Tag Archives: independent filmmaking

Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat Chats With William Lu Director

Will Lu - Headshot copy

Director, William Lu, a native of Northern California, received his BA in anthropology from the University of California, Los Angeles. During his studies, he also served as an intern and development assistant for David Madden and Robert Cort at the Cort/Madden Company on the Paramount Pictures lot.

Use the link below to listen to the archived show.

Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat chats with Director William Lu

Subsequently, William attended the graduate film conservatory at Florida State University where he received his MFA in film and television production. While there, he produced the 35mm thesis film “Two-Bit,” which was a 2003 Student Academy Award finalist.

Upon graduation, he returned to Southern California where he was hired as an assistant at the SyFy Channel. Joining several FSU alumni, William then spent three years at Herzog & Company where he worked in various capacities in their television, web and entertainment marketing departments producing content for clients such as Disney, Paramount, Dreamworks and Sony Pictures.

Check Out Comfort The Movie directed by William Lu

In 2005, he was the recipient of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Armed with a Camera Fellowship; the grant recognized emerging media artists and funded his short film Spy Moms, which was shot over the course of one weekend. Spy Moms later screened at all the major Asian American festivals and made its cable broadcast debut later that year.

In 2006, he wrote and directed Asian Task Force, a half-hour mock pilot that paid homage to many of his favorite 80’s television series. The film was awarded “Best Action Short” at the 2007 Los Angeles Digital Video Film Festival and screened at the 2008 San Diego Comic-Con.

In 2009, William made the transition into new media and worked as post production supervisor at Machinima on their Terminator: Salvation original web series. He was subsequently hired at Maker Studios where he produced content for their gaming vertical. He also created and hosted the show “Retro Hardware” for the company.

In 2012, he switched to freelance producing, serving as a co-producer for Rosanna Pansino’s “Nerdy Nummies” blockbuster YouTube series, while simultaneously developing feature content that he could later direct.

In 2015, he directed the feature drama Comfort from his own original screenplay. The storyline and characters were inspired by the John Hughes movies of the 80’s, while Michael Mann’s LA nightscapes served as a stylistic inspiration.

Shortly after completing Comfort, he returned to Maker Studios, producing for clients such as SlingTV and Verizon Go90.

Stay tuned to Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat for other great interviews and more.

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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

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 November 11-14, 2015

WIFF LOGO 2015 WEB

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.

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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!

Flyway Film Festival #8 – Workshops – Days 1 And 2

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SPECIAL POST FLYWAY NOTE: PLEASE READ!!!

Those who attended the festival this year – PLEASE share your experience. What is/was your favorite memory, film, conversation, moment, etc. Let us all share with each other. I really want to hear from attendees. When I post I can only post what I experience, but if we each take a moment we can create a fuller living memory of the event.

Plus,those from past years who couldn’t make it this year can share what they liked from the time/s they did attend. In this fashion we can all enjoy and support flyway even after the festival. SO please start sharing everyone!!!

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Summary of Workshops Flyway # 8

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THE ART OF THE PITCH – UPDATE – 10:30 am.  Workshop with Erica Anderson. Main points, whether pitching for attaching director or cast, TV or film project, or financing:

  1. Stand for something. Care about it. People respond to your passion.
  2. What is your end game? Where is it going? Where will it end up?
  3. Who is your audience? Pitch differs according to who you are pitching. Tailor it to whom you are pitching.

Erica covered many excellent points. What are you offering the people you are pitching? Research the people you pitch. What have they done? Know who they are and their interests are so that your offer is meaningful. Practice your pitch and hone it.

Four NeedsWhy are you qualified? Why should you be doing this project?  Why is this project important? Why should it happen right now? Why should they get involved.

She covered the basics of a ‘money’ or ‘project’ pitch. She discussed elements of body language and how to conduct yourself  as a professional during the pitch.

Workshop attendees then had the opportunity to construct and practice pitches with Erica so that by the conclusion of the workshop they each had at least 1, 1-2 minute pitches they could use in the real world. All in all an excellent workshop. Well worth the time.

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MAKE A SERIES DAMN IT! – UPDATE – 1:30pm workshop with Julie Keck and Jessica King. Julie & Jessica have produced approximately 20 niche web series. Covered during the workshop:

  1. How to develop a series concept for the web.
  2. How and why to target an audience.
  3. Options for funding and distribution.

The workshop started off with a discussion of successful comedic web series. First Rule is to put your audience first. Know your target audience. Understand your audience so you know how to market to them.

They suggested you consider whose stories are being told in mainstream film and television. People gather online to discuss topics and these are ripe for story development. What haven’t you seen? What can you blend or mix that would be new and unique? Is there a place online for these?

Second Rule is think small. You aren’t a studio production. Keep it small. Use Only a few characters and a few locations. Keep it simple. Consider too the different platforms the consumers watch on, phones, computers, notebooks, tablets.

Rule Three how easy is it to share? Spreading it through social media. You want it to be cool enough that people share it.

Discussion followed on funding options: Independently funded.; Sponsored and product placement. Hand in hand with knowing your audience is knowing companies who are interested or cater to your audience. Crowdfunding.

Jessica and Julia spoke to distribution methods. Direct Distribution means you release your product through established channels. Do It Yourself (DIY) release to your own audience in a variety of ways.

The afternoon workshop ended. It proved to be an informative workshop for filmmakers on creating, financing and distributing web series. Great questions and answers followed.

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LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION – Panel 10:30 am Oct 23 What does a location manager do? To give everyone on crew a drama  free production. No surprises. Primary liaizon between location owner and production company. Always mind reading because they may received descriptions of room size and footage for dolly runs and type of equipment planned to be used.

The Location Scout receives story board, mood photos or description from producers and tries to match up with real world locales. Finding the location is part of the process. Gaining permission is the job of the location manager.

Charolette and Steve showed slides of samples of their work. Also must make sure location is returned not damaged and returned to its prior state when shoot is concluded. The L.M. notifies police and neighbors that film crew is shooting so everyone is aware.

From director Kristjan the location is not merely a place where things happens but also a character in the movie. Always visit location prior to shoot, between scout and shoot, to see what it is like in real life. How does it speak to you? It isn’t just for knowing benefits and issues of location but to get a feel for it.

Emily discussed permits and paperwork options in different cities and countries and addressed location schedule based on budget. Her recent film shot in Hong Kong which required government permissions and permission from the Triad. Her inspiration was to present Hong Kong through loving eyes as opposed to who it traditionally portrayed in film.

Nora spoke to shooting with low budget and keeping the story riveting. Here recent documentary was shot in India. She spoke about shooting in India without insurance or permits and how after these agreements were made, the producer tried to shake her down for money not agreed on. Filming always carries with it risks and caveats especially in other countries.

All in all a robust discussion from all panelists on making your location choices work for you. A fun and informative discussion with enjoyable visual samples.

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Crowdfunding To Build An Audience – UPDATE 1:30 pm Oct 23 with Erica Anderson

Focuses on crowdfunding but provides you the skills to build a sustainable career. Materials available for free on the Seed & Spark website.

Seed & Spark is a Crowdfunding and Integrated Distribution Site.

Seed & Spark wants better stories on the screen. In order to have better stories make it to screen you need to be a better business person. The workshop is to help you become a more successful independent business person filmmaker with an engaged crowdfunding audience.

Some points from the workshop follow. Time to think about:

 1. What things cost. You must consider cost in advance or needing the funds.

2. Who is your audience? Where are they? How do you get their email address?

3. Your audience must know and understand what your end goal is. Your end goal is the film project. They need to know that is why you engage them.

4. You can survey your followers and social media friends and followers. Crowdfunding begins long before your campaign begins.

5. You set the tone and must be consistent. Persist. You must create momentum and keep going for it. Need to ask realistic budget questions – how much will project cost? how much will incentives cost?

6. It is important that you succeed in your goal so you can deliver the film you promised you are going to make.

7. Think hard about incentives that matter to your audience. Have first day only incentives to start your campaign off with a bang. First week incentives, 2nd week etc.  Incentives can be delivered from the start of campaign until after the campaign.

8. People want to see the movie. How will you get it to them? When, where and how. Figure it out early on because people want to see your movie

9. Pitch video: The first 15 seconds are for your movie’s audience. Tease your audience with 15 seconds of what you movie is like. Comedy, horror, thriller, action. You have 90 seconds to say everything. Personal appeal is important.

10. Schedule your campaign in advance of it. Stick to your schedule.

Remember, this is a business. Learn the business approach and treat everything with that in mind.

There were many more important points that Erica made. Questions were answer. A valuable approach that filmmakers can utilize.

****

Listen To festival director Rick Vaicius and me discuss this years program:

Rick Vaicius On Rex Sikes Movie Beat Live

Visit Flyway Film Festival Official Website:

Visit Rex SIkes’ Movie Beat Official Site

Enjoy! I will!!! AND I did, very much!

I INVITE Festival Attendees to post comments in the comment section about what their favorite parts of Flyway Film Fest are. Who they saw, films they saw, panels they attended, what they did, where they ate, how drunk they got… you know all the good stuff! Leave some comments here and enjoy!

Flyway Film Fest – Day Three – Red Wing To Alma

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SPECIAL POST FLYWAY NOTE: PLEASE READ!!! – AND COMMENT

Those who attended the festival this year – PLEASE share your experience. What is/was your favorite memory, film, conversation, moment, etc. Let us all share with each other. I really want to hear from attendees. When I post I can only post what I experience, but if we each take a moment we can create a fuller living memory of the event. Leave comments in the comment box!

Plus, those from past years who couldn’t make it this year can share what they liked from the time/s they did attend. In this fashion we can all enjoy and support flyway even after the festival. SO please start sharing everyone!!!

*********

Another early morning working on blogs and then breakfast with Jake and Colette at Six Street String. Good, reliable food and service. Jake and Colette are off to Red Wing for movies all day until this evening.

I have work on projects so I am online at The Mineva for a large portion of the day. I need to speak with a S.F. director soon. We  have a number of projects we are working on together. I just typed that sentence when he called. We have lots of good news, hooray, and many other things to continue to discuss next week.

Later today, I plan to see Vanessa Hope’s ‘All Eyes and Ears’. It will be good to see her and Ted again. I am looking forward to this documentary. From there I shoot, literally, to Alma because I just learned that the narrative feature showing there, stars John McGlothlin.

John was one of the stars of ‘Girls Gone Dead’ a feature I co-produced and line produced in Florida back in 2010. The film has had a good life since it premiered. I haven’t see John since beers and burgers in L A 2012 maybe, when we stopped by Hotel Wilshire rooftop. I am looking forward to seeing him in ‘Dusk’.

Then I shoot back to Stockholm to catch (again I really mean shoot) Kristjan Knigge’s premiere of ‘Second Honeymoon’. Last evening, his male star, whom I met but can’t spell his name, arrived from Los Angeles.  Kristjan begins filming on Monday.

Director Zachary Sluser and other’s had to leave today. Fred Thorton and Sean Hackett needed to get back to L A too. These three, among others, really contributed to the fun and the finer aspects of this festival. They will be missed here these next two days.

A few of us at the Minema work on computers, others converse, some eat free food and coffee. Others are off seeing films and talking movies. One thing is certain, this is a fantastic festival to be at. I look forward to saying hello to the weekend newcomers.

NEARLY BREAKING NON-NEWS UPDATE – Day 3 – The Mineva – 4pm

The sun came out earlier this afternoon and it is a beautiful day. I have spent the afternoon working in the Minema. OR SO I thought!

A short while ago, I am gently startled awake by Kristjan who quietly whispered , ‘Rex, you are snoring.’ Given the acoustics of The Minema it probably sounded like a hog gunning it on the highway every few moment.

Kristjan was being very kind. I responded, ‘I don’t care’, and then promptly defended myself. Ahhhhh, apparently I need more sleep. Thank you Kristjan for attempting to save a man from himself. OR spare the room a noisy distraction. OR both!

As of now more people have heard the sound of my snoring more than anyone should in life.  This moment of self deprecation brought to you by, ‘I have no idea why’. Just some festival folly.

Mini UP DATE 4:50pm

I am not the only one! The rattling snore of another rises loudly in Mineva! I won’t rat out who the other snorer is but suffice to say, I am not the only one. In fact, I am in good company. HA HA!

Okay, not much of an update but more of an admission. Cool people hanging in the Minema though. Soon I will hit the road for Alma. I am eager to enjoy Alma, John’s movie and then race back for Kristjan’s.

I made the wonderful trip to Alma and was first to arrive at theater. A delightful venue it is. John’s movie was enjoyable. He was good. Impressed with the directors sense of style and transitions. I particularly liked the edit.

Once complete I shot out to Stockholm and enjoyed Kristjan’s movie. The theater was packed, standing room only and the film was enthusiastically received. Lead male and female were available for Q &A after showing. Was a delightful night. This film much different from Kristjan’s last offering in terms of style and feel.

He an his team shot the movie from concept to wrap production in nine days. Many of the questions afterwards centered around this. Went to Gelly’s for snacks and drinks. Got to speak with Kristjan and congratulate him.

Also spoke with Peter McCarthy whose short film Hunter’s Fall was riveting. It’s theme bullying and took place in the Irish countryside. His bullies were wonderfully cast and threatening. Jake and Colette, Jerry and Don, and Vince were at the table. An enjoyable evening.

One the way to Mineva, passed deer recently hit, Sheriff handling the wounded animal. 10 miles down the road one jumped in front of my car then leaped into the air, make a beautiful dance move, straight in front of my vehicle.

I slammed on the brakes and avoided hitting the animal. Having been cautioned by the preceding hit, I was going slower than I might have otherwise. Everything still ended up on the floor.

The Mineva was alive with food, flowing drinks and many new weekend film fan and filmmaker additions. I hung out for awhile but opted to return to work on this and my other blog.

An excellent day all around. Tomorrow I will breakfast again at the 6 Street String and return to Alma. I left my cap in the theater, but my plans were to visit there again before the journey home along a wonderful scenic route.

Hard to believe the festival will conclude tomorrow but memories will linger and so many of us will already begin looking forward to Flyway #9.

2014 MovieMaker Magazine named Flyway one of the top 25 coolest film festivals in the world. Cool it is! Here is the link:

MovieMaker Magazine names Flyway in Top 25 Coolest Film Fests

UPDATES WILL CONTINUE THROUGHOUT THE DAY AND NIGHT. Please check back for more info on what’s happening.

Listen To festival director Rick Vaicius and me discuss this years program:

Rick Vaicius On Rex Sikes Movie Beat Live

Visit Flyway Film Festival Official Website

Visit Rex SIkes’ Movie Beat Official Site

Enjoy! I will!!! AND I did, very much!

I INVITE Festival Attendees to post comments in the comment section about what their favorite parts of Flyway Film Fest are. Who they saw, films they saw, panels they attended, what they did, where they ate, how drunk they got… you know all the good stuff! Leave some comments here and enjoy!

Flyway Film Festival # 8 Unveils Lineup For October

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Now in its eighth year, the western Wisconsin film event soars higher than ever! Listen To The Discussion Using Link Below!

Here is The Flyway Film Festival official program selections for the October 21-25 festival. Flyway showcases top-notch emerging filmmakers from across the globe. Since its inception eight years ago, the Flyway has won accolades from industry professionals, filmmakers, and audiences for the excellence of its film program and for the festival’s intimate, welcoming atmosphere.

Full Festival Schedule Link At Conclusion Of Article

The festival kicks off with a party on October 21st, and the opening night film on October 22nd will be The Driftless Area, starring John Hawkes, Zooey Deschanel, and Anton Yelchin.

“We’re pleased to open the festival with The Driftless Area, since our festival is actually located in the geographical region of Wisconsin called ‘the driftless,'” says festival director Rick Vaicius. “And we have a particularly exciting mix of world premieres, international films, and regional filmmakers this year.”

Rick Vaicius Flyway Festival Director On Rex Sikes Movie Beat Thursday Oct 8 , 2015 (7:30am PST 9:30am CST 10:30amEST)

Use This Bolded Link Listen:

Rick Vaicius On Rex Sikes Movie Beat Live

Vaicius programs the festival with a special appreciation for talented first-time filmmakers, he says. “We like to highlight emerging talents like Britni West, with her beautiful Montana-based film Tired Moonlight, Trey Edward Schults’ amazing autobiography Krisha, Vanessa Hope with her insightful documentary about US-China diplomacy, All Eyes and Ears, and Jerome Thelia’s fascinating Bounce: How the Ball Taught the World to Play.’

“And on the other end of the scale, we’re showing films by two of the world’s oldest filmmakers: Al Milgrom’s Dinkytown Uprising, and Albert Mayles’ last film, In Transit,” adds Vaicius. Legendary documentary director Maysles died earlier this year at 88; the 93-year-old Milgrom is planning to attend the Flyway.

World premieres at the festival are Pictures of Lily, by British director Mark Banks;Remittance, by Patrick Daly and Joel Fendelman, and Second Honeymoon, by Dutch filmmaker Kristjan Knigge. This is Knigge’s second visit to the Flyway: he fell in love with the area last year, and is planning shoot his next film in Pepin shortly after the festival ends.

Visitors to the Flyway Film Festival can meander up and down the Mississippi River to the movie and event venues in the river towns of Maiden Rock, Pepin, Stockholm and Alma, Wisconsin, and across the river in Red Wing, Minnesota. A year-round tourist destination, the area is particularly scenic during the the Flyway, as the fall colors peak and the Mississippi River ‘flyway’ — a route taken by migrating birds — attracts birdwatchers from around the world.

In addition to showing films, the Flyway will offer a series of workshops and mentor sessions with industry experts such as Seed&Spark’s Erica Anderson, King is a Fink’s Julie Keck and Jessica King, location manager Charlotte Ariss, and filmmakers Emily Ting (It’s AlreadyTomorrow in Hong Kong) and Norah Shapiro (Miss Tibet: Beauty in Exile). Other industry heavyweights, such as Ted Hope and Brian Newman, will be around to chat with attendees.

New at the Flyway this year is a series of music performances preceding the films. City Pages‘ 2015 “Best Acoustic Performer” LOTT (Leah Ottman) will perform before select films, as well as singer/songwriter JE Sunde.

The festival kicks off with a party at the Villa Bellezza, a spectacular winery and event center in Pepin, at 6:00 on Wednesday, October 21st. Twin Cities band Fort Wilson Riot will perform, and Deirdre Haj, director of the Full Frame Documentary Festival, will give the keynote address following the kind of banquet for which the Flyway has become famous: a potluck.

“The Flyway is different from larger film fests in the region in that people really have time to talk to each other, to learn about each other, and to create community,” says Vaicius. “People leave the festival with the feeling that they’ve had a truly creative, communal experience. And that’s a rare feeling.”

For the full festival schedule, click here

The festival rundown:

  • Saturday, October 10, 4:00 PM: A program of short films will screen at the St. James Hotel in Red Wing as part of the Red Wing Fall Festival of the Arts.
  • Wednesday, October 21, 6:00 PM: Kickoff Gala with keynote by Deirdre Haj, music by Fort Wilson Riot, and festival awards ceremony.
  • Thursday, October 22: Workshops during the day; opening night film (The Driftless Area) at 7:00.
  • Friday, October 23: Workshops during the day; films begin at 7:00 PM.
  • Saturday, October 24 and Sunday, October 25: Films begin at 11:00 AM; closing film (Frame by Frame) at 5:00 PM on Sunday.

Click This Link To Visit Rex SIkes’ Movie Beat Official Site 

Rocky Lang | Producer | Author | Growing Up Hollywood

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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.! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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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.

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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