Tuesday, October 28, 2008

OFF the EDGE filmmaking – show 22 – Austin Film Festival wrap-up

In this podcast Jeremy and I talk about some of our fun experiences at the 2008 Austin Film Festival and we have a chance to sit down with Kristen Case, Director of Marketing and Director of the Young Filmmakers Program. It's a fun show so give it a listen!



Saturday, October 25, 2008

Austin Film Festival – Monday 10/20 – Day 4

I intentionally booked my flight as late in the day as possible so that I could spend as much of my Monday at the festival. What I didn’t realize was that the festival really didn’t get going until after 5:00pm on weekdays, so I had a chance to sleep in, then go out for a casual lunch and spend some time at the University of Texas. I toured their film school and even got a behind-the-scenes look and tour at the Austin City Limits. Amazing.

My flight left Austin at 5:40 and it was a pretty uneventful trip back to the Big O, arriving around 10:30pm. It makes me happy that my flight left Austin five hours after Jeremy’s and we got to Omaha at about the same time.

Thanks Austin. Excellent trip and you guys treated us great. We made a ton of contacts and brought home a stack of films. My calendar is marked for next year.

Austin Film Festival – Sunday 10/19 – Day 3

Sunday morning started with the “Hair of the Dog Brunch” which was another VIP event for the filmmakers, producer badge holders, etc. Amazing food, free drinks, huge crowd. A great way to start our Sunday.

11:30am – 12:45pm – panel – Frame to Frame: Adapting Comic Books to the Screen
Beau Thorne (Max Payne), John Turman (Hulk, Rise of the Silver Surfer)

1:00pm – 2:15pm – panel - What Actors Look for in a Script
Dana Wheeler Nicholson (Friday Night Lights, Fletch, Boston Legal), Tom Skerritt (Alien, Top Gun, A River Runs Through It)

2:30pm – 3:45pm – panel – The Film Festival Circuit
James Foust (AFI-Dallas), Kelly Williams (Austin Film Festival), Chris Holland (B-Side Entertainment)

After the panels there were many more films. One highlight was heading back over to the IMAX to catch the end of “The Flyboys.” I snuck in the back and watched the end of the film so that I could hear writer/director Rocco go through his Q&A. So I’m in the very back row in the far corner of a huge IMAX and one of the audience questions was with regard to screenings and film festivals, to which Rocco responded that the director of the festival of their very first screening was in the audience, and he mentioned the Omaha Film Festival and pointed me out. I didn’t even know he saw me clear back there, so it was cool that he noticed and that he gave the OFF a little press at the AFF. Thanks Rocco!

Austin Film Festival – Saturday 10/18 – Day 2

Film Festival Day 2 right? Okay, that’s certainly not the biggest event in Austin today. A little something like two of the top college football teams in the country (Missouri and Texas) also had a small event. So a town that’s already crazy was kicked up a notch. There were tons of Missouri shirts walking around and the town was electric. A part of me felt like blowing off the festival and going to the game. We got the next best thing though…we spent a bunch of time on campus before and during the game. There were tailgates and street parties for blocks surrounding the campus and we could have easily slipped in and been a part of it. So tempting. And the Sports Day crew stayed at our hotel. They have a nicer bus than the OFF does. On to the festival..

9:00 – 10:15am – panel – Dialogue: Finding the Voice
John August (Corpse Bride, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Big Fish), John Lee Hancock (The Rookie, The Alamo, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil)

10:45am – 12:00pm – panel – Concept to Creation
Shauna Cross (Whip It!), Kirsten Smith (10 Things I Hate About You, Legally Blonde, The House Bunny(

2:00pm – 3:15pm – panel – Titans of TV
Greg Daniels (creator of King of the Hill and The Office ), Tim Kring (creator of Heroes & Crossing Jordan), Phil Rosenthal (creator of Everybody Loves Raymond)

3:45pm – 5:00pm – panel – Action Thriller
Shane Black (Lethal Weapon, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang), Tim Kring (see above), Terry Rossio (Pirates of the Caribbean, Shreck, Aladdin, The Legend of Zorro), Beau Thorne (Max Payne), John Turman (Hulk, Rise of the Silver Surfer)

I peeked into several films, but one film I watched from start to finish was “Summerhood” starring John Cusack (or at least his voice). The film screened at the IMAX, so it was a very cool place to catch an independent film. Plus, “Top Gun” was screening there later that night and we had a meeting scheduled with someone connected to that film. So after the movie, Jeremy and I had a chance to sit and chat with Mr. Tom Skerritt for about a half hour in the green room. What an opportunity. Without question the highlight of the day and this was a pretty good day. And by the way, seeing “Top Gun” on an IMAX screen? Are you kidding me?

Austin Film Festival – Friday 10/17 – Day 1

My day started off like any other. Alarm going off at 3:45am; heading toward the airport by 4:15am. Connecting flight to Dallas, then off to Austin, landing around 10:20, taking a shuttle to the Holiday Inn to drop off my luggage, then hitting the film festival running. I connected immediately with Teresa, and AFF pro of 8 years, who walked my through the registration process which went remarkably smoothly, then hooked up with Dave, Nicole and Karen, the rest of the Omaha gang that made the trip. Under some small talk under the big steer head (what was his name again?) I did a tour of the festival to see where everything was, and peaked into a few of the panels that were already in session. Jeremy landed at 11:30 and after dropping off his luggage at the hotel, came straight over and we all headed out for some local cuisine.

After a great lunch of Mexican food and AFF catalog reviewing, we all headed back to the festival to our variously chosen and planned events.

During the opening weekend, there are conferences during the day, and films during the evenings. A few films also played during the day, but in the evenings, nine theaters

3:15-4:30pm – Roundtable: Writers/Directors
Mike Akel, Greg Carter, John Lee Hancock, Jake Kasdan, Alex Smith, Andrew Smith, Robert Townsend, Boaz Yakin

The roundtables are pretty cool. You go into a big room and there are eight tables with 10 chairs around them and it’s like speed dating for writers/filmmakers. When everyone was set, the panelists (listed above) came in and each one sat at a table and 9 people had an opportunity to interact directly with the person at their table. After a specified amount of time, the panelist got up and they all rotated, so that during the hour, your table got to sit with three different people. The highlight for me was talking to Boaz Yakin (Remember the Titans, The Rookie). An extremely interesting guy that gave us some intimate details about his processes and how he made his most recent film “Death in Love” which screened at the AFF (which I had a chance to see later).

Friday evening was highlighted by the opening night VIP BBQ, attended by well over a thousand people that included all of the filmmakers in attendance as well as all of the Producer badge holders. Great event; awesome barbeque.

With so many films all day and all night, it’s tough to decide what to see, so I tend to bounce around quite a bit and catch Q&A sessions. Since we have so much access to the films that get screened, I tend to not want to sit in a theater for two hours watching something I can see at home, I’d rather schedule four Q&A sessions at various theaters, so that’s what I did. The highlight of the evening was catching the end of the film “Zero Effect” (which I’ve seen a dozen times) and listening to and meeting writer/director Jake Kasdan. Sweet.

After all of the films for the day, there was an opening night party at Ruth’s Chris. We made it to the hotel sometime after 1:00am. Almost non-stop for 24 hours. A good first day.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

OFF the EDGE filmmaking – show 21 – Chris Holland – B-Side Entertainment

Jeremy and I talk with Chris Holland, Manager of Festival Operations at B-Side Entertainment, and author of the new book Film Festival Secrets.

The Omaha Film Festival has been using the B-Side service for the last couple of years and we’ve loved it, and we’ve gotten loads of positive feedback from everyone who’s used it. Chris has been a fantastic resource for us as well and has really helped with all of the behind-the-scenes work on our festival website. Anyone who checks out the site during festival time, knows how great the B-Side service is.

Huge props also to Chris for the book as well. It’s a fantastic read for anyone that has a film and is interested in having someone other than their mother see it. We absolutely recommend it so log on to his website and grab a copy.

Film Festival Secrets



OFF the EDGE filmmaking

Monday, October 13, 2008

OFF the EDGE filmmaking – show 20 – Middle of Nowhere Film Festival

In our latest podcast, Jeremy and I talk with Jeremy Bishop, Rhett McClure and Jake Hull, staff of the Middle of Nowhere Film Festival, right after their screening at the Joyo Theatre in Lincoln, NE. The 2008 screening marked the 10th anniversary of the festival and it was very well received by the packed house.

They screened seventeen films in their under 3 minute and under 7 minute categories and after the screenings, had an awards ceremony where prizes were given out to the top three films in each category, best actor, best actress, best sound score and audience choice.

The Omaha Film Festival, as part of our sponsorship, granted fee waivers to OFF’09 for the top three films in each of the categories, so we want to say congratulations to all of the winners.

And congratulations to the MON and NIFP staff for another successful film festival.



Monday, October 06, 2008

OFF the EDGE filmmaking – show 19 - Film Festival Advice

In this podcast, Jeremy and I give out a little advice to filmmakers on entering film festivals.

The 10/26 deadline for the Omaha Film Festival is fast approaching. There’s a special entry offer for podcast listeners so be sure to listen.

free web page hit counter