Private Project

Wendover: Why on Earth

When two close friends team up with a budding videographer to cover an elite secret artist retreat in the middle of the Utah salt flats, they are completely underwhelmed, but discover something different that completely changes their perspective on this borderline gambling heaven.

  • Adam Bentley
  • Adam Bentley
  • Adam Bentley
  • Denis Agar
    Key Cast
  • Candida Duran
  • Sam Reid
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Feature
  • Genres:
    Travel, WW2, Road movie
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 3 minutes 12 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    July 1, 2021
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • YEGFilm: Virtual Theatre
    August 1, 2021
    World Premiere
  • Mesa International Film Festival
    Phoenix, Arizona
    United States
    December 3, 2021
    American Premiere
    Official Selection
  • FAVA Fest 2022
    April 27, 2022
    Official Selection
Distribution Information
  • YEGFilm Distribution
    Country: Worldwide
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - Adam Bentley

Adam Bentley, the face of #yegfilm, is an Edmonton screenwriter, filmmaker, and founder of the International Festival of Winter Cinema. He produces video works on anxiety and distance in an era of climate breakdown and isolation. Adam was twice awarded the highly competitive Edmonton Arts Council’s Cultural Diversity in the Arts grant and is a two-time recipient of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts’ Cultural Relations grant. His works have been screened at film festivals across Canada, the United States, and Europe. His work has also been featured on Air Canada and CBC Television. When not writing or filming, he can be found biking, summer or winter, in Edmonton’s river valley.

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Director Statement

Wendover sits on the boundary between two worlds: casinos and the desert, Mountain time and Pacific time, puerile Utah and party-all-night Nevada.

Wendover, Why on Earth is land art without taking up the physical space. The experimental feature follows an artist, an urban planner, and a student filmmaker as they create a visual love-hate letter to the Wendover area. This letter includes the vibrant desert in Autumn, the industrializing Salt Flats, the old Wendover Airbase that was repurposed into artist studios, galleries, artefact displays using haphazard storage and preservation methods; and the crumbling remains of USA's World War Two-era atomic offence infrastructure sitting in late-Capitalist western USA.

Art-focused CLUI Wendover recasts the deserts and casinos as spaces of artistic experimentation, but also exposes the inherent human occupation, impact, and contamination as part of humans trying to dominate the fragile landscape.

When compared to the colourful, bright casinos, the old Wendover Airbase's desperate attempt to preserve the crumbling spaces in which the nuclear bombs were loaded onto aircraft before being let loose on the Japanese people, exposes our desire to be distracted from uncomfortable pasts by the dazzling, but fleeting present.

The entire work, primarily filmed in 2014, is narrated by the artist. He looks back on the trip seven years later and wonders, given travel's enormous effect on the global climate, the COVID19 Pandemic's exposure of much of the travel industry as an overpriced and complex distraction, and the Wendover area's extreme human and ecological inequities, whether the visit was exploratory and pleasurable, or voyeuristic and simply reinforced privileged perspectives.