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Dragons in Western Colorado

The small screen comes to Junction

Hank Braxtan and Arielle Brachfeld are both Colorado natives. Hank grew up with an interest in movie making. After graduating from Fruita Monument High school he joined the Army. After a time, he decided to come back to Colorado and pursue his interests in movie making. Arielle had an interest in acting at a young age but fell in love with filmmaking/producing as a whole. While they both started attending film school at the University of Colorado, Hank and Arielle meet. "I was auditioning for Hank's fan film of the Ghostbusters," Arielle recalled. She later said that when they shook hands at that audition they both felt something, and well, the rest is history.  

After graduation, they both headed to Los Angeles to pursue their dreams in the movie industry. Starting as production assistance and working their way up over the years. "We both missed Colorado" Arielle recalled. She said that the daily grind in L.A. was busy with no brakes. 

When they could break away they would come back to Colorado. In 2018, Hank and Arielle could not resist the call of Colorado anymore. So they packed their bags and came to Grand Junction. 

They didn't pack up their filmmaking career, however. "There is more opportunity than ever to make movies. It's really the golden age for movie making. Gone are the days of shooting on film, which really brings costs down, the streaming services that are popping up are really making it so anyone can make a movie" Arielle said. She and Hank have made a few movies while working out of their home office here in Grand Junction. Their most recent is Dragon Soldiers which was debuted at the Avalon Theater this last month. 

"From the begging concepts, we really wanted to showcase the beauty of western Colorado. From the red rocks to the deserts, the lakes, forests, and canyons. We wanted it all while we were in the early planning stages". During the debut of Dragon Soldiers, it was evident that Arielle wasn't joking. Shots of Fruita were present from the beginning of the film. A local law firm served as the mayor's office, and shots from on the Mesa and the Monument were all throughout the movie. Arielle recalled that the missing posters were done on a phone pole just outside The Hot Tomato in Fruita, and the night cave scenes were shot in the boulder fields on the Redlands Mesa Golf Course. "I really want to give a shout out to the Redlands Mesa Golf Course, Western Colorado Community College, Colorado Mesa University, the Avalon Theater, and the Veteran's Community here in GJ. They were all extremely helpful in the production of this movie and we couldn't have done it without them," Arielle continued, "Local veterans gave our actors a mini boot camp and taught them how to hold weapons, how operators would act, and one even let us use his Jeep for the movie. It was really cool for them to offer their expertise". 

We here at Grand Junction Lifestyle would like to thank Hank, Arielle, and all of the people and sponsors for bringing such a cool experience to our community. You can watch Dragon Soldiers on Amazon, iTunes, Walmart, and other streaming services. 

Also, look out for Hank and Arielle's next movie "Jurassic Hunt". It will be available on August 24th from those same distributors, and look out for familiar sights because that was shot at Glade Park!

  • Hank and Arielle