Tag Archives: indiefilm

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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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 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weyauwega International Film Festival Day 1 – Nov 11

weauwega sudeince from back 2014

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

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

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

Http://www.wegaarts.com

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

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

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

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

WOW and I could have had wonderful soup!

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

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

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

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

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

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

the abundance factor

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

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

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

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

To watch click the bolded link below:

Riley Dayne & Rex Sikes Inside The Film Business

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

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

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

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

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

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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!!!