Making the film

I’ve always loved fun and off-centre documentaries. Films that engage even if the subject is about someone trying to beat the world record in Donkey Kong (King of Kong) or wants to make it in the film industry (American Movie). 

For a long time, I had searched for stories that would fit into that genre, but I hadn’t found the right subject. Then I met the Swedish collector Viktor Fredbäck, who hunts for jeans in old abandoned gold mines in America. Pants were worn by miners during the 19th century. Viktor had an impressive collection of vintage denim. But apparently, he was missing a pair from the 1880s. And until he had found that last pair, he couldn’t really rest. 

I was intrigued by this weird hobby and went on a research trip with Viktor to the Mojave desert. I soon understood that it would be difficult to find the jeans he was after. It’s a dangerous hobby, going down mine shafts can get you killed in many different ways. And it takes a lot of time to do it. Viktor would have to put other things in life on hold and risk a lot to even have a chance to get them. And to be honest, he didn’t really seem like the typical adventurer, rather the opposite. With all the problems I saw on the horizon, and with his determined mind, I thought that this strange subject could actually make a film. Soon Viktor introduced me to the community of denim hunters, and a new world of extreme collectors opened up to me. I have been in that world for quite some time, now I welcome the rest of you in. 

Denim Hunter is a film that celebrates the spirit of adventure and the pursuit of a dream, even when that dream is a pair of dusty jeans. 

– Emilio Di Stefano, Director