Pecos to host first ever red carpet film premier

Pecos to host first ever red carpet film premier

“This is the best kept secret in West Texas.”

It’s the opening quote for the trailer of a highly-anticipated new documentary film that will shine a spotlight on the Town of Pecos City, known today not just for holding the world’s first rodeo, but also for embracing energy and technology, from innovation in oil and gas production to blockchains and bitcoin mining.

But when director Breckyn Hager and producer/editor Ariana Borroto visited Pecos to research and create their documentary – interestingly called “Born in Denver” – they found the true heroes of their story to be the proud and resilient residents of Pecos. In fact, they fell in love with the city and its people to the point that they now call Pecos home.

“I don’t know how it happened,” Borroto said. “It’s how Breckyn says it, [Pecos] just draws you in.”

And so Hager and Borroto are particularly excited about holding what could be the most interesting film premier in history. On Friday, June 7, residents of Pecos and beyond are invited to watch Born in Denver on a 52-foot-tall screen at Buck Jackson Rodeo Arena, 1556 South Cedar St. The free event is sponsored by Chevron, as well as by the Town of Pecos City, Zubeldia Energy Services, bitcoin mining companies Core Scientific and Guadalupe Mining, and Cuneiform, Hager and Borroto’s film production company.

The event marks Pecos’ first ever red-carpet movie premiere. It will run from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. at the home of the world’s first rodeo.

Then on Saturday, a community celebration continues from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. at the Arena featuring live music, vendors and family fun.

Just before Friday’s screening, Pecos city leaders and innovators will speak about the importance of Pecos and the film that is sharing its story. Jonathan Harshman, Public and Government Affairs Advisor at Chevron, will provide the keynote speech. Also offering words will be Derek Zubeldia of Zubeldia Energy Services, Pecos City Manager Charles Lino and Matt Brown of Core Scientific, which operates a large data center in Pecos.

So why is a film seemingly about Pecos and premiering in Pecos called “Born in Denver?” Lots of reasons.

Though he was raised in Austin, Hager was born in Denver. But what also drew the veteran filmmaker to Denver was the growing worlds of cryptocurrency, blockchain technology and non-fungible tokens, or NFTs. In Born in Denver, Vitalik Buterin, who co-founded one of the world’s most valuable cryptocurrency projects, Switzerland-based Ethereum, states that “the de facto capital of core ethereum developers may literally be in Denver.”

The ongoing technology movement happening in Pecos is a result of that innovation in Denver. The readily available infrastructure and inexpensive energy available in Pecos makes the West Texas city a prime location for the burgeoning blockchain technology industry, Hager notes.

“It’s a film about people who are proud of their town, of their contributions to the region and to the world.”

“We learned the main fiber optics that run through America go through Pecos,” Hager said. “We learned that they want to be the first that does everything.”

Born in Denver offers a unique perspective on those separate but related industries. The film doesn’t force this point– the story is told closely by the documentary’s subjects.

“There was no agenda, we just filmed what [the people of Pecos] believed,” he said. “It was wholesome and common sense, which I think the world needs right now.”

The Pecos community believes in the film’s potential to tell their story authentically. In fact, the Town of Pecos City Hotel Occupancy Tax board approved funding part of the film production last year, and also recently approved a request for funding to market the film to promote tourism.

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Private screenings of the movie were held in the community to elicit feedback, which led to adjustments to ensure accuracy and authenticity.

The film is receiving rave reviews locally. Influential local businessman Derek Zubeldia called the documentary “incredible” after a recent private screening.

“This movie highlights the dynamic things that are happening in Pecos and the big role Pecos plays on the world stage,” Zubeldia stated in an earlier online post, adding that Pecos “truly is the capital of West Texas.”

Harshman, a representative of Chevron who works closely in the Pecos community, also lauded the film for elevating the critical industries of Pecos and West Texas as a whole.

“It’s a film about people who are proud of their town, of their contributions to the region and to the world, and of the many good things going on in the community,” Harshman said.

Borroto served as producer and editor in the film. A native of New Jersey, she came from an academic background with a focus on applied statistics. She had just finished her thesis when she took on the Born in Denver project. Like Hager, she was drawn by the technology but even more so by the community.

“To watch the movie and meet a community that is all for each other, uplifting each other and promoting each other is really special and unique,” Borroto said.

That sense of community made Pecos the hero of Born in Denver, and it also made quite an impression on Borroto and Hager, who decided to move to the city.

When asked about her experience living in Pecos, Borroto offered a recent example.

“Today there was a hailstorm and I was walking my little dog and we got caught in it,” she said. “As I’m running in the rain to get back to my apartment, Brownlee, the hardware store in town, they open their doors screaming ‘come inside, come inside, get your dog inside.’

“People will tell us that they pray for us, that they will help us in any way,” Borroto added. “It’s just very unique. It’s truly like a family, and it’s hard to grasp that unless you are here.”

Listen to this story at 2 pm daily via the Recording Library of West Texas