Napoleon Dynamite’s 15th Anniversary Screening Recap

“GOSH!!!” Over the weekend most of Napoleon Dynamite‘s original cast and crew were in Utah for a 15th Anniversary Screening, Meet and Greet, Talk Back, and Fundraiser. The event was hosted by the Utah Film Center, and was held at East High School . . . Yes! The home of the High School Musical movies.

Napoleon Dynamite 15th Anniversary Screening

The minute my wife heard about this event, she had the brilliant idea of having me join in on the celebration, selling my original home woven handicrafts out of Deb’s original boondoggle case!

Deb's Original Boondoggle Case from Napoleon Dynamite

In true Jensen family fashion, I got my wife and kids involved in the building of my epic boondoggle display.

  1. We started with a trip to the daughters’ favorite store!
  2. I built a basic frame out of 2×3 studs.
  3. I covered the front of the frame with 1/4″ plywood.
  4. With a little help from the kids, we painted the edges to prevent the plywood from showing through the “wood” planks.
  5. It’s a Jensen family tradition to sign our names on the base layer of a project (painted walls, paper crafts and in this case a Boondoggle display).
  6. I adhered Peel & Stick vinyl “wood” planks to the plywood.
  7. Using a sheet of pegboard as a stencil, I drilled holes for my boondoggle hooks.
  8. I attached the finished display to a thrift store table.
  9. The entire family set-up the final display at East High School!
Boondoggle Display - Napoleon Dynamite
Boondoggle Display - Napoleon Dynamite - Curt R. Jensen

In addition to Deb’s Boondoggle Case, the Utah Film Center had a display of original props and costumes from the film. My girls loved seeing Deb’s dress and Napoleon’s Time Machine.

Napoleon Dynamite Original Costumes & Props

In the display, they had an autographed film canister that had been signed by the entire cast and crew on the last day of filming. My signature has changed a lot in 15 years, so it was a bit like playing Where’s Waldo to find my name. Can you find it? (Hint, it is on outside ring on the lower left side.)

Autographed Film Canister from Napoleon Dynamite

The highlight of the night was introducing my girls to Jared and Jerusha Hess, and the cast of Napoleon Dynamite!

Napoleon Dynamite Cast
Napoleon Dynamite Cast

At first, the girls didn’t recognize everyone! But as soon as they heard them talk, they were instantly star struck!!! Pedro (Efren Ramirez) took animated selfies with the girls, Elizabeth shared her Tater Tot Churros with LaFawnduh (Shondrella Avery), and Napoleon (Jon Heder) reminded me that he helped me out with the boondoggle tying back in the day! My girls also told Jared Hess that their favorite episode of Yo Gabba Gabba is the one he directed with Jack Black. It was just like we were back at Preston High School, hanging out in a classroom in between takes.

Napoleon Dynamite 15th Anniversary Screening

The screening ended with the cast and crew sitting center stage to answer fans’ questions:

  • The cast shared their favorite quotes!
  • Jared Hess gave me a personal shout out – “HECK YES!!!”
  • Jon Heder explained that there is no “Napoleon Dance!” Only the first 16 bars or so were choreographed (by Tina Majorino aka Deb). The rest of the dance just came from his heart! So if you want to do the “Napoleon Dance,” just let your body go with the flow.
  • Jared shared that his little brother actually called home from school to ask for chapstick, and Jerusha once had a date that squoze her sleeves, saying “I like your sleeves. They’re real big.”
  • They also shared that prior to Napoleon Dynamite‘s theatrical release, Fox did a ton of FREE screenings to build up buzz about the film. Since so many people had already seen the movie, Fox asked Jared to film another scene to get these audiences back in the theater. Ironically, the Kip & LaFawnduh wedding scene cost more to make than the original movie that aired at Sundance.
Boondoggle Display - Napoleon Dynamite - Curt R. Jensen

The entire event was a night we will never forget! My girls were so excited to go to school this morning so they could tell their friends all about hanging out with Napoleon, Pedro, Kip, and LaFawnduh.

As for me, I personally enjoyed reconnecting with the cast and crew! Plus, hand tying all of the boondoggle for my display made me feel like I was back on set again! And as if that wasn’t enough, we sold every single boondoggle keychain that I tyed for this event! In the words of Napoleon, I’d say that is “Flippin’ Sweet!!!”

Would you like your own souvenir boondoggle keychain???

I will hand tie a custom souvenir boondoggle keychain for you! Jump over to my Etsy store to select your colors. Your Napoleon Dynamite keepsake will come with my exclusive Vote for Pedro enamel charm, and be packaged inside an acetate locker box. I will also gift wrap it in a “Reach for the Stars with Pedro” campaign poster . . . just like I did for the cast and crew at this weekend’s event!


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