Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Omaha Film Festival 2007 – Tuesday, Day 1

We’ve been planning this thing for a year and it’s finally here. It’s an interesting process of putting the hundreds and hundreds of pieces in place that it takes to make a film festival. Things like getting venues, securing advertising (on a budget), developing and printing programs, tickets, ballots, and passes, not to mention going through the process of finding and screening hundreds of films and developing a great schedule. So you plan and you plan and you come up with what you think are fantastic films that you would be happy to pay to see at another festival, and you secure a great location to show all of the films, and you secure three fantastic local venues for your festival parties, and you hire bands to play and you get t-shirts and water bottles and film trophies made and all of the other things necessary to pull this off. And the day before the festival starts, you sit back and wonder. Is anyone going to show up??

Well, the city of Omaha has stepped up and said yes, we’re going to show up. We were selling tickets first thing this morning, even before our booth was set up and the ticket sales were steady throughout the day, peaking dramatically before our first screening tonight. Several of the filmmakers and screenwriters made it into town so it was a treat having the opportunity to meet and talk to them, and it was also great seeing a lot of the faces from last year’s festival that are back again and ready to experience some great cinema.

So, opening night.

We were honored to have Mayor Mike Fahey give our opening address before a nearly packed house. He had some very kind words to say about the festival and art in our community and expressed his support in what we were doing. Thank you Mr. Fahey, we appreciate you and the support you’ve given us. After Jeremy, Jason and I spoke for a few minutes, we kicked of the first of our feature films, “The TV Set” and had a fantastic crowd response. Everyone (that I spoke to at least) really enjoyed the film and enjoyed the atmosphere that we created.

After the film, everyone was invited to the Ice House Live to hang out, have some fantastic food and drink and enjoy the excellent musical performance of Chris Saub. The party was very well attended and with all of the filmmakers and screenwriters in attendance, I saw many business cards changing hands. I love to see all of the networking going on, as long as I get first crack at directing any high budget feature films that are discussed. I’m joking. Mostly.

Here’s my thank you paragraph. The biggest round of applause goes to all those that came out tonight and supported the festival. Thank you for coming and thank you for enjoying what we’ve created. The next huge round of applause goes to our unbelievable volunteer staff that took all of the things that we wanted to do, and made them happen. Thank you Julie and Jenna for making that happen today. Another round of applause goes to Denny and Ryan and the staff at the Westwood Theatre. You’ve got a fantastic place to show movies and your support of what we’re doing means the world to us. Major props also to Brian and Bob and the staff at the Ice House for helping us host a fantastic opening night party. Everyone had a great time. And my last huge thank you goes to Chris Saub and Matt and Steve for providing your incredible music. Your talents added tremendously to making a very professional and comfortable party. Thanks a ton guys.

Day two is, well, right now actually. I’m going to try to get a bit more sleep than I’ve gotten over the last few nights (though it’s not looking good at this point).

Come on out and check out our Wednesday screenings. We’re showing two fantastic feature length documentaries, “Prison Pups” and “Divided We Fall: Americans in the Aftermath,” three great feature films “Approaching Union Square,” “The Death of Michael Smith,” and “Run Robot Run!” and we’ve added something new this year as well. We’re screening a short documentary block that runs at about and hour-and-a-half and contains three unbelievably touching documentaries “Los Cartoneros-The Cardboard People,” “Building Bridges,” and “Alex Scott: A Stand for Hope.” Check out the website for more information on each of these films and the events throughout the rest of the week.

Support art in Omaha.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Omaha Film Festival 2007 – day 0.5

The 2007 Omaha Film Festival officially kicks off on Tuesday but we had a special event Monday evening for our volunteers. We gathered together at the Westwood Cinema 8 Theatre at 6:00 this evening and after checking everyone in and giving them their official OFF t-shirt and volunteer pass, we had a great meeting talking about the festival, the films we’re screening, the website, etc. After discussing the various volunteer roles and the specifics of the festival, we treated them to seven of our short film entries and one of the feature films. The feedback for the films was tremendous and everyone in attendance had a great time.

Significant props go to the staff at the Westwood Theatre for helping us get all of the projectors and theaters ready and for creating a very comfortable, professional, and fun environment for our staff and our volunteers. You’ve got a great theater and we’re glad to be working with you this year.

Take a deep breath.

Tuesday is the official launch and we’re starting it off in style with a screening of “The TV Set” on Westwood’s biggest screen at 6:30pm and our opening night party at the Ice House Live off of 108th & Maple at 9:00pm featuring the music of Chris Saub, all for the low opening night price of $10.00 per person. Tickets and passes are available online now and starting Tuesday afternoon at the Westwood Theatre in the Omaha Film Festival booth.

Be sure to check out for the official film list, screening times, film synopses, trailers, etc. and feel free to create your own login name and setup your personal calendar and get interactive with the site. Also, check out the Tuesday edition of the Omaha World Herald and the latest copies of the Reader and the City Weekly for more information about the festival.

I look forward to seeing everyone there. Help support art in Omaha.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

“Heart of the City” – audio edit day 9

We spent some more time in the studio tonight doing the last of the ADR work. We had our last actor in and we only had to go through the last half of one scene so it went quickly and smoothly. It’s always nice to end on a high note.

Matt will spend some time this weekend mixing the last scene and we’ll have a movie with some decent audio. Jeff’s coming into town next week and he’s bringing some soundtrack options so we can assemble everything and put it on a DVD and watch it on my home theater. I’ll keep my fingers crossed until then.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Omaha Film Festival 2007 - Opening Night!

Be sure to mark your calendars for next Tuesday evening, February 27th for the opening festivities of the 2007 Omaha Film Festival. We are kicking off the festival with a bang at the Westwood Cinema 8 Theatre off of 125th & Center at 6:30 with the feature film “The TV Set,” starring David Duchovny, Ioan Gruffudd, Justine Bateman, Lucy Davis, Sigourney Weaver, and Judy Greer and directed by Jake Kasdan. It is a hair-raising comedy of art and compromise that follows an idealistic writer (Duchovny) as he tries to navigate his TV pilot down the mine-laden path from script through production to the madness of prime-time scheduling – all while trying to stay true to his vision. Along the way he has to juggle the agendas of a headstrong network president (Weaver), volatile young stars, a pregnant wife and an ever-optimistic personal manager.

This film will be theatrically released nationally on April 6th but your friends at the Omaha Film Festival are bringing it to you a few months earlier. I watched this film several weeks ago and thoroughly enjoyed it and I’m sure you will too so come out and support the festival and enjoy a great film.

And if that’s not enough of an evening for you, join us at 9:00pm at the Icehouse off of 108th & Maple for our opening night party. We are thrilled to be joined by none other than The Chris Saub Trio. Come out, meet some filmmakers, enjoy some great food and drink, and listen to some fantastic music.

The price for the entire evening is $10.00 per person or it’s included if you purchase an All Access Pass. Tickets and passes are available now on the website at or they can be purchased Tuesday evening at the theater. Come early and get a good seat!

I look forward to seeing you there. Come out, have a great time and help support art in Omaha.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

“Hero Alley” – rough edit

Had a great meeting with Chris (the writer) and Chris (the editor) for out short film “Hero Alley” today. We got together to watch the first rough edit that Chris (the editor) put together. As with any first viewing of any rough edit, there are always going to be things that make me cringe, and this viewing was no different. There are a couple of glaring things (to me anyways) that I wished we would have shot differently (I blame myself). There will be subsequent viewings over the next several days and lots of note-taking in an effort to tighten up the edit but overall, I’m very happy with the performances and the overall look of the film. Now that the film is assembled, the hard part is over. A few tweaks here and there, some audio sweetening, the addition of a soundtrack and some foley work (refer to the past “Heart of the City” entries 1-7) and we should have a decent short film.

Huge thanks to Chris (the editor) for all of his hard work over the last few months and for the great job that he did. We’re close, I can feel it. Stay tuned.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Second Annual Omaha Film Festival

The Omaha Film Festival is pleased to announce its new lineup of independent feature films, documentaries, short films, animated shorts and Nebraska shorts for our 2007 festival. After screening and judging hundreds of films from around the world, we are proud to highlight twelve full length feature films, six documentaries, and 41 short films, which include nine animated shorts and seven shorts from right here in Nebraska.

The screenings will be held between February 27th and March 4th at the Westwood Cinema 8 Theatre at 2809 South 125th Avenue in the Westwood Shopping Center. The theatres are located between 120th & 125th Streets on Center Street, behind the Office Depot. Individual movie tickets and festival passes are available online now and will be available for sale at the Omaha Film Festival booth at the theatre during the festival. Individual ticket prices are $6.00 each, an All Screening Pass which gets you in to all of the screenings is available for $45.00 each, and an All Access Pass which gets you into all of the screenings as well as access to the opening night film, the opening and closing night parties, the awards ceremony, and a t-shirt is available for $70.00 each.

We are also thrilled to have four additional special screenings of films that aren’t a part of the competition portion of the festival:

“My Brother,” starring Vanessa Williams and Tatum O’Neal, is an inner city story of two impoverished boys, Isaiah and James. James is developmentally disabled. Their mother, L'Tisha, played by Williams, finds herself in a tragic situation. Dying of tuberculosis, she desperately tries to get her two boys, eight and eleven at the time, adopted together. Finding that only Isaiah can be adopted, L'Tisha makes the only choice she feels she can make; creating an unbreakable bond of love between the boys, and hoping that bond will get them through life. Her prayers are answered as the boys overcome impossible odds on their way to adulthood, staying as close as ever as young men dealing with life's obstacles. “My Brother” will be theatrically released on a limited basis on March 16th.

“The TV Set,” starring David Duchovny, Sigourney Weaver, Justine Bateman, and Judy Greer, is a hair-raising comedy of art and compromise that follows an idealistic writer (Duchovny) as he tries to navigate his TV pilot down the mine-laden path from script through production to the madness of prime-time scheduling – all while trying to stay true to his vision. Along the way he has to juggle the agendas of a headstrong network president (Weaver), volatile young stars, a pregnant wife and an ever-optimistic personal manager. “The TV Set” will be nationally released in theaters on April 6th.

Set in Northern Uganda, a country ravaged by more than two decades of civil war, “WAR/DANCE” is a documentary that tells the story of Dominic, Rose, and Nancy, three children whose families have been torn apart, their homes destroyed, and who currently reside in a displaced persons camp in Patongo. When they are invited to compete in an annual music and dance festival, their historic journey to their nation’s capital is also an opportunity to regain a part of their childhood and to taste victory for the first time in their lives.

Our final special screening is “Out of Omaha” starring Dave Foley, Lea Thompson, Vicki Lewis, Ethan Phillps, Patricia Richardson, and local actors Lindsay Seim and Nik Fackler. “Out of Omaha” was filmed in and around Omaha during the summer of 2005 and this will be the first time this film will be shown publicly.

Be sure to check out the website at for more information about each of the films, movie trailers, and screening times. You and create your own user name to interact with others on the site, rate the films and create your own screening calendar.

We hope to see you there!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Omaha Film Festival – volunteer meeting

Thanks to all who came out to our volunteer meeting today at the PS Collective. We had an awesome turnout and should be able to fill all of our required roles with the people that have contacted us over the last couple of weeks and those that showed up today. If you didn’t get a chance to come out and still want to volunteer, feel free to drop us an e-mail by going to the website ( and clicking on the “contact” page.

Look for an e-mail or a phone call in the next two weeks once roles and schedules are ready.

Omaha Film Festival ’07 – coming soon!
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