmaking as mediums to re-discover my personal passion again. The "Wake Up With Passion" project will be a series of short documentary films about people sharing their personal journeys to find their passion. It’s so important. Being able to say you love what you do makes getting out of bed each morning so much easier! I love doing this."

Metcalf has taken other steps to re-ignite his passion and reconnect to his home town. Last year, he applied for and was accepted into the Park City Leadership Program — an experience which he says was "amazing." He’s also on the board of the Park City Film Series and a volunteer DJ at KPCW.

Other pursuits have added fuel to the fire. Last summer, Metcalf and his father together summited the Grand Teton near Jackson Hole, Wyo., one of the highest mountains in Wyoming at almost 14,000 feet. They followed that up with a climb to King’s Peak, the highest summit in Utah at over 12,000 feet. "My father and I have grown closer in the last few years and I really look forward to sharing more outdoor challenges and adventures with him," he says.

Though Metcalf navigates quite well in the digital world of photography and videography, he admits to a longing for an earlier time, when celluloid and chemicals were the stock in trade. "I get tired of sitting in front of a computer screen, photo-shopping. Everything is digital, hard to get your hands on." He enjoys taking photos with vintage 4×5 and 8×10 inch cameras, then developing and printing his film in the darkroom. He recently took up the arcane art of creating tintypes, which were the standard method of photography in the mid-nineteenth century. "With this, you have something physical, tactile, and I love that," he grins. He’s created Archers Tintypes Studio, named after the inventor of the process, Frederick Scott Archer, which he hopes will grow into a successful business. Metcalf is currently preparing a body of work for an upcoming showing at Silver Queen Fine Arts Gallery on historic Main Street.

"I’m feeling pretty good about the direction I’m going," he concludes. "I’m still kind of finding my way, but I’m closing in on it."

To view Hunter Metcalf’s, "Wake Up With A Passion" short film, go to .


Favorite activities: hiking, films at PC Film Series, "hanging out at Kimball Art Center and the Coffee Roaster."

Favorite foods: Mexican, Thai and "a damn good burger."

Favorite music: classic rock

Bucket list: Africa

Steve Phillips is a Park City-based writer and actor. Send your profile comments and suggestions to him at

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