In some counties, length is everything. 

Every Spring since 1928 thousands converge upon Calaveras County to see whose frog will jump the farthest.  JUMP follows three dedicated frog teams and a solo jockey as they prepare for their annual quest to be the County's top jumper.  The jockeys all take different paths to achieve their place in history: a coveted bronze plaque on the Hop of Fame.

For two decades, Jumping legend Lee Giudici has held the world record. He jockeyed Rosie the Ribiter 21' 5 3/4" inches in 1986.

This heartfelt “frogumentary” uncovers an historical community that still honors its connection to a Wild West past.  Inspired by a true fable: Mark Twain’s The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County


Shooting format:  DV
Exhibition formats:  BetaSP, DVD, miniDV
Total run time:  67 min.



Why Frogs?

It's a common first question received by producer/director Justin Bookey.  Growing up in Seattle, WA, Justin was not allowed to have any pets with fur, due to allergies. Unable to play with dogs or cats, he gravitated toward the many native snakes, lizards, and frogs.  He grew up to join the Declining Amphibian Population Task Force; he receives Reptiles magazine; and still enjoys mucking around a good swamp for a frog sighting.  In addition to all of this, he read lots of Twain as a school kid, and was amazed to find out as an adult that the Calaveras County Jumping Frog Jubilee is indeed an actual event. 

The Starbucks Conundrum

Justin's thoughts, upon first learning that the local Angels Camp Starbucks was fielding a frog jumping team in the Jubilee:

“’What a great angle,’ I thought when I first heard that.  A large corporation muscling its way into a long-standing local institution...  Surely this could add a dimension of old versus new, big commerce versus good old time tradition.  I was almost disappointed to find a low-key, down-to-earth group of employees who genuinely loved the area and the frog jump.  They were determined to just enjoy themselves, even make fun of themselves, and by no means take over any aspect of the event.  Dang, there went that angle…”