'Hopped up'

Everett filmmaker’s documentary does deep dive into hops

Nobody, including filmmaker Daniel A. Cardenas, knew were a routine assignment into the world of Yakima Valley Washington hop farmers would take him. Cardenas, founder and creative director of Bakerbuilt Works, ended up making “Hopped Up: How Yakima Valley Changed Craft Beer Forever.” The film recently was named "Best Feature Documentary" at this year’s Ellensburg Film Festival.

After 30 years of filming advertising and marketing videos, Cardenas decided to make a film that was longer than seven minutes. The idea hit him five years ago when he was hired to interview hop breeders in the Yakima Valley. When he learned that growing hops was a family operation that was oftentimes generations in the making, he wanted to tell that story.

A big fan of documentaries and beer, he says that the process taught him a lot about both. “We’re creative storytellers,” he said in an interview with the HeraldNet. “I’ve always liked that aspect of my job—interviewing people and having them talk about their passions. I learned a lot about the industry, which supports most of the Yakima Valley.”

A record 256 films were submitted into the Ellensburg contest this year, but only those that scored well with judges were eligible for festival awards, including Cardenas'.

Read the complete story in the HeraldNet (Everett, Washington).