Sunday, November 09, 2008

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!


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