WoW ! It is incredible to be back in Pepin, Wisconsin for the Flyway Film Festival. This fest is one of my favs and you have heard me or read me rave about it in past years. Pepin and Stockholm along the Mississippi make it worth coming to the festival just for the view and the ambiance. This year’s expansion into Maiden Rock allow one to drive up the west coast of Wisconsin which rivals my own beloved PCH in many ways.
I saw a bald eagle this morning on the way to the Maiden Rock venue for a fabulous film presentation on crowdfunding with Erica Anderson from Seed and Spark. Seed and Spark has an interesting feature to their crowdfunding which allows contributors to cover the 5% funding fee which filmmakers should look into.
This makes Seed and Spark unique among other platforms. Illuminating thoughts and ideas, cutting edge practices and principles, and practical must do’s comprised her talk on how to successfully engage yourbaudience and crowdfund your film project. A very well thought out and informative presentation.
Okay, into the past. I got to Pepin by car at about 2pm Thursday October 23, 2014. This sleepy haven area is home for artists and others who help put on the festival by volunteering. There are some wonderful eateries, bars, local flavor, pumpkin patches and a couple very delightful wineries.
The drive in from Western Wisconsin and up along the western side of the Mississippi in Minnesota before turning back into Wisconsin is absolutely worth it and I look forward to it each year. Gorgeous! Upon arrival, checking in at office, running into some awesome filmmaker friends Fred Thornton and Sean Hackett, I spent some time taking in sights until the 6pm Gala began at the local and lovely Villa Bellezza Winery.
Villa Belezza is fairly new. Last year marked it’s inclusion as a venue for the festival. It is good to return there this year. A great hall houses more food and beverages than one can imagine. Free flowing wine, beer, soda, water, coffee all included. The desert table, if you enjoy deserts, I am sure is ‘to die for’.
Musical Entertainment was provided by Sun Gods to Gamma Rays. Rick Vaicius spoke, distributed Axe awards and introduced the keynote speaker producer Nicholas Gonda, co-founder of Tugg, INC.
After eating more than a human can handle and numerous glasses of wine, some soda, coffee and water this little, BIG, piggy made his way with friends to the Filmmaker lounger where partying continued into late night. More free food and drink. Goodness, someone cut me off. Actually, I don’t drink much, so water was what I enjoyed but the food… stop please…
So many awesome filmmakers to catch up with. David Potter and Jake Stetler and I held a corner down for a few hours chatting films and catching up. I’m so glad to see so many.
There is another upcoming panel this afternoon and then another winery hosts a wine tasting and cheese event – evening films begin after. The documentary panel was enjoyed by many. The panel included Jeff Spitz (Food Patriots), Jesse Roesler (The Starfish Throwers) Amy Elliott (Wicker Kittens), Jan Selby (Beyond The Divide).
Maiden Rock Winery and Cidery hosted a great wine, cider and cheese sampling. Jake and I arrived on time and got to feast as others came in for the next couple hours. From there we went to dinner at Gelly’s and then to movies at the Villa Bellezza. One feature I wanted to see at other festivals I saw here, Time Lapse directed by Bradley King proved intriguing and a great demonstration of low budget, one location filmmaking utilizing recognizable SAG talent.
After movies we enjoyed a late after party. MORE FREE FOOD at Cucina Ceci until about 3. The filmmaker lounge open at this time was another venue we hit before retiring for the day. Drinks and food flowed freely and wonderful networking and fun. Said goodbyes to Kim & Matt Garland who have to leave the 25th by noon to return to NYC. So great seeing them.
For regular Flyway Attendees who could not be here this year I include a list of other notables we are enjoying this year. Terry Reed, Anna Weiss, Jeremy Wilker, Fred Thornton, Sean Hackett, Kevin Pontuti & Mimi French, Jamie Carroll, Nick Coleman, Chad McLarnon, Rick & Diana Vaicius, Lu Lipold, Allison Lisk, Kristen Debner, Vince & Kristy Colombo, Brett Harding, Perry Lewness, Kristjan Knigge, among many others I apologize to for not mentioning.
Numerous interns from UW-Stout film department volunteer and add to all the great people and opportunities to network and discuss films and film business. A wonderful time. I share more later.
Flyway is a marvelous get together and some day soon you will have to check it out if you haven’t.
The sun continues to rise and the bluffs along the Mississippi are incredible! I hope to publish a photo to this blog later. Saturday the 25th and Sunday 26th are filled with films, fun, live events and fans! A great time. OK I am off to see the movies.
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