Arts and Culture / DU Alumni

Alum’s feature film opens weeklong engagement in Denver

Bobby Deline (BA ’07) was able to put his University of Denver education to good use while making his debut feature film, “The Aviation Cocktail.” Deline, a filmmaking major with a business minor, served as producer on the film, meaning he got to combine his creative and financial sides.

“I was involved on the creative side; I was involved with the actual filming and things like that, but for the most part I was more on the business side of raising finances and putting together the business plan,” says Deline, whose brother, father and grandmother all went to DU. “On set, it’s kind of a manager position. And now, during release, it’s all about sales.”

Deline and writer-director David Higgins are still fielding offers from distributors on that front, but since its world premiere in September 2012, “The Aviation Cocktail” has done well for itself, selling out three performances at the Starz Denver Film Festival last October and taking home a prize for best feature narrative at the Trail Dance Film Festival in Oklahoma. The film opens a weeklong run at Denver’s SIE Film Center on April 26.

Based, in part, on stories Higgins heard from his grandfather growing up, “The Aviation Cocktail” tells the tale of three World War II veterans whose lives are changed after the kidnapping and killing of a young girl in their rural Nebraska town. The film was shot over 18 days in Valentine, Neb., with a cast of Colorado and Nebraska actors. Deline secured investors with the help of James Baumgartner, a 2011 graduate of the Daniels College of Business.

“I needed help writing the financial part of the business plan, so I contacted the University, and they put me in touch with James and he came on and helped me out,” Deline says.

The two also pitched the project to the Valentine city council, which awarded them a $5,000 stipend to offset production costs. That led to the creation of a film incentives program in Nebraska that allows economic development funds to be used for the arts.

While he was a student at DU, Deline was part of Sheila Schroeder’s documentary film class, where he co-created a short documentary on the life of former Tuskegee Airman James Harvey.

“Everything you learn at DU you then apply to some facet of your life,” Deline says. “Being in that film program, you learn some of those mistakes you don’t want to make in the professional world. In this project I use more of my business education—as the producer I had to write an investment prospectus and a business plan, and I kept thinking, ‘Man, I wish I’d paid attention more in those business classes.’ A lot of it was a re-education, but I would say that the fundamentals I learned at DU were a huge help that carried me forward through this project.”

“The Aviation Cocktail” plays at the SIE Film Center, 2510 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, April 26–May 2. Visit for showtimes. For more information on the movie, visit




Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *