Debra Granik’s Stray Dog & Working With Actors Symposium | Christopher Emmons’ Serial Daters Anonymous at the 2014 Milwaukee Film Fesitval


Two delightful offerings from Academy Award Nominated Director Debra Granik at the 2014 Milwaukee Film Festival. Okay, actually three. Winter’s Bone played and if you have never seen this movie it is a must for filmmaker and fan alike. It is a riveting exploration or rural life and murder and mystery, fabulously well acted and the movie that brought Jennifer Lawrence to the world’s attention.So that certainly counts but Winter’s Bone is a couple years old now.

The movie Debra brought with her this year is her recent documentary Stray Dog about a motorcycling, dancing, PTSD, dog loving Vietnam Vet. It is a fascinating look at and ride along with delightful real life characters. I enjoyed this movie very much. I also enjoyed meeting some of the real life subjects of the film who were in attendance. Go see Stray Dog.


What I found extra compelling and very valuable for the filmmaker was the afternoon symposium she conducted on working with actors. She she shared some of her thoughts, philosophy and methods for working with the actor to get their most realistic and captivating performance. She explained how she used this process too in writing and further developing the script prior to filming. She had four very apt and talented actors from the Milwaukee area to work with so audience members not only heard about what was important for Debra in working with actors and crafting the performance and the scene but we got to see it.

This workshop was excellent. Debra gave away a lot of great tips and advice that wise local directors would be willing to utilize and explore in their own work. It is this kind of panel, or symposium or workshop that is valuable to both the filmmaker attending the festival and the fan and Milwaukee Film Festival should continue to offer these type of programs when able. This workshop alone is worth the entire price of a full pass and it was provided for free. Kudos to all who helped make it possible the Milwaukee Film administrators and staff, Debra and the actors. Thanks!

sam page louise linton

Another event I enjoyed very much was the locally produced Serial Daters Anonymous feature film directed by Christopher Carson Emmons and Executive Produced by Sam Kozel. The film starred Louise Linton, Sam Page and Scotty Dickert along with local area cast members and local area crew. The DP is Nate Haban.

The film is enjoyable, I thought it looked great, was well acted in most all cases, and I really liked the musical score. I particularly applaud all these filmmakers (cast and crew) because I know the constraints they were under to get this film made and I am impressed with the job they turned out.

Louise Linton is delightful, and it is difficult to take your eyes off her.

Bravo to the Wisconsin area filmmakers for their turning out a well made local feature. There are some really nice performances from the local actors. If you get the chance to see it – see it!

It may or may not be your cup of tea, after all it is an unromantic comedy, but I am glad I saw it. I think you will be too.

SDA louise

Louise Linton’s character learns, at the alter on her wedding day that her fiancee cheated on her with her sister. She dumps him at the alter and then resumes her life attempting to recover from the shock and the hurt. What does she do to heal herself? Well, she decides to continue to meet men. When she does and they ask her out she grants them a single date, no sex and no second date. I guess that might make sense if you were upset with the male gender for betraying you. You might want to take some time to heal, to explore and to play the field before giving your heart to someone new. This is all understandable but she takes it a step further. She creates a blog and, post date, she writes about the man, but not in a very nice way.

Okay, well that sets the scene now it is up to you to go see it. It plays twice more at the 2014 festival.

Stray Dog shows again as well! Check the Film Festival calendar for dates and times. See you around!

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