Aug 7, 2015 8:57 PM

A storied career: NH Filmmaker George Butler

HOLDERNESS- The walls of George Butler's home hold the photos of household names. In a sense, they help tell the story of his storied filmmaking career. After nearly four decades, he shows no signs of hanging up the craft.

"There's a lot more to be done,” said Butler. “So, I'd like to make four or five other movies"

Butler's first film in 1977, "Pumping Iron", created a rock solid foundation for Arnold Schwarzenegger's career in bodybuilding.

"I must have had some clue that Arnold, I thought, would be a terrific big time star because I took 4,000 photographs of him,” said Butler of his experience with Schwarzenegger.

Although Butler has spent portions of his life in other parts of the world, his ties to New Hampshire run deep. During boyhood, Butler became friends with John Kerry. Then a student at St. Paul's School, Kerry would go on to become U.S. Secretary of State. Kerry has spent many nights at Butler’s Holderness home, known as True Farm. According to Butler, his longtime friend often has nightmares of the Vietnam War.

"We've got a lamp upstairs which we call the Kerry lamp. He's broken it about three times just thrashing it and knocking the lamp over," said Butler.

Kerry would later become the subject of Butler's 2004 film, "Going Upriver", the same year Kerry ran for president and lost.

Butler's lens has captured everything from politics to the planet Mars. Now it is aimed at Earth.

The film "Tiger, Tiger" delves into the story of a big cat conservation biologist stricken with leukemia. It tracks what might be his last mission to spot the wild tigers of India and Bangladesh, as he races to keep them from going extinct.

"There are now only about 2,000 tigers in India," Butler said as he discussed the film.

Close encounters with deadly animals were among the many challenges during the project, but Butler faces another daily obstacle of his own, Parkinson’s disease.

"I've been able to deal with it very well because I've got a lot of good people working with me,” said Butler.

Undeterred, Butler has made four films since his diagnosis. He plans to make more and knows well the key to success.

"I never give up, and that I'm used to difficult circumstances,” said Butler.

Saturday, Aug. 8, there will be a screening of, "Tiger, Tiger" at the Hopkin's Center in Hanover.

Butler will take questions afterward. Tickets are $9 or $5 with a Dartmouth College ID.


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