Category Archives: low budget filmmaking

Rex Sikes Movie Beat chats with Twisted Dreams Film Fest Founders May 16

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Twisted Dreams Film Festival  was founded in 2011 by Christopher K House and Stephen Milek, two friends with a passion for the silver screen. Their goal is to provide the Milwaukee, Wisconsin community news, reviews and interviews of local and international films and film makers.

UPCOMING: Thursday May 19, 2016 11am EST, 10am CST, 8amPST To Listen Click The Bolded Link Below

Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat Chats with Twisted Dreams Film Fest Founders

About Christopher Kai House

A true film junkie from birth, can thank his parent’s for his obsession with horror and the macabre. Both being horror fans, Chris grew up watching old horror films, specifically the Universal Monsters collection of fright films. He was born into a family of magicians and was weaned on sideshows and carnivals bringing a unique perspective to the festival.

Chris say’s he was lucky his mother was as huge into horror as he was, he was able to see almost every major and indie horror film of the 1980’s on the big screen. Like his father before him, prides himself a showman and wants that to echo with each year the Twisted Dreams Film Festival runs. is a member of the Online Film and Television Critic Association.

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About Stephen Milek

A lover of all movies, Steve will watch anything from classic silent films to modern big budget action films. He got bit by the horror bug when in fourth grade at a sleepover he saw A Nightmare on Elm St. for the first time. To his mom’s dismay he watched more horror films than Disney films growing up.

After attending the Sundance Film Festival a few times he always wondered what it would be like to start his own film festival. Over time he became obsessed with the Oscars and for his first blog he watched every Oscar Best Picture winner in chronological order.

About The Twisted Dreams Film Festival

The Twisted Dreams Film Festival has been a project in the works for almost 5 years. Since the inception of the web page Milwaukeemovietalk.com where Chris and Steve cover the film industry and review films.

What started out as a simple blog about movies, it grew to have an emphasis on local films and filmmakers.They wanted a true horror film festival in Milwaukee that showcased the best in not only local but also international horror, dark comedy and sci-fi films.

The first year was a major hit with filmmakers and guests coming from all over the country and Canada.

The duo plan on having the fest a yearly event and hope it grows each year.

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Visit Chris and Steve’s Website:
Milwaukee Movie Talk Link

Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat – The Official Website (currently under construction). New content posted here since December 2014.

You can go to RSMB and listen to the archives. It has over 500 hours of professional filmmaker discussions with Rex. Visit Official Site to listen:

Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat

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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!

Script Consultant James Breckenridge on Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat 12/10

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James Breckenridge has worked in the entertainment industry for over 25 years. In 1995, his years of professional training and experience culminated in the founding of The PlayCrafters Group.

As its Director, he specializes in helping writers from all over the country develop producible scripts for motion pictures, television and theatre. Through creative counseling and objective feedback, he encourages writers to focus in on the essential elements of their stories in viably dramatic ways.

JOIN US LIVE: Thursday, Dec 10, 2015 11am ET, 10am CT, 8am PT Click the bolded link below. Chatroom open during discussion.

Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat chats with James Breckenridge, Script Consultant

His script development service has been rated in the Top Ten and recommended as the Best of the Best Buys in Creative Screenwriting Magazine’s review of leading script consultants from all around the country.

In addition to private coachings and consultations, Mr. Breckenridge has created a number of Courses and Workshops for the beginning as well as the advanced screenwriter.

Some of the most popular include Screenwriting Essentials, First Steps: Dramatic Steps to a Dynamic Screenplay and Pitching: Five Minutes to Fame. He has taught for The Bryn Mawr Film Institute, the Bucks County Writer’s Room,

The Writers Corner USA and the Lehigh Valley Writer’s Academy. For more information we invite you to visit http://www.playcraftersgroup.com or email us at HBCraft@att.net

As a featured speaker he has been invited to present at The Philadelphia Writers’ Conference, The Algonquin Film Festival, The Bucks Fever FilmFest, the Weyauwega International Film Festival and has also presented a number of seminars at the SCREENWRITING EXPO in Los Angeles, California where he was named “Star Speaker.”

Mr. Breckenridge served as Juror for the Theatrical Motion Pictures Nominating Committee for the Screen Actors Guild Awards, The Philadelphia Film Festival’s Feature Film Competition, The American Independents category for the Philadelphia Film Festival/Cinefest as well as the Bucks Fever FilmFest.

As a director and creative writing consultant, he has helped in the staging and conceptualizing of well over 200 dramatic scripts.

Mr. Breckenridge credits much his creative consulting instincts to his acting background. Trained for the professional theatre, Mr. Breckenridge received his undergraduate degree in Theatre at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point and his Master of Fine Arts degree from Temple University in Philadelphia.

Over the years, he has performed professionally on radio, television, film and on stage. Most of his acting credits came from New York City.  This work has also taken him to Europe twice, once touring Germany and Italy, and a second time, appearing at The Edinburgh Festival in Scotland and in London.

Though working fulltime for The PlayCrafters Group, he currently maintains active memberships with The Actors’ Equity Association and the SAG-AFTRA Union.

Past affiliations have included The Charles Maryan Workshop for Playwrights and Directors, Ron Roston’s Playwrights Lab/Writer’s Circle, Stella Adler’s Scene Interpretation Class and The Freestyle Repertory Theatre in New York City where he judged improvisations for structure, content and story development.

Mr. Breckenridge created and served as Director of The Breckenridge Workshops from 1983 – 1988. He was also a founding member of PlayMarket, an organization whose purpose was to assist dramatic writers in focusing and shaping their scripts towards production.

Presently, he is a member and/or supporter of The Drama League, The Dramatists Guild, The Theatre Communications Group and LMDA – the Literary Managers & Dramaturgs of the Americas.

One of James’ students summed up his experience with him this way: “ I have an MA in TV/Film, took several master’s level screenwriting courses. None as good as this!

Official website: Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat

Weyauwega International Film Fest Aftermath: Movies, Director And Class

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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!

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

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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!!!

Weyauwega International Film Festival November 11-14, 2015

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The Weyauwega International Film Festival will be returning November 11-14 to the Gerold Opera House in Weyauwega for it’s fifth year of films from around the globe.

This year the festival presented by Wega Arts will be screening forty-three films representing seventeen different countries. Many of the films were either made in Wisconsin or have Wisconsin connections.

This year Friday at the festival happens to fall on the 13th of the month which of course invites an opportunity to screen horror films.

Use Bolded Link Below To Listen

Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat chats with festival co-director Ian Teal

The Weyauwega International Film Festival (WIFF) has seized this opportunity to satisfy the horror hounds in Central Wisconsin and will be screening horror films and thrillers all day on Friday the 13th in what they are calling a “Friday the 13th Fright Fest”.

Most notable in this line up is the world theatrical premiere of the new feature film DISMEMBERING CHRISTMAS by local filmmakers Steve Golz and Kevin Sommerfield of Slasher Studios. They will be on hand to present their twisted Christmas tale at 9pm.

Another Wisconsin film screening on Friday is HAUNTED STATE, a blood chilling documentary which explores the hauntings of several locations in Wisconsin including the Stone Cellar Brew Pub in Appleton, the Pabst Mansion in Milwaukee and locations in Wisconsin Rapids and Merrill. The filmmakers including director Michael Brown of Appleton will be in attendance for the screening of HAUNTED STATE at 3:30pm on Friday.

The other Wisconsin film is the psychological thriller THE SCARAPIST which tells the tale of a distraught women who is let astray by a very demented therapist. The writer, director and star of the film, Jeanne Marie Spicuzza is expected to be in attendance for this entertaining thriller which screens at 5:15pm on Friday.

For those looking for a good possession tale there are two offerings. IN THE DARK by New York filmmaker David Spaltro offers a very spooky and original demonic possession tale featuring a mostly female cast which screens at 7pm.

At 10:30pm LUCIFEROUS promises to raise the chill factor with it’s story about a family that is being tormented by a very nasty entity. This unique tale features a real couple and their daughter as the onscreen family. This especially creepy film has lately been honored with several awards on the festival circuit.

Of course WIFF is not all about horror films. Some great feature films and documentaries as well as a wide variety of short films will be screened this year.

Wednesday’s lineup includes the documentary THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO CHARLIE at 5pm about outsider artist Charlie van Ness who started out making a wide variety of art objects featuring phalluses. The filmmaker follows Charlie for several years and his persistence pays off as there are some very unexpected and harrowing developments in Charlie’s life.

At 7:30pm on Wednesday the Sci-Fi film EMBERS screens. EMBERS is set in a post apocalyptic world where a global virus has wiped out the memory of everyone it infects. This is no zombie or Mad Max marauder flick, it is a very thought provoking and touching existential tale of identity and what it is to be human.

The films follows several characters as each morning they awake with no recollection of the day before or who they are. This film is a real conversation starter and is also beautifully filmed. EMBERS has an encore screening on Saturday, November 14th at 2:15pm.

Thursday features the classic 1959 court room thriller COMPULSION about the Leopold-Loeb murder case starring Orson Welles screening at 1:30pm.

The film will be introduced by noted Film Historian Dr. Jack Rhodes and it is also a free screening. The documentary POLYFACES screens at 5:15pm and examines the unique and highly sustainable farming practices at the Polyfaces Farm in Virginia.

This film is a real eye opener about the potential of sustainable farming and should be a must see for anyone environmentally or agriculturally minded.

At 8pm the extremely timely documentary PEACE OFFICER examines the results of the recent surge in the militarization of our police forces.

In Utah, a crime scene investigator offers clear and insightful examinations of several extremely violent cases involving SWAT teams. In a sad note of irony, this examiner’s family also becomes the victim of an SWAT raid gone wrong.

This film is one of those ‘Must See’ films for anyone who is a citizen of this world.

Saturday starts with a filmmaker seminar with local filmmakers Dan Davies, Craig Knitt and Rex Sikes at 10am.

An encore screening of the previously mentioned EMBERS screens at 2:15pm. The very entertaining romantic comedy DIRTY BEAUTIFUL screens at 4pm.

The documentary about Wisconsin Supper Clubs, OLD FASHIONED screens at 6pm with the filmmakers Holly L. De Ruyter & Brian Risselada will be in attendance and of course Old Fashioneds will be featured at the Gerold Opera House’s full bar.

The closing night film is a documentary about the state of photojournalism in Afghanistan. During the Taliban regime all photography was banned and women were severely oppressed. FRAME BY FRAME follows several young Afghani photojournalists who are again facing the threat of another uprising by the Taliban.

This film shows a truly beautiful side of Afghanistan that is rarely seen while simultaneously illuminating the dark reality and horror of oppression in a society that seems to be forever doomed.

This is an outstanding film and festival director Ian Teal states that this is a ‘must see’ of the fest. FRAME BY FRAME screens at 7:30pm and will be followed by an awards ceremony and reception with complimentary appetizers and of course, conversations about film.

The historic Gerold Opera House is celebrating it’s one hundredth year in 2015 and is only about a 25 minute drive West of the valley in Weyauwega and is conveniently located off of HWY 10. There will be soup and sandwiches available for purchase as well as fresh popcorn and a full bar so plan to make a day of it.

Tickets are $12 for a day pass which are good for any one film or a whole day of films. Festival passes are $30 and are good for the whole festival and also include a free large popcorn!

The full schedule can be found at wegaarts.org. Festival passes can also be found online and at the Book Cellar in Waupaca & at Rural Relics Antiques in Weyauwega. The box office can be reached at 920-867-4888. See you at the Gerold!