John Hickenlooper didn't even know he had a cousin named George until one day in 1991, when a fellow in town for the Denver International Film Festival went over to the Wynkoop Brewing Company for a beer. Hickenlooper isn't a very common name, and those who carry it tend to take up uncommon careers — geologist-turned-barkeep-soon-to-turn-mayor, documentary filmmaker — so it wasn't long before they made the connection. "He's the only son of an only son," John says of George. "He'd never met another Hickenlooper."
And would Mayor Hickenlooper have given a filmmaker with any other last name as much access to his staff during the Democratic National Convention? "Possibly," says the mayor, "as long as the person had sufficient integrity." But it's unlikely that person would have filmed anything as smart and sweet as Hick Town, the documentary that George carved out of a hundred hours of video, turning it into six discrete, 22-minute segments (perfect for public television, or perhaps cable).
Both Hickenloopers were on hand Saturday for a sneak preview of Hick Town before many of the people who appear in it — including Governor Bill Ritter, Hickenlooper chief of staff Kelly Brough and former communications director Lindy Eichenbaum Lent. President Barack Obama wasn't there, of course, although George Hickenlooper captured his on-camera salute to "the other skinny politician with the funny name," as well as stunning footage of Obama's nomination acceptance speech at Invesco Field at Mile High. Also among the missing: the "Fuck the press" scene that made an early trailer.
That, by the way, is neither Hickenloopers' official position on the media. Mayor John was simply repeating advice some other politician had given him on how to handle the media. And as filmmaker George proves, the media sometimes gets the message.