A Conversation with David Taylor & Asche Helling

David Taylor as Max Rockatansky and Asche Helling as Imperator Furiosa from “Mad Max: Fury Road” at BIFF 2016.

We sat down with some incredible BIFF volunteers to get their insight on what it means to be a part of the amazing team that makes the film festival run.

Today we’ve sat down with David Taylor and Asche Helling who helped with security and costume design during the festival.

What’s your professional background?

Asche: I run Aithein Studio in Denver which is an animation, illustration and film production workshop.  Most recently, I teamed up with The New Flesh Workshop out in Conifer and we’ve produced prototypes for first responder armor that has since gotten international attention.  I’m just working on all kinds of really strange, interesting projects.  I’m also Founder/President of the Ghost Cat Alumni Agency in Denver.  Our mission is to debunk the myth of the starving artist, one graduate at a time.  Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design is our pilot chapter before we expand to other institutions.

David: I’ve done audio, camera, editing, maintaining film equipment at CU film school, everything from a mechanic to carpenter.  And security, a lot of international travel and driving camera bikes for bicycle races.  I’ve worked numerous Olympic torch relays…I’m up to eight Olympics now that I’ve worked.  It’s kind of the attitude “well sure I can do that.”

David Taylor on location.

Why do you volunteer at BIFF?

David: I’ve always enjoyed films and I’ve been involved with filmmaking for quite awhile.  I look at volunteering as an opportunity to work with local filmmakers and also some international filmmakers, and learn a little bit and give a little back.

Asche: I haven’t experienced anything like it and I’ve worked a lot of events.  This is a community of people coming together.  You show up and work this gala and there are conversations that happen at BIFF that you can’t find in other places, connections here that you won’t make in other places.  You’ll meet some of the best people you’ve met in your life.

David: This is my seventh year volunteering and I keep coming back because of the other volunteers and the staff.  I enjoy working with them throughout the year and many of us have become very close friends…lifelong friends

Asche Helling hard at work.

What volunteer experiences have you had at BIFF?

David: I’m a filmmaker liaison, I’ve been doing security for the film festival, and two years ago I got involved with doing some of the costuming. Last year, Asche and I did the Furiosa and Mad Max costumes together.  We have a good ability to bounce ideas off each other and figure out how to make things work.  She’s an incredibly talented artist.

Asche: Doing work behind the scenes in costuming is a culmination of the arts for me.  It takes so many people to do that kind of work that by the time you see something on screen, it’s a bloody masterpiece.  BIFF is special because not only do they have costumed characters at the opening gala, but those costumes are film accurate. You have people like me and people like David that work many months getting something exactly so, and we put on the character for the evening and give people an in-person experience.

David: I’ve always enjoyed creating costumes and props and have worked in some films doing that.  I get to be very creative with some of the things that we have to design.  I’m very mechanical.  I often end up with the nickname MacGyver because I can just look at something and figure out how to make it work.

Asche: Last year, we had many sleepless, caffeine-filled nights.  I’m a cyclist and in the last week of working on Furiosa’s costume, I wasn’t on my bike practically at all and if you’re a cyclist then you know that if you’ve been dormant for even a couple days and you’re used to 50 plus miles per day, if you put carbohydrates in your body at all, your muscles soak it all up.  So I go to put on these leather pants that we had gotten to fit just so, and they rip right down the middle. Well David had heard it from the other room, so he peeks around the corner with his cup of tea and he says “wait a minute, don’t move.”  And he leaves and he comes back with a hot glue gun.  You find out really quickly how much you trust another person when they have hot glue centimeters from you.

Join our crew of BIFF Volunteers!  Learn more and sign up at to Be a Volunteer!

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