- ‘Beyond Rubicon’ star is an Albuquerque hunter and his father and brother, both residents of Farmington.
- The show follows the Cillessen family as they hunt big game in New Mexico and across the country.
- The second season of the Sportsman Channel show is in post-production and could air next year.
FARMINGTON – New Mexico has long been a magnet for hunters, and last year viewers of the TV show “Beyond Rubicon” were able to experience the thrill from the comfort of their own homes.
The Sportsman Channel show is produced by Brian Cillessen from Albuquerque. It plays him and his brother Jeff and their father Bill, who both live in Farmington.
The first season of the show, which comprised 12 episodes, aired on the channel in January 2016. Season two is now in post-production and could air in January 2018, according to Brian Cillessen.
The show documents the family’s adventures in hunting big game in New Mexico and across the country. It’s supposed to show “the real essence of the hunt,” said Bill Cillessen, who owns a Farmington general contractor called B&M Cillessen.
“My family has hunted for about four generations and the connection Brian and Jeff and I have when hunting is amazing,” he said. “I really went from teacher to student because Jeff and Brian worked really hard to learn not just the hunt but the entire experience.”
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The Cillessens focus on free range and fair chases on public land. Episodes included hunts for antelopes, Berber sheep, javalina, oryx, elk and deer.
“We want and we want to show what other hunters are doing in New Mexico,” said Brian Cillessen in a recent telephone interview. “Not everyone can afford private ranch hunts, and there aren’t many professional hunters. And a lot of people may scoff and say, ‘Don’t tell people our secrets about hunting in New Mexico,’ but it would be an injustice if … We didn’t highlight the public land of New Mexico. “
After serving in the U.S. Marine Corps for 22 years, Brian Cillessen plunged headlong into the hunting film industry. To shoot the first episode of the show, a team of six set out like “a bag of monkeys,” he said.
“Nobody wanted to talk about our idea, they wanted to see our idea,” said Cillessen. “So we shot our pilot and that became our pitch episode. There was probably not a piece of bark on a tree that we didn’t touch and make noise with. To have a camera crew with us that didn’t know much.” The hunt worked for us and against us; yes, we made a lot of noise, but because they didn’t have a lot of experience, we opened up a lot more to the camera, we explained things a lot more and that worked really well on them Transfer canvas. “
Another part of the show’s start came from good contact.
While serving with the Marines, Cillessen met Ann Lerner, who works for the Albuquerque City Film Bureau. The two started talking during a chance meeting at a Toys for Tots event in Albuquerque. Lerner asked what Cillessen wanted to do after the military.
“I told her I wanted to act, direct, and produce on a hunting show in and across New Mexico,” Cillessen recalled. “Her face brightened up and from then on she was a tremendous support.”
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With Lerner’s help, Cillessen met industry experts with film experience and a sense of adventure.
“I introduced Brian to some local filmmakers he could speak to who could help him produce his show,” Lerner said in an email. “And we talked about the ‘jack-of-all-trades’ in filmmaking, which I think isn’t all glamorous.”
Cillessen’s goal was to get his show on local or regional channels. But Lerner and his new connections pushed him to pursue a national network.
“With Ann’s help, we set some pretty high standards and hooked up with the right people. We were lucky enough to get along with Sportsman Channel and the rest is history,” said Cillessen.
In addition to starring two Farmington residents, the show also has other local connections.
Bill Cillessen said he and his son Jeff, who works for his father’s company, rely on local resources for everything from processing meat to harvesting to buying bow and firearm equipment that they buy from local retailers like Xpert Archery and East Main have made trading centers in Farmington.
“In the first episode Brian did, I got my first moose with a bow,” said Bill Cillessen. “I hate to admit it, but I turned into a crybaby on TV. But the feeling was incredible, I can’t even describe it, and I think it goes back to the primitive part of the hunt.”
Renee Lucero is a freelance writer for The Daily Times.