Mushroom Hunter Press Release

The Mushroom Hunter–Torg & His Buddies Have Hunted Morels for Over 50 Years

Selected to Appear at Indy Film Fest

July 20th & 24th, 2013

 The Mushroom Hunter is a documentary short of thirty minutes that tells the story of Martin “Torg” Torgerson and his buddies who have hunted morel mushrooms for over fifty years. The film splits time between basement scenes of storytelling among friends with a local hunt to France Park near Logansport. Hunters share stories including rattlesnake sightings, confrontations with land owners, one hunter’s bout with Lyme Disease, and memories of fellow hunters now passed away. The Mushroom Hunter is a film with themes related to friendship and the challenges that come with getting older.

morel mushrooms, documentary film, Winamac, Indiana, Indianapolis, France Park

On taking part in the documentary, Martin Torgerson reflects, “I’m thankful for the permanent record of our years hunting mushrooms that will be available for the rest of our lives and for the lives of our children and our children’s children. More than just stories of mushroom hunting, the film reveals valuable themes about camaraderie, bonding with family and friends, and the great outdoors.”

Mushroom hunter Vic Heater of Winamac, Indiana looks back on years of hunting with his friends and explains, “The only ones able to hunt, and it’s a sad thing with our older friends, are Torg and me.” Heater explains why he still hunts even after a battle with Lyme Disease that can make for tough going, especially when there are hills. “I’ve got 11 grand kids and when we go into the woods, we can keep alive the thrill of the mushroom hunting and keep alive all the tales I’ve gathered with Torg, Casey and the guys. We have many memories, and it’s kind of nice to share them with my grandkids. I want that to last forever.”

The score for the film was written and performed by Jeremy Vogt.  “Vic and Torg are such memorable characters,” says the Indianapolis based musician. “They really took me in a unique way to a place I’d never been through their quirky personalities.  I had heard of mushroom hunting before, but I never knew the cult following behind this pastime and some folks really take it to another level.” Jeremy explains that he was interested in working on the project because, “I’ve wanted to do a very organic, very raw, set of songs, and this film just had all of the elements for me to realize that style.  Honestly, I’ve always been interested in scoring films, writing sound textures, and composing music to become part of the scenes in a film with a sort of spontaneity.”

“We are really excited to be showing The Mushroom Hunter,” says Indianapolis Film Festival director Craig Mince. “The film really speaks to one of those treasured experiences a lot of us ‘Hoosiers’ grew up with.” The festival screens films from all over the United States and from more than 50 countries around the globe. This year the film festival celebrates its tenth anniversary.

The Mushroom Hunter was partially funded through the website Kickstarter and has financial backers not only from Indiana, but also states including New York, Virginia, Louisiana, Arkansas, Kansas, and California. The film will screen at the Indianapolis Museum of Art on Saturday, July 20th at 8:30 p.m. and Wednesday, July 24th at 4:15 p.m.


Bill Torgerson is the son of The Mushroom Hunter who gives the film its title. He’s an Indiana native and former basketball coach who now is a professor in the Institute For Writing Studies at St. John’s University in New York. His novel-in-stories Horseshoe is set in a fictionalized version of his hometown of Winamac. His debut novel was Love on the Big Screen about a college freshman whose understanding of love has been shaped by late-eighties romantic comedies.  His screenplay adaptation was awarded the Grand Prize of the Rhode Island International Film Festival Screenplay Competition.


Jeremy is an Indianapolis-based musician who has opened shows for artists including the Goo Goo Dolls, Counting Crows, and John Mayer in venues such as The Vogue, Lucas Oil Stadium, and Verizon Wireless Music Center. Jeremy has released two albums: Villains & Vocoders and People in Strange Places.


Martin is a 1956 graduate of Winamac High School who coached basketball and taught English for over thirty years at schools including Logansport, Caston, and Winamac.


Vic is a 1958 graduate of Winamac High School, served in the Air Force, worked as a carpenter, and then as a foreman at Winamac Steel. He has four daughters and eleven grandchildren.


Casey Jones is a 1950 graduate of Lucerne High School and worked at schools including Metea, South Caston, and Caston as a teacher, coach, and athletic director. In the film, Casey reads an except from his article “A Tale From the Mushroom Woods” published in the Pharos Tribune March 29, 2012.

morel mushrooms, documentary, Winamac, Indiana, France Park, film festival


Kenny Hattery, Casey Jones, and Vic Heater

Additional images and quotes from those connected to the film are available by contacting Director Bill Torgerson at <>.

PDF of Press Release

One Sheet For The Mushroom Hunter


What do a bunch of New York college students think of when they think of Indiana? (or the Midwest)

crystal meth, tornadoes, no public transportation, that 70s show, Indians, horses, the Derby, overalls, flat land, Indiana University known party school, dirt (3x), rural (2x), river, republicans, nowhere land, tumbleweeds (4x), western movies (2x), lots of driving, Middle of Nowhere (4x), Country, Boring (5x), farms (8x), Indianapolis, Indiana Jones, lots of land, cows, basketball, boonies, do you mean India?, sunny, hot (2x), wild, barren, plains, cowboys (2x), guitar, country music, Pacers (3x), Junior Gold bowling tourney, accent (4x), no idea, small (3x), cacti (2x), mountains, coyotes, snakes, Colts (2x), quiet  (4x), Larry Bird, potatoes, Michael Jackson (3x), close-knit, corn, flat, Hoosiers (2x), Dorothy, I’ve heard they talk like you’re supposed to talk, Peyton Manning, Reggie Miller, wide open (2x), cold, country (2x), animals, relax, agriculture, Notre Dame, Noodles and Company, hillbillies (2x), snow, never thought of it before this, I know it’s a state, good music, Bible belt, conservative, small town people, Where’s that? (2x), hicks, hospitality

I've never seen a tumbleweed in Indiana!

From “Torg”:  Why am I asking my students such a question?

A while back I wanted to finish the following:  my novel A Viking on the Subway, a script adaptation of Viking, revise my collection Horseshoe so that it is a novel-in-stories, and then do a script for it too.  I’ve finally finished all that, and so I’m turning to the next project.  I’ve been thinking that I want to write something that comes from my students at St. John’s University for my students at St. John’s University.  What I mean by that is that I think all of us here at SJU have a unique opportunity to meet and talk with people from all over the world who have all sorts of backgrounds.

Yes, we do have cornfields.

Even for those who are from the city, I often find that each student’s neighborhood, block, or building may not be very diverse.  In other words, a lot of us tend to hang out with people who are like us.  For this book, which might involve a road trip from NYC to my home state of Indiana, I’d like to draw on all the chances I have to see beyond stereotypes, write a story that flies past those stereotypes, and hopefully tell an interesting story that my students past, present, and future would enjoy.

My initial impression was that most of my students not from the United States wouldn’t have even heard of “Indiana.”  After all, did you know that Cote d’Ivoire is a country or that the Yangtze River is the longest river in Asia?  Perhaps you do, but I’m a bit embarrassed to admit, I’m not sure I did when I showed up here to teach writing.  For the most part, my students nailed it with “farms” being the most common answer.  I’m not quite sure where all the tumbleweeds came from.  🙂

Indianapolis, Indiana