Wednesday, July 30, 2008

OFF in Movie Maker Magazine

printed in Movie Maker magazine - Issue 76, Volume 15 – Summer 2008, page 110
Omaha Film Festival - Hollywood’s New Testing Ground

Forget Peoria. “Will it play in Omaha?” is the question that more and more Hollywood players are asking – and they’re getting their answers at the Omaha Film Festival.

The third annual event, which roared into town February 16-24, brought a handful of Hollywood’s biggest names as it kicked off with a two-day Screenwriting/Filmmaker Conference.

The conference featured discussion panels with screenwriters Shane Black (Lethal Weapon), Jon Bokenkamp ( Perfect Stranger) and Josh Stolberg (Good Luck Chuck), editors Tom Elkins (Wanted) and Mike Hill (The Da Vinci Code) and a two-day workshop with writing gurus Jeff Kitchen and Lew Hunter.

“I think that our education initiative has set us apart from a lot of other festivals in the region, and having that component to what we do has strengthened our attraction,” notes Jason Levering, the fest’s executive director.

The excitement of the OFF’s organizers is contagious. “The people who run it are very passionate about filmmaking, and particularly filmmaking in Nebraska,” says Justin Lerner, who travelled to the event from Los Angeles and won over the crowd to take home the Audience Award for his short, The Replacement Child. “After I won the audience award, the festival staff asked to take their picture with me and have me sign some DVDs, which was surreal. Nobody had ever asked me for that, so I was a bit taken aback, but it speaks to their respect and admiration of filmmakers and artists.”

“We ourselves are filmmakers at heart,” admits Levering. “We all work on our own independent film projects and we provide a lot of support to the local filmmaking crowd. So when we set out to create the OFF back in 2005, we were determined to become a teaching festival so that aspiring filmmakers in the Midwest would have better opportunities to work on their craft right here in Omaha… And believe it or not, this is just the tip of the iceberg.” – Jennifer M. Wood

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Hacky Slacker – Principal Photography 07-27-08

I got a chance to help out another short film crew today. Shaun Vetick and Jonathan Lanz from Switched at Birth Productions shot their first short film “Hacky Slacker” from 8:00am until around 6:00pm and it looked like it should turn into a nice project. Comedies are always fun in the indy film world are somewhat rare, so it was a fun set to be around and the jokes are still ringing in my head. It’s always great to work with actors that have good comedic timing and they struck gold with the performances today.

It was also great walking on to a set where I knew just about everyone. Makes for a comfortable shoot. In spite of the neighborhood bullies wreaking havoc, mowing lawns, and leaving the occasional skid mark during a take.

I got a ton of great pictures during the shoot, but the one I didn’t get was probably the most important. The huge “NO” sign posted on the door across the street. Those on set today will get a chuckle reading that… sorry to everyone else.

Switched at Birth Productions

Sunday, July 20, 2008

“The HIT” to screen at the Estes Park Film Festival

Our short film “The HIT” is now an official selection at the 2008 Estes Park Film Festival! The tentative screen time is on Sunday, September 14th at 4:30pm as a part of the Shorts Program #2 at the Historic Park Theatre, which is the oldest operating movie theatre west of the Mississippi.

In its third year, the Estes Park Film Festival is a great up-and-coming festival and I’ve heard nothing but great things about it so we’re thrilled to have them as our premiere festival.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Jessica Lindsey & Stephanie Pilypaitis live

I had a chance to video these two wonderful performers this evening at the Barley Street Tavern. I’ve heard them both perform their solo and band stuff over the years, but tonight they played a full set of each other’s tunes and they played them together and it was fantastic. Too bad they didn’t start doing this together long ago. Too bad they’re both leaving town in a month. If you have a chance to see them both (individually or together) I highly recommend it, but you better do it soon…

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

OFF the EDGE filmmaking – show 13

Go check out our latest podcast. Jeremy and I talk about the new Batman movie, Dark Knight. We were fortunate enough to get into a prescreening at the new IMAX in Council Bluffs thanks to our buddies over at 94.1.

Awesome time, awesome film. And don't worry, there are no spoilers (even though Jeremy really wanted to).

Stay tuned for some upcoming filmmaker interviews.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Film Streams presents – Laura Dern & Alexander Payne

The first annual Film Streams fundraiser was held at the beautiful Holland Center in downtown Omaha this evening and we had the honor of attending as guests. The building was packed and the crowd was enthusiastic. Rachel Jacobson came out first to a burst of applause and she was visibly moved by the attendance and the crowd reaction and she struggled to get through her introductions and thank yous and did an admirable job in the face of what I’m sure was an incredibly emotional opening. After Rachel’s intro, Todd Simon and his wife introduced the guests of honor, Laura Dern and Alexander Payne. For the next ninety minutes we were treated to numerous film clips spanning over Ms. Dern’s career interspersed with tons of great insights and a behind the scenes look at acting and the filmmaking process.

The stage setup was simple and perfect. A large oriental rug in the middle of the stage with two comfortable chairs flanking a small table made for an intimate and relaxing setting and the audience was treated with a conversation between two people that have been making films for decades. The perfect evening for an actor or a filmmaker, or quite frankly anyone who enjoys films.

Huge congratulations to Rachel and Casey for putting on a tremendous evening and thanks for mentioning the Omaha Film Festival in your intro!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Bush Pigs – Principal Photography Day 7, Saturday July 12

Today included a series of pick-up shots. Some close-ups were needed back at the Venice Inn for the climactic restaurant scene so it only required one actor and an extremely scaled down crew. Some additional b-roll was needed at the restaurant, a couple of shots of billboards on the highway and some random incoming and outgoing flights back at the airport. With the exception of one shot that we couldn’t get today due to technical (okay, flaky) reasons, we basically have everything in the can that we need.

The remainder of the scheduled shooting day included sitting and reviewing a rough cut of the film (Tops works fast when he’s motivated), going over some of the additional rough footage, and watching people down a 24 pack of cheep beer. This filmmaking thing is rough business.

Assuming we get the details of the final shot worked out (which I believe they are now) it’s just a matter of getting it finished. The rough cut we looked at today looks fantastic and there’s a ton of great shots so I think we’re going to have a film that everyone will be extremely proud of.

I’ve given the directors props in each of my last several blogs. In this blog I give no props. Props will be held in receivership until the final green screen shot (dessert as CC puts it – four people are laughing as they read this…my apologies to everyone else). Until then…

Friday, July 11, 2008

Omaha Riverfront Jazz & Blues Festival ’08 – July 11

I just got back from the opening night of the Jazz & Blues festival at the Lewis & Clark Landing, right off of the Missouri River. I’ve seen a bunch of concerts there so it’s a cool place to see an outdoor show. And by cool, I mean the awesome kind of cool, not the temperature kind of cool, because when we left, well after dark, it was still over 90 degrees. A hot night in Omaha.

There were four bands on the docket tonight: the Midwest Smooth Jazz All-Stars, Dotsero, Soul Express, and the Average White Band. But for me, there was only one band there… Soul Express. Everette Harp, one of the coolest cats to ever pick up the sax is one of the lead men and to hear him play was a tremendous treat. Dude’s got some serious sick chops. And the other considerable treat was Phil Perry. If you don’t know who that is, then you’re seriously missing out. Some say one of the hottest jazz voices through the 80s & 90s was Luther Vandross, and while I love Luther, for my money give me some Phil Perry. When he took the stage about 2/3 through the Soul Express set, we heard the biggest reaction from the crowd. Insane vocal range and smooth as silk. Incredible show.

Have you ever seen over a hundred people over the age of 50 doing the electric slide? Then you ain’t seen nothing. Totally worth the price of admission.

Props to the Midland’s Cultural and Historical Association for putting on a great festival, and thanks to Julie and FNB for the awesome tickets.

If you’re reading this before 3:00pm on July 12th and you’re in Omaha, head down to the Riverfront and check out day 2. You won’t be disappointed.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Brad Hoshaw and the Seven Deadlies – Live at Slowdown 7/3

Yes, they have a name now, which I can only assume (and hope) will continue to perform as a band. They landed the opening slot for Black Francis (Frank Black of the Pixies) at the Slowdown (one of the coolest clubs in town) and kicked off the evening at about 9:00pm, and yes, it was another fantastic night of music. The band has found a groove and performs all of Brad’s previously solo/acoustic stuff like it was written for a band. This band. Each piece fits together nicely like a puzzle and even though this was only their third show as a group, they sounded like they’ve been playing together for years. A 35 minute set cruised through a lot of the songs that Bard fans are familiar with which were all kicked up a notch by the influence of the Seven.

So Brad calls a few nights ago (much better than the hours notice I had last time) and mentions the show and asked if I could come and film it like we did their first show. After a couple of phone calls I had three hi-def cameras ready to go so we headed down to the Slowdown to capture the evening. The Slowdown staff was great to work with and after the third conversation assuring everyone that we would NOT film Frank, we were just there to capture BH&tSD, everything ran smoothly. There ended up being a great crowd and the club was the perfect place for the evening.

Props to Brad and the band and thanks for a terrific evening. Thanks also to Jason and Julie for coming out on a 4th of July eve and working the cameras.

Brad Hoshaw
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