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February 24, 2014 at 10:57 AM

‘Barefoot Bandit’ documentary mix of fact and lore

The Associated Press

EVERETT — The story of “Barefoot Bandit” Colton Harris-Moore is told in a documentary made by Canadian independent filmmakers Adam and Andrew Gray.

The brothers from Belleville, Ontario, told The Daily Herald in Everett that they became attracted to the story while researching a script on the 19th-century bandit Billy the Kidd.

Their feature-length documentary “Fly Colt Fly: Legend of the Barefoot Bandit,” premiered earlier this month at the Toronto film festival. It blends interviews with animation to tell a story that is as much about myth as fact.

“We didn’t want to come across as condoning a criminal, but we didn’t want to preach about it either,” Andrew Gray said.

Harris-Moore began breaking into homes and cabins on Puget Sound’s Camano Island as a teenager. Burglaries continued after he escaped from juvenile detention in 2007. They included stealing boats and planes in a cross-country crime spree that ended with his arrest in 2010 in the Bahamas. Now 22, he’s serving a seven-year prison sentence.

The directors said their film is about how public fascination with Harris-Moore made him attempt to become the folk hero his fans wanted him to be and how his growing fame became his downfall, the Herald reported Monday.

The film melds documentary interviews with graphic novel-style animation action scenes.

“What was really important to us was to tell the tale that was told through the media, which was the legend of the bandit, as opposed to what happened. Over the course of two years and all of the false information that would come out on the Internet, it was such a complicated story and the truth would often get lost,” Andrew Gray said. “Everyone sort of used their imagination.”

The Grays’ film doesn’t include interviews from Harris-Moore. That wasn’t something they realistically expected. Harris-Moore signed a $1.3 million deal with 20th Century Fox, with the money earmarked toward restitution to his victims.

Comments | More in General news, The Blotter | Topics: Canadians, Colton Harris-Moore, documentary


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