‘Aproximada’ makes waves

On the side of Mt. Pickett, nestled between the trees, stands an 80-foot ship that has never seen the ocean.

“We’ve both been there. We both heard the stories. We thought it would be an interesting story to tell,” said Dan Larson, co-director of “Aproximada,” a 15-minute documentary about the ship of the same name built by the late App Applegate. “It was just an amazing thing to see: this boat – this ship – in the middle of the forest.”

Winner of the 2016 Orcas Island Film Festival short contest, the documentary was the brainchild of island filmmakers Larson and Kyle Carver.

“I’ve wanted to do this film for a long time on App,” said Carver. “Originally, the idea was to make this film about App and Rivkah … it kinda turned into interviewing all the other people [about App].”

Carver first heard of Rivkah Sweedler when he saw her art displayed in Springboard in Eastsound. He soon learned that Sweedler lived with Applegate and felt inspired to share their story. As he and Larson researched more, they found the real story was about Applegate and his ship.

Applegate had hoped to sail the Aproximada to Cuba. Unfortunately, the vessel never made it down the hill, and Applegate passed away in June 2013.

“It was a great experience; we met some really great people,” said Larson. “It was nice to tell App’s story … I felt like I kinda got to know him through the archival footage that we had.”

Larsen and Carver’s documentary uses historical videos and interviews with friends and family to share Applegate’s passion with the world.

The two filmmakers had worked together in the past, both being employed in the field for several years. Carver owns Free Road Films and Larson owns Roam Studios.

“I’ve been in this business for over 30 years. I’ve edited some other people’s films. But this was the first one that I made,” said Larson. “It was my first film, really. And now I want to make more.”

Interviews were conducted in July 2016 and Larson worked 15 hours a day for three weeks in August making edits. “Aproximada” went on to win the 2016 Orcas Island Film Festival and the filmmakers decided to enter it into other film festivals around the country, including Cucalorus in North Carolina, which was held in November.

What do the award-winning creators suggest to aspiring filmmakers?

“Just go out and make it,” said Larson. “Find your story.”

Carver agreed, saying, “Come up with a decent story … Get a camera and go for it.”

“Aproximada” can be viewed online by going to https://vimeo.com/182559545 and entering the password “FreeRoam.”