2021 F3T Behind the Lens: Denny’s Fly Box

Denny's Fly Box F3T Cover

In our most recent installment of F3T Behind the Lens, we had the opportunity to sit down and speak with Peter Devlin, the filmmaker behind “Denny’s Fly Box.” Peter’s film tells the tale of Denny Waln, a 78-year-old Missoula local whose passion for fly fishing continues to grow despite the several health conditions he is faced with. Check out the full interview with PMD Productions, Peter Devlin below!

Denny Waln of Denny's Fly Box

Flylords: How Did the Idea for the Film Come About?

Peter: Denny and I worked at a fly shop (The Grizzly Hackle) together once upon a time, maybe 12 years ago.  Once he warmed up to me (which took a while) he would bring me hand-tied flies in his recycled pill containers.  His patterns were stunning and I wanted to find a way to preserve his legacy.  The seed of the idea for “Denny’s Fly Box” was planted.

Headshot of Denny Waln

Flylords: What Inspired You to Make the Film?

Peter: Denny did.  He is a wealth of knowledge and has overcome so much in his life.  But he is as humble and understated as they come.  Cut from a different cloth.  Our generation likes to poke fun at “Boomers” but they have some core values that more people ought to aspire to in my opinion.  I knew that he didn’t possess the motivation for self-promotion and that if someone didn’t tell his story it would run the risk of existing in total obscurity.

Brown Trout in Denny's Fly BoxFlylords: What Were Some of the Struggles that You Faced During the Filming Process?

Peter: Covid is a big one for sure. Denny’s long-time fishing buddy, Erin, was traveling from Boise, ID and our biggest concern was keeping Denny safe. We had to move our filming dates because her family got a cold and we wanted to be super cautious. We all drove separate vehicles during production and masked up when indoors. Other than that, the fish didn’t always cooperate, as can be the case late in the season when we were filming.

Denny Waln's Tying RoomFlylords: What Was the Overall Message You Sought to Portray With This Film? 

Peter: Denny is an inspiration. His message is that no matter what, move forward.  As long as you are above ground, live your life to the fullest and nothing should be taken for granted. It is not a new concept, but one that we humans seem to need constant reminding of, as we get bogged down with all of the baggage of modern existence.  Work, health, our phones, the news—just go fish.

Denny and Erin Fishing in MissoulaFlylords: What Was Denny’s Initial Reaction When you Told Him About the Film?

Peter: All he cared about was that it somehow helped me out. He is so altruistic and generous. He didn’t think anyone would care about his story but I think it is quite the opposite. This film came together more easily and more quickly than any other project I have been a part of.

Shooting Denny's Fly Box in Missoula MontanaFlylords: Where Was the Film Shot, and What Camera Gear Was Used?

Peter: In and around Missoula, MT (the finest fishing in the west IMO). Most of the film was shot with my super light run and gun mirrorless setup: Sony a7riii w/ Sigma art 35 mm/ 1.4 lens and a Ronin gimbal.

Denny and his famous Skwala FlyFlylords: What’s Next for PMD Productions? Anything Exciting on the Horizon?

Peter:  We actually have a big bonefish project in the works!  Bit of a change of pace for me, and a chance to focus on the visuals and the epic fishing shots we all love, but I am always most concerned with a compelling story.

A big thank you to Peter Devlin for taking the time to speak with us about his incredible project! Be sure to keep an eye out for more of his work with PMD Productions!

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