Arts and Entertainment

Film-video alumnus focuses on Penn State legend for documentary

Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State legend Joe Humphreys is already well known in the fly fishing and University communities, but one College of Communications alumnus is looking to share the State College resident’s story with an even broader audience.

Lucas Bell, a 2002 film-video graduate, is currently working on a documentary about Humphreys’ life.

A member of the Fly Fishing Hall of Fame and a 1957 Penn State graduate, Humphreys was an instructor for Penn State’s angling program for 19 years. The 87-year-old Humphreys, who lettered in wrestling and boxing at Penn State, still donates his time to teaching the sport.

The documentary, titled “Live The Stream,” isn’t only for a fly fishing audience, Bell said.

“Joe has fished all over the world but he still loves fishing in State College. He still loves fishing Spring Creek. That is his home stream. That is what he cares about.

“This story is what is really driving this film. We want this to be about fly fishing, but we’re thinking bigger than that. This is a film about a really great guy and a great story.”

The idea for the film sparked in February 2015 when Bell and a friend were at a fly fishing show that Humphreys also attended. Bell, who is a fly fisherman himself, had produced a documentary about the history of the Penn State Angling Program when he was a junior at Penn State and it featured parts from Humphreys.

Now, at the fly fishing show, Bell ran into Humphreys again, who remembered him from the documentary years earlier. Later at the show, Bell was watching the fly fishing film festival and wanted to produce something different. He approached Humphreys.

“I was like, ‘Joe, listen, I own a production company now. My wife is writer/producer. I also work in TV but we really want to do a documentary,’” said Bell. “‘Would you want to do a documentary about your life?’ and he’s like, ‘Well that just sounds fantastic.’”

Bell and his company Nomadic, which he co-founded with his wife, Meigan, began filming with Joe in May 2015. Until now, the film has been entirely self-funded and has been done in addition to the client work they complete, including projects for Discovery Networks, ESPN and more.

The group has been lucky so far, with all or some of the small four-member crew mostly driving from their company, which is located outside of Washington, D.C., to State College for shoots. Humphreys has even been generous enough to let them sleep at his house to alleviate costs.

While the group has a lot of footage of Humphreys in State College, it is now looking to raise funds to support the remaining parts of the film, which will require travel to fly fishing events around the world with Joe.

“I really want this to be a story with national distribution," said Bell. “More people need to know about him and more people need to be like him.

“He’s this tremendous fly fisherman, but I think for as great of a fly fisherman as he is, he’s an even better person. It’s really hard to describe him until you actually get to hang out with him. He’s so generous with his time.”

While the Bells and their studio enjoy doing work for their clients, this project has been special to them because it is all their own. They have always wanted to do a documentary, and Humphreys’ story is the perfect fit.

“It aligns with our work. It aligns with our beliefs,” said Bell. “We think people need to be outdoors more. Fly fishing gets people to care more about the environment. To actually do that and then showcase Joe’s life, and at the same time we get to work on a documentary we’ve been wanting to work on.”

Joe Humphreys works a stream as director of photography Chris Sellers and Lucas Bell chronicle the action. Credit: Meigan BellAll Rights Reserved.

Last Updated June 02, 2021