Take a Chance

While we all wait anxiously for the Oscar winners to be announced this weekend, take some time to check out a new film that has a local tie. HBO Films’ “Taking Chance” will premiere on Saturday, Feb. 21. Based on a true story, the film stars Kevin Bacon as Lt. Col. Michael Strobl, of the U.S. Marine Corps, who came across the name of Lance Cpl. Chance Phelps, 19, a Marine who had been killed by hostile fire in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. Strobl, a Desert Storm veteran, requested to accompany Phelps’ remains to his family in Dubois, Wyo. Strobl was so moved by the support and respect for Phelps that he decided to capture his experiences in a personal journal.

According to the synopsis provided by HBO Films, “His first-person account, which began as an official trip report, gives an insight into the military's policy of providing a uniformed escort for all casualties. The story became an Internet phenomenon when it was widely circulated throughout the military community and eventually reached the mainstream media.” This lead to the production of the film, which is a 2009 Sundance Film Festival selection.

The movie is also notable in that Chance Phelps’ father, John Phelps, is the Featured Artist of the 2009 NatureWorks Wildlife Art Show and Sale, Feb. 28-March 1 at the Renaissance Tulsa Hotel and Convention Center. Phelps, an oil painter and bronze sculptor, was born and raised in Cheyenne, Wyo., and has lived in Dubois, Wyo., for 25 years. According to Phelps’ Web page, his art “exemplifies the history of the Great American West, beginning with the explorations of its vast terrain, the fur trade era and its mountain men, the epoch years of the cowboy, ranching and rodeo. His works portray the early years in American history through present day. A lifetime of cowboy-ing, horse packing, hunting and fishing lend authenticity to his subject matter.”

To learn more about the film, visit HBO's Web site. To learn more about the Wildlife Art Show and Sale, call NatureWorks Director Chelley H. Wallack at 794-9302 or visit.

— Joy Jenkins, CityBeat editor

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