Category Archives: directors

Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat chats with Craig Knitt & WildWood Film Festival 2/17

Criag Knitt WildWood Festival Co-Founder

Join Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat guest Craig Knitt Wednesday morning 2/17 at 10:30am ET, 9:30am CT 7:30am PT. Craig will discuss movies, movie making and the upcoming WildWood Film Festival held in Appleton, this Friday 2/19 and Sat. 2/20. Be sure to attend!
Be sure to listen to Craig. We may even get his to talk about graphic novels and his art.

Join Us As We Broadcast Live Wednesday Feb 17, 2016 10:30 am EST, 9:30 am CST, 7:30 am PST: To Listen Live OR To Listen to the recorded archived show click the bolded link below:

Craig A. Knitt is an award winning artist, filmmaker, teacher, performer, writer and creator who is currently employed with a national Arts-based pilot between the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Green Bay and the Wallace Foundation.

Craig is a founder of the Wildwood Film Festival, a festival dedicated to Wisconsin film talent. The past three years Craig has also been a volunteer for the Sundance Institute and the Sundance Film Festival.

When Craig is not busy teaching visual art, he is busy creating film projects or performing Improvisational Comedy with ComedyCity – DePere and DinnerTime Comedy.

He has many short and feature length concepts in the works and he hopes to develop a TV series that will be completely created using the resources of our fine state. 

Craig was the male lead in last year’s “Secrets of the Dead” which was premiered at the Gerold Theater in Weyauwega.

Wildwood Information:

The Wildwood Film Festival’s purpose is to promote Wisconsin film talent (actors, directors, writers, composers, editors, etc.). The festival strives to educate high school students and adults in film basics – script writing, story boarding, filming, lighting, sound, editing and marketing.

History

From its humble beginnings, the Wildwood Film Festival has been consistently dedicated to Wisconsin film talent. With its fifteenth event it will have showcased over 500 films that all have connections to the state.

The very first Wildwood Film Festival was held at the Historic West Theatre in Green Bay in 2001. The three-day event showcased ten films (including “The Hunt”, a full-length dark comedy created by the festival’s founders).

The weekend was a great success and sparked a second event that played for a sold-out crowd at the Crescent Theatre in downtown Shawano. 

Aspirations grew from there, and the festival found its roots in Appleton. Events have been held at the Performing Arts Center (PAC) and the Big Picture Theatre.

The Wildwood Film Festival continues to grow each year and the commitment to Wisconsin filmmakers and film talent is just as strong.

2016 The WildWood Film Festival is held in Appleton, Wisconsin. Coming up this Friday 2/19 and Sat. 2/20. Be sure to attend! For more information use the link below:

For More Information WildWood Film Festival

Remember to visit the official Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat at

Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat

Hope to see you all at the festival! Help Spread the word!

Weyauwega International Film Festival – Day 3 Nov 13

film reels weyauwega window

The 3rd official day, as I report, begins with breakfast conversation with Marie, Jacob, director Nathan Deming and myself. Food and coffee is marvelous at our wonderful B&B. I posted an awkward angle photo of a portion of my room on Facebook, just because.

Conversation was great. We learned a lot about Nathan’s project, screened yesterday and a feature he is currently in production on. Plus, lots about the Zimbabwe culture, and our filmmaker’s  stay there. Fascinating morning talk.

It is now after 1pm and the afternoon, Friday the 13th horror shorts and features began. Since Wednesday I haven’t seen a film I haven’t enjoyed. I don’t review movies, as a filmmaker, I prefer to enjoy other’s work because I know the effort that goes into projects.

I will point out one I did just enjoy. From Switzerland, the short film ‘Alekto’, was impressive in scope and effects for a 20 minute short. The afternoon horror shorts definitely creepy so far. Good stuff all around.

Nelson Oliveras, director of ‘A Dubious Night’, and his writer producer Mark Koch just arrived. Nice to say hello.  I happen to be in the short film so it is fun to be at the festival have some work shown too, this year. Nelson, Mark and I were called up for Q & A.

Question and Answers with documentary director Michael Brown followed his film, ‘Haunted State: Whispers From History Past’. Both shared haunting experiences while filming and investigating haunted historic buildings in Wisconsin.

Producer David Williams shared tales as well. They have a twelve person team of filmmaker investigators. Some of the locations included, The Pabst Brewery in Milwaukee,

The Stone Cellar in Appleton, as well as locations in Wisconsin Rapids and Merrill, Wisconsin.  The used a number of high tech investigator tools.

They point out that the film comprises the greatest hits, so to speak. They may sit in a room for over eight hours and end up with 20 minutes of material they then edit into a film. Lot of waiting and wondering during that time. Film fan s benefit from the editing.

Both filmmakers seem quite adamant about their experiences and not screwing around with these things. Both explained that they have been genuinely frightened while looking into these matters.

Spoke briefly with the director Brown and turned to see long time friend R. Michael Gull and son sitting at table. Michael appears in the Wisconsin made narrative feature ‘The Scarapist’ written and directed by Jeanne Marie Spicuzza who also stars. Based on a true story.

Michael received deserved audience accolades and answered questions at the film’s end. A disturbing movie to say the least! I got to chat again with Michael on the way to grab some food between flicks.

Then, I met, said hello to New York film director, M. Louis Gordon, just prior to the start of his short ‘Girl In The Chair’ shot on 16mm.

HIs film opens,  oddly reminiscent of Speilberg, Harryhausen, and ‘The Sound of Music’ if you can imagine such a blend. Clever, and fascinating mix of live action and animation.

Based on a true story, Louis stated he did not want to make a standard biopic. His blend, I described above, he said was inspired by and an homage to the Quay Brothers. I’ll say no more it is up to you to see it.

The narrative feature, ‘In The Dark’ directed by David Spaltro followed. Well acted possession horror. Wisconsin’s  Slasher Studio, ‘Dimembering Christmas’ directed by Austin Bosley was next in line.

I very much enjoyed the camera work in this feature. NIcely entertaining. Three of the filmmakers answered questions afterwards. Kevin Sommerfield, Marla Van Lanen and Zachary Allen.

They addressed shooting in winter, surviving the cold, the steadicam and actors on ice and more. One steadicam shot/scene was 5 plus minutes, timed and rehearsed; took 4 takes to get right. Fun film and good Q & A. I enjoyed chatting with Kevin and Zachary afterwards.

Closing the evening films is a Canadian feature ‘Luciferous’. Profoundly disturbing. It is after midnight and the festival resumes 10am tomorrow with panels and more!

Keep checking back – use this link – I will post updates throughout the day. Enjoy!

Weyauwega International Film Festival Day 1 – Nov 11

weauwega sudeince from back 2014

Weyauwega International Film Festival is underway. Shorts have been showing. Nice programming. I’m having an incredibly tasty pulled pork sandwich, cole slaw, and drink at moment. They make good food at the festival.

Short subjects began at 4pm. The are presented in blocks. I am eating while waiting for the next short series to begin.

Feature begins at 7:30 pm. So far so good. Festival is off to a great start. If you aren’t here you should be. We are at the Gerold Opera Hourse in Weyauwega Wisconsin – just west of Appleton. Come on out! Schedule and info at website link I provided.

Http://www.wegaarts.com

I finished teaching today at UWM. My guest writer, director Todd Robinson added incredible value to my students and me, and all those who will watch our discussion on youtube. A must!

Packed up. Said bye to the students. Left campus and drove a couple hours to Weyauwega. One of the most disappointing moments occurred along the way. I was planning on dining at a friends fabulous Soup Brothers restaurant before leaving Milwaukee, mmmmm; Richard’s food is awesome.

I opted instead to drive over an hour and stop at an incredible truck stop diner along the way. There I would enjoy their sumptuous truck driver fare! I’d have breakfast midday and I could barely wait to get some coffee in me too.

I pulled into the diner. Walked in. Horror of Horrors. I discover that about 2 months ago they tore it out and converted to a fast food pizza chain. UNBELIEVABLE! I can’t imagine these hungry, burly truck drivers are happy about this. Or anyone else for that matter.

WOW and I could have had wonderful soup!

Oh well, life goes on. I ate elsewhere, at another small diner along the way. No where near as tasty as the one that vanished but I got some food. A little while later I arrived at the B&B and slept until almost 4 when fest began.

I love this B&B. I’ll tell you about it in my last blog post. I know in one of the rooms next to me is or are filmmaker/s from the UK.

The food at the festival is delicious. I said that right. WOW this blog is a lot about food. I guess my shock at the diner is unrequited.

Drinks come in alcohol and non-alcohol varieties. The people are  fans and filmmakers. The films long, short, narrative, and documentary. There is something here for everyone. Friday the 13th is horror film day.

The shorts are very entertaining. If you can be here you should be. The cost is right, the films are right, the people right too! You will enjoy yourself, but only if you come on out! Hope to see you!

Riley Dayne & Rex Sikes Inside The Film Business: making movies, money, and marketing

the abundance factor

Riley Dayne & Rex Sikes Inside The Film Business: making movies, money, and marketing

New Filmmaker Video: Inside The Film Business: Riley Dayne​ is the writer, producer & host of the hot new documentary ‘The Abundance Factor’.

The Abundance Factor Takes You On An Unprecedented Journey into The Minds of The Worlds Most Knowledgeable Experts on the Subject of Abundance and Prosperity.

Dayne’s and Sikes’ discussion is filled with valuable information for today’s filmmaker business person!! Watch it today! IF you are interested in Abundance you want to watch to this too!

To watch click the bolded link below:

Riley Dayne & Rex Sikes Inside The Film Business

Riley has produced and directed numerous short films and independent documentary projects during his brief time in the feature film world.

Riley’s love of film started in the 5th grade when he shot and directed his first comedy film, “The Blair Ball Project” – a parody of the well-known 90’s found footage film, “The Blair Witch Project.”

Shortly after graduating high school with several academic rewards in both the theatrical arts and multimedia production, Riley’s career in the entertainment business began in Los Angeles, where he spent his time studying at the world renowned New York Film Academy.

Having graduated from the Digital Filmmaking program (Learning Cinematography, Direction, Screenwriting and Photography), Riley has continued working on his craft by producing & directing various independent  film projects.

How To Work with Professional Performers on your ULTRA LOW BUDGET Feature Film and Short Films

sag logo

Have you ever wanted to Work with Professional Performers on your  ULTRA LOW BUDGET Feature Film and Short Films?

Come down University of Wisconsin Milwaukee – Mitchell Hall Room B91 on Sunday November 8th to find out how you, can have SAG actors in you’re projects! All filmmakers and filmmaking students welcome!

This Workshop presented by SAG-AFTRA Chicago and Kathy Byrne, (Director, SAG-AFTRA Chicago) will show how you, yes, you, can afford to use professional actors in your low budget feature film!

“There is a contract for every budget level. Feature films made for under $250,000 are covered under the SAG-AFTRA Ultra Low Budget Agreement – come find out how easy it is to work with this contract. We also have simple agreements that you can sign to use professional actors in your short films and webisodes as well! If You’ve ever wanted to work with SAG-AFTRA and Equity actors this is a can’t miss event!” Kathy Byrne.

UWM campus in Mitchell B91 on Sunday, November 8th at 2 PM. Mitchell Hall is the large building on the NW corner of Downer & Kenwood. Free Street parking or pay parking at UWM Union Parking Structure on Campus.

This FREE workshop will provide you a service to highlight the benefits and ease of casting professional actors.

SPACE IS LIMITED! Please RSVP by Wednesday, November 4, 2015 to Kathy Byrne at kathy.byrne@sagaftra.org.

QUESTIONS? (312) 867-5508

SAG/AFTRA 1 E. Erie, #650 Chicago, IL 60611

Join Us! RSVP Today!!!

Bill Rebane | Director | Producer | Writer | Giant Spider Invasion

bill rebane

Listen To My Discussion With:  Director Bill Rebane.  Known for low-budget indie horror cult movies and more including The Giant Spider Invasion (1975), Blood Harvest (1987)  The Demons of Ludlow (1983) The Capture of Bigfoot (1979) The Alpha Incident (1978) Invasion from Inner Earth (1974) Monster A Go-Go (1965) and more.

He joined me Thursday October 15, when we recorded live, 8am PST, 10am CST 11am EST to discuss making movies and his career memories.

As an Estonian national, born in 1937, Bill (Ito) Rebane came to the United States at age 15 in 1952. Rebane’s mother was Latvian and his father, Arnold Rebane, was Estonian. After attending school in post war Germany, as a child, he conversed in four languages, Estonian, Latvian, German and Russian.

His passion for film was incited by the movies he saw on a daily basis upon coming to America, which helped him to learn and master the English language.

With intent to pursue a career in the performing arts, he attended the Art Institute of Chicago and the Goodman Theater, majoring in drama and, working his way up through the ranks at Chicago’ flagship television station WGN Television.

Use the bolded link below to listen to the archived show!

Rex Sikes Movie Beat chats with director Bill Rebane

Starting in the mail room (age 17,) Bill advanced rapidly to Floor Manager, Asst. producer and assistant to the Executive producer, providing him the opportunity to partake in countless daily live television productions in a variety of creative capacities.

This afforded him the opportunity to advance his ambitions as an actor and singer resulting in numerous live television appearances in shows like “They Stand Accused” (courtroom drama-series) and “The International Cafe,” musical variety syndicated series.

blood harvest rebane

At 19, returning to Germany, he met Producer Adalbert Baltes of Hamburg, Germany, the inventor of the one and only, 360 degree motion picture process. Filmed with one camera and projected with one projector. Baltes is credited in starting Rebane’s lifetime career in the Motion Picture Industry.

After working as a production assistant, Asst. Director and Director on numerous Cinema Scope Theatrical Short Subjects for Baltes Film,  Bill obtained the United Sates rights to the circular motion picture process “Cinetarium”. Two years later introduced the process to the motion picture industry of he world at United Film and Recording Studios, Chicago.

giantspiderinvasion

This event attracted such notable guests as Samuel Goldwyn, Roy Disney, Jack Warner, Hugh Hefner and Michael Todd Jr. Not counting hundreds of industry professionals from Russia, central Europe and Japan.

At 22 Rebane found himself to be millionaire. A short lived experience as, the costs of patents, legal fees and attempts to manufacture vertical projection systems, in that time, were beyond the means of the Company’s he had formed for the further development of the process.

His first independent production effort was “Twist Craze,” a ten minute musical theatrical short subject purchased by American International Pictures.  “Twist Craze” became an international success theatrically and financially. It enjoyed a 10 week holdover at the Oriental Theater in Chicago and, was a phenomenon.

rebane moNster AGO GO

This was unheard of for independent short subject theatrical productions of that time. Having earned twenty times it’s production costs, Rebane followed this success with another 20 minute theatrical musical short titled “Dance Craze” which surpassed the success of the earlier one and ultimately was purchased by Crown International Pictures for international release.

In 1963, Rebane turned his attention to science fiction feature film, “Terror at Halfway,” starring June Travis and Peter Thompson, becoming the first producer in Chicago to tackle an independent feature film production with a full union crew and screen actors guild talent.

A chance meeting with Ronald Reagan nearly attached Reagan to the film. However, Rebane’s financial contacts would not go along. They claimed that Ronald Reagan was a “has been” and not worth investing in.

rebane demons of ludlow

Unable to complete the film, Rebane suffered a financial and career set back and arranged for the existing footage to be edited by Herschel Gordon Lewis. Lewis went on to complete the film, and later released it as “Monster A Go Go.” A title and effort which to this day, Rebane wishes he could forget.

His interests in performing and with the professional contacts he had made by now led to his position as co-host of the Germania Broadcast at Chicago’s, WGES radio station. Americas largest and most popular German language broadcast in America.

This daily evening one hour live show allowed him to create, produce and host other Radio shows on Chicago’s first FM station WKFM Radio. Yet left time open for his day time job as National Public Relations Director and Asst. Advertising Director, for the American Distributor for the German firm Grundig Radio.

At 23, Rebane returned to Germany to take on the position as Executive in Charge of U.S. co-productions for Studio Bendestorf, Germany, in which he had a small interest. He opened offices in Chicago and Hollywood. Rebane commuted on a bi weekly basis dealing with all the major studios to attract producers to the then lower costs productions in Germany.

The-Giant-Spider-Invasion-1975-MOVIE-Bill-Rebane-5

Ultimately the films which found a partial or full home at his Bendestorf Studio facility and through his contact efforts were; “Dollar” (Goldie Hawn/ Scott Brady,) “How I Won the War” (John Lennon) and “The Odessa File” (John Voight.)

By the time Rebane was thirty, he had become a well rounded  film business man. He also gained the production and technical experience of a seasoned film maker. Later he moved to Wisconsin where he built and established the only full time feature film studio in the Midwest. It flourished for over a quarter of a century, producing hundreds of commercials / industrial / corporate image films plus a string of theatrical features all of which enjoyed international theatrical theatrical distribution and exposure.

For commercial film production Rebane  acknowledges and expresses his appreciation to fellow film maker, producer Jerry Gregoris, of Chicago for entrusting Rebane with the directorial and post production responsibilities and subsequent credits on films made for such prestigious clients as the Teamsters Union, The Republican Party of Indiana, State Farm Insurance, The City of Chicago, and Wausau Insurance.

rebane capture of bigfoot

In l984 Mr. Rebane took a break from production to become President and take charge of international distribution for The International Picture show Company in Atlanta Ga. (a public company) for the distribution of such product as; “Falling in Love Again,” Elliot Gould / “Slapstick,”Jerry Lewis,/Land Without Time, William Shatner and many of the Don Knots and Tim Conway comedy features.

Mr. Rebane has held a variety of executive positions in the motion picture industry throughout his career. He is a skilled filmmaker/ writer/ cinematographer / production designer / editor and film director.

He can further be credited with the following accomplishments;

• The introduction of the first 360 degree (wrap around) motionpicture process to the Motion Picture Industry of the world, that spurred the Cinemax process and today’s and Rotascope cameras.

• The creation of the Wisconsin Film Office.

• Producing, directing, editing and production designing at least one hundred commercial / industrial / corporate image / documentary and promotion films.

• Producer / Director / Writer / Director of Photography on 12 independent feature films, all of which have enjoyed successful international theatrical release.

• Producer / director / of one of the fifty top grossing films 1975. Gross 24 million dollars. l975/l976

• The creation and successful operation of the one and only full time feature film studio in the Midwest for over 30 years. The Shooting Ranch ltd. Studios.

Books• Author of the book, “Film Funding 2000.”

• Author of the Novel, “From Roswell with Love” 2009

References

Reference materials on Bill Rebane include but are not limited to:

• Book: Who’s Who in Leading American Executives 1994 ( U.S Registry)

• Book: “God’s in Polyester” Succubus Press / Amsterdam

• Book: Famous Wisconsin Film Stars (Badger Books )

• Monthly Publications

Reports /Wisconsin Report

Filmography • Blood Harvest (1987)

• Twister’s Revenge! (1987)

• The Game (1984)

• The Demons of Ludlow (1983)

• The Capture of Bigfoot (1979)

• The Alpha Incident (1978)

• The Giant Spider Invasion (1975)

• Rana: The Legend of Shadow Lake (1975)

• Invasion from Inner Earth (1974)

• Monster A Go-Go (1965)

Further reading

“Film Funding 2000” written by Bill Reebane

“From Roswell With Love” by Bill Rebane

Rocky Lang | Producer | Author | Growing Up Hollywood

Rocky Lang head shot 0009

Ever wonder what really goes on behind the veil of Hollywood? Rocky Lang, who grew up in the 90210, is the son of mega-producer and disaster master Jennings Lang, (Earthquake, the Airport movies and thirty-five other features), and dishes it all out in his book, Growing Up Hollywood, Tales From The Son Of A Hollywood Mogul.

Listen to ‘Growing Up Hollywood’  click the bolded link below:

Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat chats with author/producer/director Rocky Lang Pt 2

Previous conversation with Rocky. To Listen click bolded link below:

Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat chats with author/producer/director Rocky Lang

He grew up with the likes of Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood, Walter Matthau, Billy Wilder and many more. Told in a self deprecating style, Lang weaves tales of some ofHollywood’s most bizarre and never before told stories, including;! !

* Was his father really shot in the balls by the jealous husband of screen siren Joan Bennett?!

* The night he showed up to a pajama party at the Playboy Mansion only to find out is was a private dinner.!

* His relationship with Steven Spielberg prior and after his meteoric rise.!

* He recounts the brutal fights between Sydney Pollack and Dustin Hoffman on Tootsie.! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

hollywood r5x8_Cover_FINAL copy 2(1) copy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

In addition to writing seven books, Rocky Lang is also a film director, screenwriter and producer. He produced Ridley Scott’s White Squall, staring Jeff Bridges and the CBS Emmy Award winning, Titanic along with several other movies..

Rocky Lang has been involved in the motion picture and television business all his life. He  Executive Produced, “Racing For Time” for Lifetime Television starring Charles Dutton, which received a Best Picture nomination for The Image Awards.

Previous conversation with Rocky. To Listen click bolded link below:

Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat chats with author/producer/director Rocky Lang

Growing up as the son of veteran producer and Universal Studios executive, Jennings Lang (“Earthquake” “Play Misty For Me” among others), Rocky knew early on that he wanted to write/produce and direct.

Lang set himself on a track that has seen him produce and direct five documentary films including the award-winning “The Making of Tootsie”, assignments directing the long-running hit show “Remington Steele” and then on to direct three features, “Nervous Ticks”, (Columbia Tri-Star) “Race For Glory”, (New Century Vista) “All’s Fair”, (Moviestore).

Besides his directing career, Lang has had deals as a producer and director with Warner Bros., Universal, New World, CBS, NBC, ABC, Twentieth Century Fox, Cinecom, MGM and United Artists.

Lang is also an award winning screenwriter, having written several screenplays and has received a dramatic writing award from the Houston Film Festival for his original screenplay, The Low Post.  His screenplay, Crossing Memphis, was optioned by Quincy Jones and Columbia Pictures.  Mr. Lang’s script, The Babe That Struck out Ruth sold to ‘bel Films.

Rocky Lang was enjoying a successful lifetime career as a Hollywood producer, director and writer when, in 2002, his life was dramatically changed by his young daughter’s diagnosis of type I diabetes.  While continuing his work in the entertainment industry, Mr. Lang’s priorities shifted as he immersed himself in the care of his daughter and the chronic disease that now ruled their lives. 

Realizing that there was a need for products that educate, entertain and empower children and adults living with chronic illnesses, he wrote the acclaimed children’s book Lara Takes Charge.  Due to the success of the book, Mr. Lang has forged strong relationships with doctors, scientists, hospitals, drug companies and other major medical institutions resulting in a wealth of resources and support for his efforts.

rocky-Lang

His book Lara Takes Charge is in the hands of over 15,000 children, hospitals, and libraries.  

On May 29th, 2008, the American Diabetes Association honored Mr. Lang as Father Of The Year at The Beverly Hills Hotel for his advocacy for children living with diabetes.

He is also partner in the company Books To Film. TV, (www.bookstofilm.tv) an author and publishing service company that assists writers and publishers by helping them bring their books to Hollywood and the multi-media and entertainment industries.  

Lang has appeared at Book Expo America, Publishers University, Los Angeles Times Festival of Books and other conventions across the country.

He is also the creator of The CourageBag, www.couragebag.com designed for people living with diabetes which was recently bought by the international luggage company TravelOn  which was  featured on QVC. 

Mr. Lang has served on the board of Foundation School Community, a progressive school in Los Angeles, and the Health Education Advisory Board at Children’s Hospital, and The Los Angeles Community Leadership Board and ADA National Youth Strategy Board for The American Diabetes Association.

He attended the University of California, Los Angeles and has the honor of being the youngest director accepted to the American Film Institute. Mr. Lang lives in Toluca Lake, CA.

Growing Up Hollywood, Tales From The Son Of A Hollywood Mogul, is published byHLPI Books, $7.95, November 2014. Available from Amazon.

Rocky Lang Official Website