Flyway announces new 2015 Seed&Spark short film competition

Flyway announces new 2015 Seed&Spark short film competition

Seed&Spark, a cutting-edge crowdfunding and digital distribution platform for independent film, will select and award the top two short films at the 2015 Flyway Film Festival in Wisconsin. The two winners will be picked from the top five short films accepted for inclusion in the festival, chosen in collaboration with a panel of Flyway jurors.

In addition to the prestigious “Flyway Ax,” a stone sculpture presented to all award-winners at the annual film festival, the winning filmmakers will receive:

  • $500 toward their next Seed&Spark crowdfunding campaigns (on campaigns of $7500 or more).
  • Individual crowdfunding and audience-building consultation with Seed&Spark experts.
  • Eligibility to distribute with Seed&Spark’s major media partners.
  • Transportation and lodging for the winning filmmakers to attend the 2015 Flyway Film Festival.
Seed&Spark's Erica Anderson with keynote speaker Nick Gonda at the 2014 Flyway opening night gala

Seed&Spark’s Erica Anderson with keynote speaker Nick Gonda at the 2014 Flyway opening night gala

In addition, Seed&Spark will create a Flyway channel on the Seed&Spark website to stream the top five short films, offering the films to thousands of viewers.

To submit a film for consideration, click here.

Rick Vaicius, executive director of the Flyway Film Festival, is enthusiastic about collaborating with Seed&Spark. “They’re a major new force in the independent film world,” says Vaicius. “We’re excited that they’re giving an extra hand to the up-and-coming filmmakers we bring to the Flyway.”

Seed&Spark has played a role at the Flyway Film Festival for the past two years: the company’s founder, Emily Best, was the keynote speaker in 2013, and Seed&Spark crowdfunding director Erica Anderson held a sold-out workshop at the Flyway in 2014.

“Flyway is an American gem of a festival,” says Seed&Spark’s Emily Best, “with exceptional, interesting programming and the chance to really meet, be together, watch films, and learn from each other. We’re thrilled to be able to present the Flyway Ax as a part of a slate of excellent shorts we cannot wait to find, promote, and distribute.”

All short films, both documentary and narrative, are eligible for the Seed&Spark award. Film submissions will be accepted until June 15, 2015 at

About the Flyway Film Festival

The eighth annual Flyway Film Festival runs October 21-25, 2015 in Pepin, Stockholm, and Maiden Rock, Wisconsin, with additional dates to be announced in Red Wing, Minnesota. Over 50 national and international independent films will be shown in four venues, with many filmmakers and industry professionals in attendance to interact with audiences via Q&A and networking events.

The festival venues are approximately a 60-minute drive from Rochester, Minnesota or Eau Claire, Wisconsin and 85 minutes from the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

For more information, please visit or contact Rick Vaicius at (855) 800-8008 / / Facebook: Flyway Film Festival / Twitter: @flywayfilmfest.

About Seed&Spark

Seed&Spark is building a truly independent filmmaking community where filmmakers and audiences come together for crowdfunding, production, and streaming distribution. Every time an audience member supports the making of a moving picture project (funding, following, sharing) they earn “Sparks” which can be redeemed to watch movies on the streaming platform. Supporting films lets you watch more films: It’s the new ecosystem for filmmakers & audiences!

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Who took home the Flyway Axes this year?

Who took home the Flyway Axes this year?


David Culver’s sculpture “Queen Ellen” at the A\Word Gallery in Hyattsville, MD

At the very first Flyway Film Festival in 2008, actor/director Bill Elverman appeared in two short horror films and was killed by an ax murderer in both of them. Elverman won the Minnesota/Wisconsin Showcase for one of those shorts, The Wintress. The award he took home was a small, etched glass rectangle – the kind of award that might be given for 25 years of corporate service.

It happened that there was a sculptor in the audience: David Culver of Bay City, Wisconsin. When he saw the underwhelming token given to the 2008 awardees, he sidled up to Flyway director Rick Vaicius and said, “You know, I could make something a little more impressive than that.”

It was a short trip from there to the ax. Culver, who worked as a lumberjack, sawyer and stonemason before becoming nationally recognized for his sculpture and painting, thought the ax would evoke both the rural environs of the Flyway and the unfortunate fate of Elverman’s characters. And so it became tradition.

Of the many talented and deserving filmmakers who screened their work at the Flyway this year, these awardees took home the weighty sculptures:

Matt Gamble and Andrew James announce the first Flyway Keystroke Award winner, Bradley King

Matt Gamble and Andrew James announce the first Flyway Keystroke Award winner, Bradley King

Best Documentary: E-TEAM by Katy Chevigny and Ross Kauffman (now screening on Netflix).

Best Narrative: TWO STEP by Alex R. Johnson.

Best Shorts: HIS NEW HANDS by Suds Saria and JANE, THEN GONE by Jamie Carroll.

Minnesota/Wisconsin Showcase: BEYOND THE DIVIDE by Jan Selby.

The Keystroke Award, a newly established award given by regional film bloggers, went to Bradley King for TIME LAPSE.

Jan Selby receives the MN / WI Showcase Award for "Beyond the Divide"

Jan Selby receives the MN / WI Showcase Award for “Beyond the Divide”

Breakout Filmmaker: Josephine Decker, whose films BUTTER ON THE LATCH and THOU WAS MILD AND LOVELY both screened at Flyway this year.

The Flyway Spirit Award went to Seed&Spark for its inspiration and support of independent filmmakers.

Champions of Flyway Awards went to Derick and Julianne Dahlen of Villa Bellezza, Linda and David Brassfield of Lake Pepin Real Estate, and John and Val Becker of Red Wing Framing & Fine Art Printing. These people have supported and championed the Flyway throughout the region for years. In addition, the Flyway Spirit Award was renamed the “Linda and David Brassfield Flyway Spirit Award.”

Congratulations to all!


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