How do artists create? The documentary film RIDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE: THE MAKING OF A WESTERN OPERA captures the process behind a new opera. We witness how a composer turns an idea into a score and then welcomes different artists, singers, and artisans to build a rich, multi-faceted story told through music, writing, visual arts, and the human voice. We meet cowboy scholars and film buffs to discover what made Grey’s novel so successful its themes influenced Westerns for years to come; and delve into the controversy around Zane Grey’s characterization of 19th century Mormons to discern the historical reality and true grit of those who settled the West.
Filmed throughout the development and mounting of the opera, the documentary wrapped principle production with the opera's World Premiere. The documentary, RIDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE: THE MAKING OF A WESTERN OPERA, will be released in 2020. Arizona Opera's world premiere of the entire opera, captured live with a seven camera switch, will also be available as a companion to the documentary and as a stand-alone program.
Kristin Atwell Ford
As an Emmy Award-Winning filmmaker, Kristin draws on her theater training and sensibilities as a wilderness guide to create documentaries that focus on the synthesis of people and place. From environmental issues like water sustainability and wildfire in the West, to social justice, literacy, and historical events that influence our lives today, Kristin’s films blend real life experiences with artful storytelling.
Kristin's film & TV credits include: FIRE & WATER, PROTECTING THE SOURCE, THE CENTENNIAL SERIES with JUSTICE SANDRA DAY O'CONNOR, THEODORE ROOSEVELT DAM: Arizona's Living Legacy, QUARTZITE'S FALL: A Wilderness Tale, and most recently,
CASTLE HOT SPRINGS: Oasis of Time.
Bill mixes the latest technology with an elegant cutting sensibility to give RIDERS a classic film aesthetic. Bill started his career in production at PBS, New Mexico. He is an owner at Quantum Leap Productions and has dedicated over twenty-five years as an editor and motion graphics designer delivering commercials, marketing campaigns, and TV shows. Bill's industry awards are numerous.
Bill's film & TV credits include Producer & Director of Photography on CASTLE HOT SPRINGS: Oasis of Time, and post on LIQUID EXTREMES, LEATHER and IRON, LOST WAX CASTING, ARIZONA ART & CULTURE SERIES
• Executive Producers, Billie Jo & Judd Herberger
• Produced by Quantum Leap Productions & Watershed Films, LLC
in collaboration with Arizona Opera
• Voice of Zane Grey, Peter Coyote
Executive Producer, Scott J. Hooker
• Co-Executive Producers, Jennifer E. & Charles Sands • Arlyn & Rex Brewster
• Co-Producer Zachery Hayhurst
• Camera, Bill Davis, Robert Pflumm, Greg Voigt, Steven Snow
• Audio, James Baldwin, Paul Baldwin, Charlie Ethridge
• Fiscal Sponsor, Arizona Community Foundation
FILMED ON LOCATION
Arizona Opera Center
Desert Mountain Communities
Ed Mell Gallery
Mormon Lake Lodge
National Opera America Center
Navajo National Monument
The Navajo Nation
Phoenix Symphony Hall
Pipe Spring National Monument
Rim Country Museum & Zane Grey Cabin
Scottsdale's Museum of the West