The seed for Ethan Knightchilde’s documentary Ghosts of the West was planted during his childhood. “I grew up on the East Coast,” he notes, “and when I was about nine years old, I read a book — some adolescent tale about a ghost town and a lost mine. It was probably very Scooby Doo-ish, but there was just something about it that stuck in my head: an entirely abandoned town, and how do you lose a gold mine?”
Years later, as an adult in Colorado, Knightchilde was introduced to the ghost town of Ashcroft, and he started doing research about it and other towns, which made him want to visit those places. The result is Ghosts of the West, his exploration of ghost towns in Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota.
Knightchilde notes that his film crew visited every site mentioned in the film instead of relying on archival footage and photography. “Once you start getting into the subject matter, it was a question of the lives of those people who had lived that history,” he explains. “It would have felt very disingenuous and not very fair to not even visit the towns where they lived out their lives and homes and dreams — and violence.”
Ghosts of the West shows at 7 p.m. at the Esquire Theatre, 590 Downing Street. It will be preceded by a short film, Not for Today, But for All Time…, about historic theater preservation, and will be followed by a Q&A with the cast and crew of Ghosts. Tickets, $10, are available at ghostsofthewestmovie.com/ticketing.
Thu., Sept. 26, 7 p.m., 2013