Sunday, November 09, 2008

And the winner is…

The Wild Rose Independent Film Festival gives out two awards in each of their nineteen categories. A Certificate of Distinctive Achievement (basically second place) and a Wild Rose Award (first place). “The HIT” was nominated in two categories, Best Short and Best Editing.

And the Certificate of Distinctive Achievement for best editing goes too….”The HIT,” directed by Marc Longbrake, edited by Johnnie Travis. What a shock. Very cool! All of the films (shorts, docs and features) were put into the category, so to get basically second place out of the entire festival for editing is a great honor. Amazing job Johnnie! Thanks a ton for all of the work that you put into this film for us. And thanks to the Wild Rose Independent Film Festival for having us this year and giving us this treasured award.

Wild Rose Independent Film Festival – Sunday 11/9 – Day 2

Day two started off like every other film festival day (if you’ve read my other festival blogs, you’ll already know this). A dip in the hot tub. We then gathered for an amazing brunch buffet at our hotel with Chris (writer), Julie (casting), and Lindsey (lead actress, who make the five hour trip to come see the film.) After having my first real meal in a couple of days, and hanging out in the restaurant for a couple of hours, we headed over to the festival in anticipation of our film. Upon arrival at the theater, we were greeted by a decent crowd already gathering for our screening. Garrett (actor) made the four hour trip to see it, Lindsey’s folks and four of her high school classmates drove over an hour, Chris’ parents and wife drove over two hours, and my buddy Scott drove…well…across town.

It was a ton of fun having an enthusiastic crowd on our side before the film even started, but that puts the pressure on as well. If the film is no good, then you get the awkward “oh yeah, we loved it” while they struggle to make eye contact with you afterward. Fortunately, I think everybody truly did enjoy it, and based on the reaction of the rest of the crowd, I think it was a hit. No pun…

Our film played in a short film block with three other short films, all of which I thought were terrific, so it was a great block to be in, and I think everyone got their money’s worth.

For the Q&A I brought Chris, Julie, Lindsey and Garrett down with me and we had a chance to interact with the crowd a bit so that was a lot of fun. After the screening and Q&A, the five of us grabbed a conference room and recorded a conversation about the making of the film, as well as the screening, so be sure to look for that on a podcast in the next couple of days.

Overall, an excellent film festival experience. Thanks a ton to Kim and John Busbee for treating us great and to all of the volunteers for having everything run smoothly. Julie would like to thank the lady that poured the wine samples all weekend. The WRIFF is a great festival and I recommend it. Hopefully I can get another film to them some day.

Wild Rose Independent Film Festival – Saturday 11/8 – Day 1

We blew into Des Moines for the sixth annual Wild Rose Independent Film Festival at around 12:30. It was below freezing with ridiculously icy winds at or near 100mph. Okay, I’m sure it wasn’t that bad, but the last film festival I was at (Austin) it was like 85 the whole time, so by contrast this was worse.

We started our festival journey by getting checked in, buying a couple of t-shirts, putting up some posters for our film, then we got ready for the first short film block of the day at 1:30. Five short films played and the quality of the films was excellent. Sam Holdren, writer of “The Paradigm Shift” which screened in this block was in attendance so he got up and did a Q&A afterward and everyone was enthusiastic about his film. I’d had a chance to talk to Sam a bit before the screening so I was looking forward to seeing it, and it didn’t disappoint. If you go to and look it up, you can see a trailer.

After the short film block, we checked out the feature film “Clear Lake, WI.” There was a pretty good crowd for this psychological thriller and it was fun to watch the audience react to some of the more shocking moments in the film. Brian Ide (director) and Dustin Booth (lead actor) were in attendance and had a great Q&A after the film.

4:30 started the filmmaker’s reception where all of the filmmakers in attendance had a chance to hang out and chat, enjoy some food, and sample some wine. After that, there was a filmmaker panel which I had the privilege of sitting on. Those of you that know me well know that I can dominate a panel discussion, so you’ll all be proud to know that with seven panelists, I only spoke a few times. Yes, inside my head I had answers and comments for everything that was said, but I picked my spots and didn’t overdue it. The audience can thank me now. It was a great panel though and there were lots of interesting topics that were brought up, and ironically (or maybe not) the main topics were centered around the same things that were discussed on the panels at Austin and Estes Park. The state of independent film and the filmmakers is nothing if not fairly consistent with itself.

The last film of the evening was “Route 30” by OFF’06 alum John Putch. With its ensemble cast and quirky stylings, the biggest audience of the weekend really enjoyed the film, and everyone loved the musical number at the end as well. John was in attendance so it was great catching up with him and hearing him talk about his film and independent film in general. He was the moderator for the filmmaker’s panel and has a ton of great things to say about the state of independent film, film festivals and following your passions and dreams to create the art that you want to create.

The last event of the evening was the awards ceremony. The festival gives out thirty-eight awards in nineteen categories so it’s a pretty exciting event. I just checked the festival’s website and they haven’t posted the winners yet, so I won’t break the news here, but if you’re interested, be sure to head over to to see all of the nominees as well as the eventual winners.

Day one was a great time. Julie and Chris made the trip with me and we enjoyed the various events together, so that made it even more special.

Tomorrow is the big day. “The HIT” makes its second festival screening!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

First Step Omaha with Darcy Lueking

I had a great night hanging out with Darcy Lueking and her acting class going through mock auditions. Darcy is running an acting workshop and has had several guest lecturers and I had the privilege of sitting in with her group and playing the role of Director as each of her students came in and went through the audition process. Great job by all of the actors that came in a read, and great job by Darcy in running a fantastic class.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

“The HIT” to screen at the Wild Rose Independent Film Festival

Our short film “The HIT” is now an official selection at the 2008 Wild Rose Independent Film Festival! We will screen with three other films as part of a short film block on Sunday, November 9th at 1:30pm at the Iowa State Historical Building in the East Village Cultural and Entertainment District in Des Moines, IA

In its sixth year, the Wild Rose Independent Film Festival has shown some tremendous films and had some excellent guest speakers including Nebraska’s own Lew Hunter at their 2007 festival. We’ve got at least a couple of carloads of people heading over so we’re looking forward to having a great time in Des Moines.

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