Valley filmmakers

Michael B. Dillon (left), Berick Cook (middle left), Chery Manning (middle right), and Dean Q. Mitchell (right) gather in downtown Palmer for a reunion photo.

PALMER — The creators, cast and crew members of “Proper Binge” and “Peaks and Valleys” can finally show the fruits of their labor.

Now the whole world can view these locally made films thanks to the long-awaited digital releases, a milestone over five years in the making.

Dean Q. Mitchell directed “Proper Binge” with Michael Burns, who went on to create “Peaks and Valleys” with Michael B. Dillon, who played a role in the former film and since worked on a number of multi-media projects in the community.

“Peaks and Valleys,” a raw, Alaskan thriller about a rural recluse who wants to be left alone and an afflicted young woman that literally dropped into his life.

“Proper Binge,” is a dark comedy/drama following the story of an unemployed alcoholic looking back while looking forward as he starts to come to grips with the damage caused by his addiction.

Berick Cook played the main character friend Jason in “Proper Binge.” He said that he’s been looking forward to this day for a very long time, and he’s excited to share the movie with his friends and family.

“Finally! It was like I was in this movie you can watch it now,” Cook said. “I am so happy because I had so many questions and so many people interested, saying, ‘weren’t you in a movie?’ and I kept saying, ‘it’s coming, it’s coming.’ To now be able to go, ‘bam, here’s the link. It’s right here. Go for it;’ it’s such a fulfilling feeling... It just feels like it’s been a long time coming,” Cook said.

Bradford James Jackson played the lead role of “Proper Binge.” Cook said that he saw an ad for auditions in 2009. He said that he hadn’t acted in a while and he enjoyed the chance to play alongside Jackson and see the film come into its own with everyone’s talents shining through the project.

“I did my thing and they liked it… It was so much fun,” Cook said.

Dillon recently hosted an official watch party for both films with cast and crew members at Klondike Mike’s to celebrate their achievements. He said they watched both films back to back and had a good time with the community.

Chery Manning used her marketing background to help raise funds for “Proper Binge” and even played a small role in the film.

“It was a passion project… For an independent local made film, I’d say it’s one of the top ones out there,” Manning said.

Mitchell said that he gets nostalgic thinking back to their days working on “Proper Binge.” He’s thankful to have made it to this point.

“We all have gray hair now,” Mitchell said. “It was one of the best summers of my life… We really didnt know what we were doing when we started the movie… The experience totally renewed my faith in humanity honestly… So many people...a hundred plus just stepped out of their shells... It was worth it,”

Dillon, Burns, and Mitchell are all Valley-raised filmmakers who worked with countless local groups and individuals to get these passion projects off the ground. They recruited actors and crew members from across the state.

Mitchell and Burns featured locals in the movies, and they filmed at several Alaskan sites for “Proper Binge,” including the Silver Fox Inn for the bar scenes.

“We relied so much on the generosity of the community,” Cook said. “Proper binge just kinda had a ripple effect.”

Manning and Mitchell are currently working on a film called, “Salvation Alaska,” and Dillon is working to get an Alaskan heist film he wrote off the ground while working with local artists with his company MoonDog Media. Dillon credited “Proper Binge” for laying down the groundwork for his future work and other locally-driven projects in the local film industry.

“If not for ‘Proper Binge,’ ‘Peaks and Valleys’ would not have happened at all,” Dillon said. “We’re constantly moving forward.”

“Proper Binge” is available on DVD and streaming on Amazon Prime and Tubi. “Peaks and Valleys” is available for streaming on Amazon Prime.

For more information, email Dillon at moondogmbd@gmail.com.

Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reporter Jacob Mann at jacob.mann@frontiersman.com

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