Filmmaker produces festival video

Published 7:04 pm Thursday, January 5, 2012

As a filmmaker, Nathan Bollinger is always looking for something new to film.

So when he moved to Niles last year from Tennessee, he wanted to capture something he hadn’t had the chance to film before — winter.

He couldn’t think of anything better than the Hunter Ice Festival.

So Bollinger produced a two-and-a-half-minute video for the festival last January.

The slow motion video, set to mystical instrumental music, shows people walking the streets of downtown and the ice carvers sculpting their art as snow flies through the air.

It also artistically captures the finished ice sculptures lit aglow by downtown streetlights.

When Niles Main Street Director Lisa Croteau first saw the video, she was amazed and bought the rights to it.

“We didn’t ask him to shoot it. But when we saw it, we absolutely fell in love,” she said. “He did an amazing job capturing the essence of the festival. You can’t look at it and not want to come.”
Croteau said it is a perfect marketing piece for the event, and she has it running in the Wonderland Theater and on the WSBT television channel.

This year’s festival takes place Jan. 13-15 in downtown Niles.

Other news websites across the country have picked it up as well, including Chicago’s WGN TV. News sites as far as Alaska and Louisiana have also featured it.

“We have very little money for advertising,” Croteau said. “So we have to capitalize on opportunities like this.”

Bollinger said when he shot the video, he was just trying out his new camera. He didn’t expect it to take off like this.

“I had recently moved to the area and had purchased a new HD camera so I wanted to test it out,” he said. “I hadn’t been to an ice festival before. I thought it would be a great way to capture something I hadn’t before.”

Bollinger, who owns a video production company in Niles, said it was “very much a test” video but he was pleased with how it turned out.

“It’s really cool at night because of the way the light bounces off the clear ice. It’s very contrasty. I like how it glistens and dances with the light out there,” he said. “As cold as it was, it was worth it.”

Bollinger has been doing video production since 2004 and works as video director for Life Action Ministries in Buchanan in addition to having his own business.

For more information on Bollinger, visit The Hunter Ice Festival video can be viewed at

By the numbers

30 — Tons of ice to be carved by world-class professional ice sculptors at this year’s festival

45 — Number of three-gallon containers of Hunter ice cream to be served at the festival. The ice cream is a reproduction of a product by Hunter Brother Ice and Ice Cream Co., which produced ice cream at the turn of the 20th century.

3,500 — The estimated number of ice cream scoops to be served at the festival

12,000 to 15,000 — The estimated number of people to attend the festival

6 — How many world-class ice carvers at the festival

100 — Volunteers that make the festival go

0 — How much it costs to attend the festival

40 — The estimated temperature for the first day of the festival, according to a long-range forecast. Optimal conditions for ice carving are 20 degrees and overcast skies.