Sunday, January 28, 2007

“Off Broadway” – principal photography day 7

Day seven was filled with more great performances, lots of extras, and bitterly cold weather. The shot list was filled exclusively with exterior shots (perfect for a cold day) but the Lied Center was gracious enough to allow us to spend time in their beautiful lobby area where the heat was cranked and the bagels and hot coffee was flowing. All of the planned shots were accomplished and they’re one step closer. One day left and principal photography is over. The editor has started logging footage this week.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

“Heart of the City” – audio edit day 8

How many days does it take to completely mix the audio for a feature film? I’ll let you know when we’re done. Whenever that is.

Had another great evening tonight. We had (hopefully) our last actor in for ADR and it was probably the best ADR session we’ve had. Very smooth, very quick, very painless. Matt’s spent quite a bit of time over the last week placing and mixing all of the previously recorded ADR files and tonight we uploaded some of the original DAT audio for the two problematic board room scenes, so we should have everything we need to complete the movie audio. In another week or so, we’ll go through the film one last time to see if we need anything else but with the exception of the four remaining songs that we need for the soundtrack (two of which I think we have a handle on) we should be ready to export the audio stems.

One step closer...

Sunday, January 21, 2007

“Heart of the City” – audio edit day 7

Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Yes, more audio work was on tap for the PM portion of this Saturday. ADR work for two remaining actors is necessary so one of them was scheduled for today. In and out in less than a half hour. We’re getting good at this. Plus Paul didn’t have that many lines and we’re only redoing two scenes. One more actor for ADR, hopefully this coming Thursday evening.

After completing the ADR work, we started at about the 80 minute mark (where we left off last time) and jumped back into the Foley/EFX work and by 11:00, we completely made it through the film.

Over the last week Matt spent a lot of time placing all of the previously ADR’d recordings so after Thursday, all we’ll have left is replacing the four soundtrack songs.

Special thanks to Carolyn’s necklace.

In non-HOTC news, I personally know about three separate (and completely unrelated) film projects that were all filming today by different groups (two short films and one music video). Lots of stuff going on here in town. Very cool. Good luck to Christopher, Chris and Susan on your respective projects.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

“Heart of the City” – audio edit day 6

For those of you that remember my dissertations on sound editing from before, we got a few steps closer today. We had the last 15-20 minutes of the movie to finish laying down beds and working on mixing so we got that accomplished, then we started back at 0:00:00 to look for any Foley/EFX work that was missing. A few hours later we got through 80 minutes of the film.

One of the big things we needed to determine today was if we had decent enough audio for the two board room scenes and after going through everything we have, we are (sadly) going to have to get a couple of actors in for more ADR work. I will work on that in the next couple of days and hopefully after we get them in studio, we will have ALL of the necessary pieces to put this thing to bed.

ADR recording, ADR mixing, finishing the Foley/EFX work then finding four new songs (that we have the rights for) for the soundtrack. We’re almost done.

Omaha Film Festival 2006 - A Year In Review - Feature Films

Greetings all. 2006 was quite a year. We had our first annual film festival in March as well as having some special screenings in July and we started our “Call For Entries” for the 2007 festival in June. We’ve been receiving and reviewing hundreds of feature films, documentaries, short films, and screenplays from around the globe and have narrowed those fields down to what we feel is going to be an excellent second annual film festival.

Since we’re getting ready to make all of our announcements for the upcoming festival, I thought it would be good to go back and update everyone on the films that we screened in 2006. So, following is a list of the feature films from last year. Enjoy.

EXPIRATION DATE - Director: Rick Stevenson

Omaha Film Festival – Best Feature Film, Audience Choice Award.

“Robert Guthrie etches one of the most original Native American characters ever caught on film. He gives a captivating performance in this whimsical comedy about death and destiny.” Stephen Farber, Movieline

Expiration Date screened at 12 film festivals and won the top award at four of them, including the Audience Choice and the Best Feature Film at the Omaha Film Festival! The film is currently enjoying a theatrical run throughout the US and will be available on DVD in April, 2007.

Director Rick Stevenson was in attendance at our festival and gave a great Q&A after each of the screenings of his film and a fantastic acceptance speech discussing the state of independent film today during our awards ceremony.


Sweet Land - Director: Ali Selim

Omaha Film Festival – Audience Choice Finalist

Sweet Land celebrates a gutsy, old-fashioned sort of love, which Mr. Selim lovingly presents in scene after scene of glorious 35-millimeter images. Jeannette Catsoulis, The New York Times

Sweet Land had a great film festival run and is now enjoying a theatrical run, currently playing in over 31 states. The soundtrack is available for purchase on their website, and the DVD will be made available sometime in 2007, after their theatrical run.

Lead actress Elizabeth Reaser was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and Sweet Land is nominated in the Best First Feature category.

Locally the film will be shown at various times at the Mary Riepma Ross Theatre in Lincoln, NE from 1/5 through 1/18 and director Ali Selim will be at the screenings for Q&As on the 12th and 13th.

Director Ali Selim was in attendance at our festival and we had a very enjoyable Q&A after each of his screenings.


Freeze Out - Director: M.J. Loheed

Omaha Film Festival – Audience Choice Finalist

"The most authentic poker movie since Rounders." -- John Vorhaus, author of the Killer Poker book series.

Freeze Out has screened at several film festivals and won Best Feature at one and was a Runner Up for the Audience Choice award at our festival. MJ is currently in talks to get his film distributed on DVD.

Director MJ Loheed was in attendance at our festival and the Q&As ranged from filmmaking to actors to poker. The audience members were comprised of fans of all three.

Posted by MJ Loheed on WAB about OFF’06: “Jeremy Decker the fest organizer put on an excellent festival. It was organized, there were shuttles between the venues, Omaha was a very cute and friendly destination, and the locals were definitely into seeing the films.” “…the Omaha fest was simply a great experience.”


Cyxork 7 - Director: John Huff

Cyxork 7 was one of our comedy entries last year and has many recognizable stars in this behind the scenes look at the making of a sci-fi movie. It has been an official selection at over a dozen film festivals and has won awards at three of them. The film is currently enjoying DVD distribution on their website. Check out their website for their trailer as well as reviews and other fun things.


Fatwa - Director: John Carter

Fatwa {fät’ wä’) NOUN: a ruling on a point of Islamic law given by a recognized authority.

Fatwa, starring Lauren Holly (Dumb & Dumber, What Women Want,) was picked up by Capital City Entertainment, the only full-service film production company in Washington, D.C. and has been sold in both foreign and domestic markets. Links to purchase a copy of the DVD are on their website.


Filmic Achievement - Director: Kevin Kerwin

Filmic Achievement – Over 5,000 Film Students. Only One Filmic Achievement Award.

Filmic Achievement has been an official selection in 18 film festivals and has won a best feature film and a best director prize at two of them. The DVD is not currently available as they are in talks with a distributor, though the only commercially available (and autographed) DVD of this film was given to the Omaha Film Festival for auction at one of our summer-time special screenings.


The Garage - Director: Carl Thibault

The Garage has been an official selection to 41 film festivals continuing on through mid-2007 and so far has won 7 top prizes as well as being nominated for 8 others. Check out their website for trailers and other information about the film.


Jimmy and Judy - Directors: Jonathan Schroder & Randall Rubin

Jimmy and Judy, starring Edward Furlong, Rachael Bella and William Sadler, certainly had our most raucous crowd. It was accepted into four film festivals and won two major awards including the MySpace Award at the Newport Beach Film Festival. They are currently enjoying a small theatrical run.

The filmmakers were in attendance (as well as many other “interesting” characters) and they gave a great Q&A after their screening.


Lenexa, 1 Mile - Director: Jason Wiles

We were the world premiere for this film. They are currently not screening at any more festivals as they are in negotiations for distribution.


LITTLE ATHENS - Director: Tom Zuber

“…the quality of the acting in the film is astonishing… visually the film is amazing.
A stunning effort all around, 'Little Athens' is as much a sociological study as it is a film." -- Film Threat

Little Athens follows a whirlwind day in the hapless lives of small town youth caught in a dead-end post-high school void.

The film has screened at dozens of festivals including Toronto and AFI and the rights were purchased by ThinkFilm with DVD sales starting on November 21, 2006.


Mad Cowgirl - Director: Gregory Hatanaka

"Theaters showing Mad Cowgirl should install seatbelts, because audiences are in for the ultimate wild ride" - Film Threat

Mad Cow Girl screened at several film festivals including Toronto’s After Dark Film Festival and is currently playing to a small theatrical run across the country. DVDs are now available on Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble, etc.


Mojave Phone Booth - Director: John Putch

Mojave Phone Booth, featuring a very recognizable cast, has screened at 27 film festivals (premiering out ours) and has received 8 major awards.
Director John Putch was in attendance and had an enjoyable Q&A after his screening.


Scared New World - Director: Chris Brown

Scared New World has screened at several film festivals domestically as well an upcoming screening in June in South Wales at the Swansea Bay Film Festival. DVDs are now available on their website. If I could give out an award for best sound track, this film would have received it.

Producer and lead actor Yahn Soon was in attendance and we had a great Q&A following his screening. He is currently in preproduction on his next film and given the topic and story idea, I’m really looking forward to this one.

Posted by Yahn Soon on WAB about OFF’06: “Jeremy and his legion of volunteers pulled off a fairly big event for a first year fest. Everyone was nice, the area of Omaha that my film showed at (the Old Market), is a re-vitalized section of town with great restaurants and bars and a busy nightlife. … in a few years this will be a fest that the entire city looks forward to”


Self Medicated - Director: Monty Lapica

Self Medicated has screened at dozens of festivals and has won 38 major awards including several grand prize awards, which means that they won more film festival awards than any other film in 2006.


Shimmer - Director: Andrew Robinson
We were the world premiere for this Nebraska film. They are currently seeking additional entries into other film festivals and are looking at self distributing DVDs.

The filmmakers as well as a huge crowd of their cast and crew (as well as many of the people that were around during filming) were in attendance to see this film shown on the big screen.


The Suicide Notes - Director: Keith Feighan

“Everybody that writes one ends up dead.”

The Suicide Notes has screened at several festivals and the filmmakers are currently in post production on their latest film “Placebo” so look for that possibly in 2008.

Keith Feighan and producer Faith Sherry were in attendance and had one of my favorite Q&As of the festival. Many of the filmmakers that had entered and attended our festival came to this screening so the nature of the Q&A was very technical which I enjoyed very much.


The White Horse is Dead - Director: Pete Red Sky

The White Horse is Dead enjoyed a small theatrical run and was picked up by Pathfinder Home Entertainment and is currently available on DVD at


You Are Alone - Director: Gorman Bechard

4-stars "Compelling. There’s never a single phony minute in the entire 84 minute running time." - Film Threat

You Are Alone has screened at 14 festivals and has won four awards including two for Best Feature and one for Best Actress. DVDs are currently available on their myspace page. Also, Gorman just released his latest novel so look for that on their myspace page as well.


Under our special screenings during the festival, we screened New Line Cinema film “Hoot” two months before its national theatrical release and ThinkFilm “When Do We Eat” before its national distribution.

Also, in our special summer screenings at the Pizza Shoppe, we rescreened “Expiration Date,” “Scared New World,” and “Filmic Achievement” as well as ThinkFilm release “Half Nelson” a month before it’s national theatrical release. Since its release, “Half Nelson” has done well, including several nominations for the Independent Spirit Awards which will be held in February. Their nominations include Best Feature, Ryan Fleck for Best Director, Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck for Best First Screenplay, Shareeka Epps for Best Female Lead, and Ryan Gosling for Best Male Lead. What an opportunity for Omaha to have a chance to see this great film a month before the rest of the country!


Many new updates and announcements will be coming for the 2007 festival in the upcoming days and weeks so stay tuned and be sure to check out the website.

Thank you for your time and help support art in Omaha.

Program Director,
Omaha Film Festival

Sunday, January 07, 2007

“Off Broadway” – principal photography day 6

Day six, Sunday. Last day of shooting in the main theatre location because at the end of the day, the set gets torn down. Great day with lots of great shots and more fantastic performances by the cast. We had some time while waiting for the prop gun so after lunch, we had an opportunity to set up some different/cool shots and shot some “special” footage that might find its way onto the DVD. We shot another “bonus” shot at the part yesterday too, more reason to reserve your copy of the DVD.

After we wrapped, we spent about three hours tearing down the set and all of the gear. Tragic to see that cool set piece destroyed, but the destroyers seemed to be having fun and it look real cathartic for Matt so ultimately it was worth it. Then the long trip home to sleep in my own bed.

Great cast, great crew, well rehearsed, well shot. It’s going to be a nice film. Two more shooting days are scheduled next weekend then it will be sent off to the able hands of the editor. I’m jealous, Matt actually has an editor scheduled BEFORE he shoots something. I should try that sometime.

To sleep, perchance to dream...

“Off Broadway” – principal photography day 5

Day five, Saturday. Which means I don’t have to be at work at 6:00am and work all day, then get to the set in mid-afternoon. That’s the good news. The bad news is crew call is 8:00am and I wasn’t home until 1:00am last night and we’re filming in Lincoln (an hour away). And I had the dolly in my truck so I couldn’t sleep in and be late. So I’m on set at 8:30 (sorry Matt) and it’s like two degrees out and it’s an outside shoot. And we ended up not needing the dolly for several hours. No problem.

So the first half of the day was in a chilly park in Lincoln not far from the main theatre set. After setting up the first shot, the first actor arrived and we were able to get through all of his scenes in fine fashion. This was the first time I’d seen this actor and once again it was a fantastic casting choice by the production team. He had all of the looks and mannerisms needed for the role. Later in the morning, the other four main actors arrived and we got to see the scenes that were performed in the theatre performed out in the “real world.” After around noon when the sun had been out for a while and the wind stopped blowing, it started to get more comfortable, so we finished the out door shots and moved inside. Sounds about right.

One of the highlights of the evening shots back in the theatre were the “garbage men.” When you see the finished film, you will know what I’m talking about. The evening wrapped at around 7:30, but we stayed up until after midnight reviewing the footage and the shot list and the production crew developed their plan for the upcoming shots.

Afterward I had two choices. Drive back to Omaha only to arrive back in Lincoln by 8:00am, or sleep on Matt’s concrete floor with only one small blanket. Neither of which were good choices, but I went with the floor. I assume I will pay for that on Monday.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

“Off Broadway” – principal photography day 4

It’s 1:00am and I have to be up in five hours to drive back to Lincoln so all I will say about day four is that it went great, the actors were fantastic and the crew did a tremendous job putting the production together.

More in the next few days.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Omaha Entertainment Awards

What a great new annual event for Omaha! First of all, the Holland Center is gorgeous and the perfect venue for music and vocal performances. Second of all, Omaha has some incredible talent.

The evening was very cool with a pre-party at the Library then a red carpet walk into the Holland Center. There were lots of reporters in the various locations doing interviews that were broadcast on the big screen in the main room. It had a real “awards show” feel. By the way, if anyone taped it off of channel 248, I’d love a copy.

There were a lot of amazing performances, not the least of which was the Chris Saub Trio, the evening’s best performance in my opinion.

Great new event for Omaha. Now I’m looking forward to another great new event in Omaha, happening sometime near the end of February…

Thursday, January 04, 2007

“Off Broadway” – principal photography day 2

Principal photography is underway for Matt Harrell’s latest short film “Off Broadway” being filmed down in Lincoln over the next several days. It will be an approximately 15 minute long film intermixing live action with theatrical performances and has a great script with lots of witty dialog.

Tuesday was actually day 1 which was mostly made up of set building for the stage scenes and some time-lapse video footage. Given the blue collar nature of the day, I was happy to skip it and stay in Omaha. It sounds like there were people at the theatre until 3:00am building the set pieces so I’m doubly glad I didn’t go.

So today there was an early call for some of the crew to make the finishing touches on the stage, then to do all of the camera tests and lighting setups for this evening’s shoot. The actors all arrived on time and the real bulk of the filming started at a little after 6:00pm. Having not had the opportunity to get down to any of the rehearsals, this was my first exposure to the actors and I have to say I was extremely impressed. Matt had them all well prepared and they all showed up enthusiastic and batted the lines around like they were second nature. When you see the finished cut of the film, you will all appreciate the hard work the actors have put in because the delivery of the dialog is like watching a ping pong match between four players.

I knew most of the crew since I’d worked with a lot of them before and they were all doing the great job I expected.

Congrats Matt and Tory, you’re doing a great job and you will have a great short film when you’re done. Props to the cast and crew as well, everyone is doing tremendous.

I’m skipping out on Thursday’s filming due to the Omaha Entertainment Awards but will be back down with them Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
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