Converging: Low & Clear from the eyes of co-director Tyler Hughen


Tyler Hughen, Co-director of the documentary Low & Clear,  shares with us a special moment as his dreams come to life on the big screen at True/False film festival. We fell in love with Low & Clear from the minute we set eyes on the trailer because it speaks a language that all fishermen know, understand and cherish. Next on the agenda, Low & Clear heads to SXSW this weekend to showcase their film. We wish the crew of Low & Clear the best of luck in Austin and hope their Filson gear is treating them well on the journey!

I’m sitting on a flight heading towards the True/False film festival. Not sure where this starts, or how it ends, but the trail leading me towards Missouri has been long, difficult, and fueled by the most inspiring project I’ve ever been involved with.

For me, it’s a time of reflection like I’ve never experienced.  About 20 years ago I walked into a fly shop in Southern Colorado and J.T. Van Zandt was behind the counter, a big goofy hat on, and hair halfway down his back.  “We gonna hang out this summer?”, he asked in his way that means he is not really asking, rather declaring that him and I would in fact be hanging out.  It was my first day as an employee at the shop and after work we cruised down Hwy 160 towards a little Bass pond with a couple tall boys that I was way too young to drink legally.  It was the first year I started guiding, and the same summer we met the living legend that is Xenie Hall.

Over the next four years the three of us fished and did little else.  I thought of them as my big brothers, we fished wherever we wanted to paying little attention to rules that might slow us down.  For me it was a period of unbridled freedom. I look back on those years with a warm glow.  J.T. and Xenie taught me how to live with little obligations, no compromise, and a wild eye.  Fishermen know that feeling—that internal satisfaction when you’re exactly at the right place at the right time.  That’s how I always felt fishing with J.T. and Xenie. I’ll never forget it.

A few years ago we started shooting Low & Clear, a documentary about two fisherman who try to re-unite on a Steelhead trip to British Columbia.  They struggle to deal with how much time has past and find that they may have gone too far in their own direction.

As I write this, J.T. Van Zandt and Xenie Hall are in the air, converging on Columbia Missouri to meet me at one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world, where the film that I co-directed about them is going to premiere.

I am very proud and more than a little nervous. But, I feel that wild eye coming back. I know when we meet up and the opening credit sequence rolls–I’ll be in the right place at the right time.

Low & Clear Trailer