Category Archives: Documentary

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!

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Weyauwega International Film Fest Aftermath: Movies, Director And Class

casting call clap board

It was a great festival. Nov 11-14. Ian Teal and Kathy Fehl, Holly Martin and staff and volunteers put on another great film festival. Number 5. If you missed it you missed another one you should have attended.

Great films and great people. Good hanging out, good conversations, good food and drink. All in all – a time well worth it.

We left, after the closing night party. I drove Jacob, Marie and Louis back to the Green Fountain Inn B & B in Waupaca. We were all pretty beat. Said good night and went to our rooms.

Sunday 11-15. I wrote my, daily inspiration and gratitude blog, as always starting about 3 am. Finishing up I went down for breakfast and to work on computer at table around 6:30. At this time I also loaded my car. I discover my tire looks a bit flat. Hmmmm

I had to leave by by 7:30 to make it back for a morning event. Later, I would film my role in, ‘Two Sides Of The Street’, a SAG short subject I was asked to appear in. Barb delivers breakfast around 7 for Jacob, Marie and I. After finishing a delicious meal Marie and I say goodbye to Barb, one of the owners of the B & B, and to Jacob. Louis slept in.

I drove Marie to Milwaukee’s General Mitchell Airport where she caught a plane back to Los Angeles. It was an enjoyable time talking all the way. I did stop and buy an emergency tire inflation canister and put that into the tire. We made it.

I left her at airport went to my morning meeting. From there my friend Jill accompanied me to the location for filming. My darling daughter dropped by, briefly, too. We finished filming some hours later. When I got to my car I discover a lovely note, my daughter left, on my windshield. Awesome girl!

Filming was fun, lighthearted, fast and easy. It was a very nice time. Special thanks to director Scott Covelli, Brian and Mike Hendricks and Matt Hudson. They were a lot of fun and made things easy. When completed Jill and I dined on delicious Mexican food. I felt as if I had consumed a small child when finished. It was tasty.

Recently, the Pro Cinema Society and I sponsored a SAG/Aftra workshop presented by Kathy Byrne of Chicago SAG/Aftra. During our time together she addressed how easy it is to utilize professional SAG/Aftra talent in student films, shorts and Ultra Low Budget contracts. It was a good session.

I asked the film crew on ‘Two Sides Of The Street’ the SAG short I appear in how easy it was to make it union so I could be in it. They stated they were amazed and delighted how easy and pain free it was. Paperwork was nothing and they were glad they did. I am glad they did too.

POINT- investigate, find out and you too can go SAG/Aftra. It isn’t worth it. Even some filmmaker friends of mine have been skittish because of contracts or paperwork. Don’t be. Read it and make your movie or short.

I arrived home early evening but it seemed late, after midnight. I relaxed, said hello to those I had left behind and enjoyed the company.

7:25am (present) Monday 11-16: I got some sleep. Woke at 3am and began writing blog again.  I will leave shortly for the university.

I have a guest coming to class. Director Michael O. Sajbel. Michael worked Visual Effects in movies, ‘Hot Shots’, ‘Lawnmower Man’, ‘Broken Arrow’ and others.

He writes and has directed, ‘The Ride’, ‘One Night With The Kind’, and ‘The Ultimate Gift’ and others. I am looking forward to his talk with my students.

Class was great. Michael come accompanied by his daughter Anastasia, and his assistant Sean. He spoke about how he got his start writing in Hollywood. He encouraged students to follow their passion.

He reminded them to remember basic survival skils while pursuing a career. Discover where you want to live, rent don’t buy a house, the need for a car, where to meet people and emphasized networking.

He told stories of working with actors and the importance of good communication skills. This is a must. Then, he shared some stories of working with difficult stars. He was candid and fun and added value to the class. This continued later.

When finished, he offered to stay and continue to speak with students who could stay. A group of students and the four of us went to the Student Union and chatted for hour or more. More tales and more sound advice.

From there the four of us went to Soup Bros for lunch. Enjoyed more conversation and good food. After another hour or so we parted ways. I returned to the computer to publish this post.

So that wraps up Weyauwega time and a short while after. Life returns to normal for a time being. I am so glad I had the opportunity to again make this festival. It was my forth year and it gets better each time. Next year, perhaps, I’ll meet you there.

Meanwhile, make your movies and complete your projects. Join me on my Inet radio show and podcast Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat – Visit INTERVIEW at the official website: Rex Sikes Movie Beat . There are over 400n hundred hours of pro filmmakers sharing their expertise. Listen and learn.

Also join me at ‘Inside The Film Business’ at  my Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat channel on Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat. I am video recording, via skype, my professional filmmakers who address my class. Watch, listen and learn and in both shows, RSMB & Inside The Film Business.

Enjoy!

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 2 – Nov 12

compulsion

Year five, day two of the Weyauwega International Film Festival is underway.

The day began with breakfast at the B &B with English Documentary filmmakers Jacob Hesmondhalgh and Marie Josephine Hobson. Their film ‘The Family and The Animals’ was filmed in Zimbabwe.

The we went super market shopping so they could by snacks and enjoy local flare, Wisconsin cheese and more.

It is now 1pm and the Gerold Opera Hostel is bustling. This afternoon starts off with a presentation from film historian Dr. Jack Rhodes. He presents the 1959 movie ‘Compulsion’ starring Orson Welles, Diana Varsi, Dean Stockwell and Bradford Dillman.

Directed by Richard Fleischer, Compulsion is set in 1924 Chicago and is based on the historic Leopold and Loeb murder trial. I saw it as a child and many times since. I am looking forward to the presentation.

Lot’s of food, snacks, drinks, popcorn and candy sold as film fans and filmmakers make their way into the theater.

Dr Rhodes stated he wanted to include this movie showing because his area of expertise in film is from the 20-60s. Edgy, different, studio releases from the classics period. Plus, it is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kenosha, Wisconsin native Orson Welles.

Cannes Film Festival divided best actor among the three, Welles, Stockwell and Dillman. Welles appears at about 67 minutes into the film and has one of the longest uninterrupted courtroom speeches in film history.

Similar to television series, Law and Order the first half of the film is about the crime, ‘the crime of the century’; the second half ‘the trial of the century’ the trial. Film also includes recently passed Martin Milner as a featured character in the movie. Other notables include E.G Marshall and Richard Anderson and Gavin McLeod.

Made during the era of the production code filmmakers had to find alternative ways to let audience know that the criminal partners were life partners.

Watch for the oval cupids in background during the staircase scene, or the dutch angels meaning tilted, and in one scene one literally exists the closet, meaning coming out of the closet. Dialogue, ‘are you ditching me for some girl?’ ‘Well, I couldn’t find you for three days.’

Daryl F. Zanuck producer chose black and white purposefully and recreated old world Chicago. Checkout the Art Direction and Production Design.

The Art Director, Lyle Wheeler,  won 5 Academy Awards out of 24 nominations. These were, ‘Gone with the Wind’, Anna And the Kind of Siam’, ‘The Robe’, ‘The King and I’, and ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’.

Willian C Mellor, Academy Winner, for Place in the Sun and Anne Frank. Check the credits for all the notable filmmakers who made this film. Among his notable credits is George Steven’s ‘Giant’.

Knock yourself out looking everyone up on IMDB.com Then, make sure you check out the film. A wonderful introduction by Dr Jack Rhodes.

Dr Rhodes conducted a fun post movie Q & A with other great tirvia coming forth. Welles, admits at his age he could not remember all the dialogue so he used a teleprompter. The difficulty keeping the prompter off camera. Proudly, Welles, asserts, ‘I did it in one take!’

That plus much more made it a fun afternoon of vintage movie watching. Short program begins in a bit!

Just met Milwaukee area author, director Ron Faiola and his producer John Prudlow prior to the screening of their short ‘Tilt-A-Whirls, Cowbells and Beer’ an exploration of Milwaukee area church festivals.

Slogan seems to be ‘Drinking for Jesus!’ This is Wisconsin and no one needs a reason to drink OR any reason will do. But ‘drinking for Jesus’ will now remain close to my heart.

Faiola is also known for ‘Wisconsin Supper Clubs’ film and the book and ‘Fish Fry Night Milwaukee’. Ron has become known as the filmmaker chronicling Wisconsin and unique Wisconsin happenings and rituals.

Ron and Jack fielded questions after the shorts segment. They discussed topics in the film; cost of festivals, weather, safety, dwindling numbers of festivals as a result, drinking, feeding, gaming. and more.

Wisconsin has it’s own way of entertaining itself. 10 years ago there were over 200 festivals. Today, that number is down around 120. What is next?

The USA/Australian Documentary feature ‘Polyfaces’ features one of the world’s best farms in action.  Workers from the farm answered questions during the Q & A. Great discussion on nutrition and sustainable farming practices.

These people now have relocated to a new farm in Princeton, Wisconsin. They have a much smaller farm and follow the tenants of Polyfaces. They cater special events and weddings with healthy food.

Today represented the 2nd US showing of Polyfaces. It is the first showing since it’s premiere and they chose Weyauwega. It is  a fascinating film and following discussion about how we could be eating healthier more often if more farms had conscientious healthy practices.

Shorts followed. Director Nathan Deming was in attendance answering questions about his short ‘Dog Days’. The film was his thesis project for the London Film School, in England. Crew working on Dog Days  came from Wisconsin, California, Norway, Spain and Lebanon.

Deming, graduated the film school and is now working on his first narrative feature about a young man caught up inn a religious organization.

Closing the evening will be the documentary feature ‘Peace Officer’ about the increasingly militarized state of American police, as told by former sheriff Dub Lawrence.

Lawrence established and trained his rural state’s first SWAT team who later shot and killed his son-in-law 30 years later. A sad, disturbing film on the use or misuse of deadly force.

The film ends. Conversation ensues as people make their way out of the Gerold which ends day 2. My English companions Jacob and Marie and I make our way back to the B & B. Turns out Nathan is staying there as well. Perhaps, all four of us will have breakfast tomorrow. I’ll report day 3 tomorrow, similarly as I have today.

Tomorrow, Friday the 13th brings out the Spooky movies at Weyauwega International Film Festival and begins the weekend.

Come and join the rest of us filmmakers and fans if you can!

I’LL UPDATE THROUGHOUT THE DAY SO CHECK BACK IF YOU’D LIKE TO STAY UP TO DATE WITH SOME OF THE HAPPENINGS HERE.

 

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.