Wallace gets the spotlight in new documentary

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Photo by DELANEY BUFFETT A still frame of the Oasis Bordello Museum sign from the short film “Wallace.” The film will be showing in Wallace at the Sixth Street Melodrama and Theater later this month.

WALLACE — The city that calls itself the center of the universe is about to see part of its history on the big screen later this month with the upcoming showing of a new documentary.

Appropriately titled “Wallace,” the 18-minute long film is based primarily off information found in part 3 of local historian Heather Branstetter’s book, “Selling Sex in the Silver Valley.” This part specifically deals with oral histories from residents talking about the once booming prostitution industry in Wallace.

Director Delaney Buffett first got the idea for the project when she came across a mention of the Oasis Bordello Museum in a book called “Atlas Obscura.”

“I was just thumbing through the pages and saw it,” she said. “It seemed and sounded like a very interesting idea for a museum.”

It was from there that she decided to pursue the idea of filming something there.

By way of the Wallace Chamber of Commerce, Buffett was connected with Branstetter, who showed her that there was much more to the town’s history than just the Oasis.

“She was super open and collaborative,” Buffett said of Branstetter. “She made my life 10 times easier and was very inviting.”

Over the course of three visits in 2018, Buffett’s film crew shot the documentary in Wallace with the aid of Branstetter and Jocelyn Bachman of the Silver Corner Bar & Grill/Lux Rooms.

Some of the people that were interviewed did not make it into the final product, but the entire video is in the words of people from the Silver Valley.

During the course of the filming, Buffett found the people to be incredibly interesting, partly due to the candid nature of how they spoke about the prostitution industry and sex in general.

“That was such a gift for me as a filmmaker. They were very excited to share their rich and unique history.”

Without giving too much away, Buffett explains that the film is a nostalgic, yet honest, portrayal of the unique city.

“It’s a very rich story of an incredibly interesting town with even more fascinating people,” she said. “I think that it will hit close to home for people from Wallace and I hope that it does justice to the town and the history of the town.”

The film already made its world premiere at the Sun Valley Film Festival on March 16 and Branstetter believes that it was very well received.

“There was a packed crowd who was very expressive,” she said. “They laughed, gasped and talked a lot about the movie afterwards. We fielded a ton of questions, too, from people who live in Hollywood (and) L.A., as well as folks from Idaho who saw it.”

Silver Valley history lovers will have an opportunity to see the film themselves on April 26 and 27 at the Sixth Street Melodrama and Theater in Wallace. Showings on both days will be at 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at the Silver Corner Bar & Grill or online at https://abusinessdoingpleasure.com/

Buffett is excited to come back to Wallace for the showings and see the historic town once again.

“I haven’t spent a lot of time in Idaho because I’m from the East Coast, but I love (Wallace) … the people are so welcoming and there’s nothing like the architecture of Wallace. The fact that you take a turn off of the highway and you’re in this beautifully preserved town that looks like it’s straight out of any old western film is incredible.”

Those curious about Branstetter’s book can read our review of it on the News-Press website (Search — “Book review: Selling Sex in the Silver Valley”).

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