Category Archives: entertainment

Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat chats with David Murphy Casting Director

murphy headshot

David Murphy, casting director and acting coach, is co-founder of the Chicago  acting school known as The Green Room. Murphy, as he goes by, brings multiple areas of expertise to his teaching.

He’s worked in the acting field for 20 years. He joined the staff at O’Connor Casting Company in 2001. He splits time between casting commercials and teaching.

Around the casting office, there are two “David’s” (David O’Connor is the owner), so this David is often known as “Murphy”. He has conducted well over 50,000 individual actor’s auditions.

To Listen Live Or Archived Click The Bold Link Below:

Rex Sikes Movie Beat chats with David Murphy Casting Director

For 16 year Murphy taught at the Players’ Workshop of the Second City. He’s directed over a hundred shows ranging from improv reviews to children’s shows. He has created several touring groups performing for such clients as GE and Novis.

Murphy has worked as an artistic director for Bedlam Productions, has worked in casting for Toast productions and has been a consultant to several fledgling theatre companies.

murphy class shot

Beyond his acting and voice over credits, he has been a casting director, theatre director and instructor. What is not as widely is that he is a Reiki Master.

Reiki is a healing modality using energy. Often, unfocused energy can be at the root of an uncreative and uninteresting performance.

Have you ever had a poor audition and wrote it off as having been nervous, or simply not “on” without exploring further what was at the root of the problem?

He helps actors, through self-reflection, energy work and discovery of higher creative self, to gain better control of their instrument so they can be present during the audition and bring their best self to the room.

To Learn More about David, acting and commercial on camera classes Visit The Green Room Studio’s Website.

The Green Room Studio

PS I have been a student of The Green Room. Murphy and others have been my instructors. I highly recommend their offerings. I am enrolling in another class this week.

The official website of Rex Sikes Movie Beat can be accessed through the link below. Be sure to visit!

Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat Official Website

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 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 4 – Nov 14

the bar at weyawega opera

The final day of the Weyauwega Film Festival begins. Jim Breckenridge, script consultant launched the day with a presentation of what makes good screen writing.

He addressed, first, the business side of spec screenwriting, and the likelihood of selling your screenplay. From there he traversed the area of structure, subtext, events, dialogue and how to write good stories.

Other areas covered were conflict, internal meeting external conflict and depth of conflict, events, white space and closed endings.  There is a deep need for humans to bring order to their experience and have closure.

He suggest writers consider this when writing because readers, buyers and movie goers unconsciously are seeking. He proved to be a wonderful storyteller, which illustrated his approach to storytelling in screenplay form.

Hurt them then heal them. Create a character audience can identify with. Hurt them in some fashion. Then provide the opportunity for the character to heal.

He stated that while the film is written three times the script you use to make the movie must be well written to begin with. A very delightful and informative presentation.  A great Q & A followed.

Back in time, breakfast at the Green Fountain Inn, our B & B. a lovely place in Waupaca, began at 8am. Louis, the director from NY I mentioned yesterday in Day 3, Marie, Jacob and I dined on a delicious breakfast of, fruit, french toast, bacon for meat eaters, coffee, juice and conversation.

We took back roads to the Gerold Opera House to recreate the walk Marie and Jacob made yesterday. Deciding they would like to, they trekked 10 miles to the festival, stopping for a Wisconsin Fish Fry, nearby, for lunch.

The Upcoming panel on filmmaking includes, actors filmmakers Dan Davies, Craig A. Knitt, Kathy Fehl, Ian Teal, and me. Even cooler, the panel evolved into a round table which included filmmakers from Wisconsin, England, NY, Florida and more. Jim Breckenridge joined as well. A nice time around the table with cool people.

Popcorn is popping. Movie goers appearing. Movies begin shortly. It was good to be able to chat up with Craig Knitt and Dan Davies, both of whom I have not seen in a half a year perhaps. It was really nice to listen to Jacob and Marie discuss their film in the Q & A.

One of the commenters addressed a peculiar aspect of the film “The Family and the Animals’ by Marie Hobson and directed by Jacob Hesmondhalgh. There is no narration, there are no subtitles, the viewer is thrown into the same world the filmmakers were, however, as the commenter pointed out, which is accurate, the story is still very clear and easy to follow from the visuals alone. You get it.

Dan Davies, Florida actors, director and more presented a 3 minute preview of ‘Heartland Blues’ a feature to be premieres January 23 at the Marion TWin in Ocala, Florida. Directed by Sarah Ashley. In attendance are film’s producer, star Anthony Gilardi. Actors Joshua Holt and Alex Quinn.

All the shorts in this first block were interesting fare. Again, programming here at Weyauwega is something these festival presenters can be quite proud of.

The afternoon features are the post apocalyptic ‘Embers’ directed by Claire Carre and the Hollywood made, comedy dating romp, ‘Dirty Beautiful’ directed by Wisconsin native Tim Bartell.

Lot’s of good food. People coming in throughout the day. It was great to catch up with Cody Klimmer. We worded on the Hollywood Feature filmed in Appleton, ‘Bucky And The Squirrels’ directed by veteran television writer director Allan Katz.

Katz accompanied the film to Weyauwega #4 for a sneak festival screening of the feature prior to it’s premier in Appleton April, 2015.Since we finished the film and last saw each other Cody has been back and forth adventuring in the Far East. Glad to see him!

A stat not presented in the movie, or at least not yet, is that 80 percent of the brandy consumed in the world is consumed in Wisconsin. AND a whopping 80% of that brandy is consumed in Marathon County. Anyway, a tasty sweet drink you can absolutely lose count on.’Old Fashioned’ director Holly De Ruyter in attendance will address the movie afterwards. Old Fashions were served and plentiful here, brandy being a Wisconsin favorite booze after beer.

The Supper Club and the Doggy Bag was originated in Beverly Hills by Laurence ‘Lawry’ Frank and Walter Van De Camp on La Cienega. Embraced by Wisconsin hundreds sprung up. This movie is fascinating and well done. My cocktail is too! I have eaten many times at Lawry’s Prime Rib and had no idea.

I lived in Los Feliz and drove through Atwater nearly daily and never knew this tidbit I discovered on the Inet. Frank and Van de Kamp founded the Lawry’s company and created the Tam O’Shanter Inn restaurant in the Atwater Village in 1922. It claims to be the oldest restaurant in Los Angeles still operated by the same family in the same location.

From the movie: The old fashion come from a line of drinks created in the 1700’s. Sweet drinks originated during prohibition when rot gut alcohol was difficult to drink so soda, fruit, and other sweeteners were added to be able to swallow them. Brandy drinks are known world wide as a Wisconsin drink. Other areas make whisky or bourbon old fashions.

A relish tray, veggies, cheese spread,and bread comes first. Soup salad. Definitely steak, prime rib, fish or chicken. Choice of potato. Desserts optional. Often an ice cream drink finishes up the meal. A grasshopper or pink squirrel.

Signage had to be big, bold, Neon and colorful to attract drivers hurtling down the highways at high speed. Specials include; the traditional Friday night fish fry. Saturday night prime rib.

A movie point: Wisconsin is bordered by the Mississippi to the West, Lake Superior to the North, Lake Michigan to the West and tens of thousands of lakes and rivers so Wisconsin was ripe for the rise of the fish fry.

Having a large Catholic population who could not eat meat on Friday for many years PLUS prohibition combined to make the fish fry a Wisconsin Phenomenon. You must see ‘Old Fashioned’ and visit remaining supper clubs when visiting Wisconsin.

A supper club tradition is fresh and the best food ingredients; home made was/is the rule of the supper club. ‘Made from Scratch’. High quality; no frozen, pre-measured, packaged, precooked, just add liquid food staples that chains are known for.

Yes, I have given this topic a lot os space but it is a huge part of Wisconsin history, even if it did originate out west. The supper club is unique, and delightful.

Another facet of the S.C. is the social element and relationship with the owner and their family. Connections and friendship, community is what drives the supper clubs appeal. People liking people, hanging together.

Holly did a great job answering questions and made books and dvd’s available in the back of the room. Quite a popular topic at this festival as people lined up for drinks, product and to be put on Supper Club mailing list.

Since we are at a Wisconsin film festival I thought you ought to know.

Again, all the movies shown at this year’s festival were excellent selections. One or more may not be my cup of tea, but all were very good for a variety of reasons. Had you been here I am sure you would have enjoyed the program selections.

UP next ‘Frame By Frame’ follows four photo journalists navigating modern day, dangerous Afghanistan. Directed by ALexandra Bombach and Mo Scarpelli. A fascinating film.

The film concludes as does the picture portion of the 5th Weyauweyga International Film Festival. Now begins the thank you, awards and a reception party.

Festival Spirit Award goes to ‘Polyfaces’. USA/Australia
Outstanding Foreign Language Film goes to Austria, Germany ‘Everything Will Be Okay’.
Best Animated from Germany ‘Daewit’.
Best Narrative Feature, “Dirty Beautiful’USA
Best Narrative Short, ‘Beverly’, from England.
Best Documentary Feature goes to ‘Frame By Frame’, Afghanistan
Best Documentary Short goes to “The Family And The Animals’. England/Zimbabwe

Live Music, jazz band ‘Waiting For The Train’, drinks, cheese, crackers and camaraderie round off the evening. I had an delightful time closing the evening with the Florida filmmakers and Dan Davies I mentioned earlier.

When finished, the Gerold Opera House will close for the evening. I will drive Marie, Jacob and Louis back to the Green Fountain Inn.

Early breakfast before we part ways. Marie will accompany me back to Milwaukee to catch her flight to L A later on Sunday. Louis and Jacob will fly out to NYC and England, respectively, later in the day. Nice people all of them. I am glad I got to dine and know them a bit during our time here.

It will be ‘so long’ to Weyauwega and to Green Fountain Inn until the next time. If you are in the area check out the shows and happenings at the Gerold during other times during the year. Visit the website and Fb page.

Also be sure to book a night or two at Green Fountain Inn when traveling this way. All good. All good people, times, films and fun. Until the next time.

Hope you enjoyed this. I sure enjoyed the festival!

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!