Kathleen Vinehout, Wisconsin Senator—and gubernatorial hopeful?—to open Flyway Kickoff Gala

Oct 15, 2013
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Kathleen VinehoutPEPIN, WI, October 15, 2013—She hasn’t said yes – but she hasn’t said no, either. Wisconsin State Senator Kathleen Vinehout  (D-WI 31st District) is emerging as a possible contender in the upcoming Wisconsin gubernatorial race. Now that former Trek Bicycle executive Mary Burke (D) has thrown her hat into the ring, state Democrats are wondering who has the best chance of taking down Republican Governor Scott Walker. Rumors abound that Vinehout will make an announcement soon.

You can ask Senator Vinehout yourself at the 2013 Flyway Film Festival’s opening night “Kickoff Gala” on Thursday, October 17 at 6:00pm. Vinehout, an ardent supporter of the arts in Wisconsin, will make opening remarks before the keynote speech and awards ceremony. She will also be present to answer questions after the Festival’s closing night film Citizen Koch, a controversial documentary about big money in Wisconsin politics. Citizen Koch will screen at 7:00pm on Sunday, October 20th, at the Widespot Performing Arts Center in Stockholm, WI.

The Kickoff Gala will take place at Villa Bellezza, a new Mediterranean-style villa and winery in Pepin, Wisconsin. The evening will begin with a reception of hors d’oeuvres and 2013 signature Flyway cocktails, featuring Twin Cities-based Joia sodas, organic Prairie vodka, and other local brews.

San Francisco-based Emily Best will deliver the keynote speech.  Best is the CEO and founder of Seed&Spark, a cutting-edge platform for crowdfunding, distribution, and interaction for independent filmmakers.

2013 Flyway Film Festival Director Rick Vaicius will present the awards for best films and accomplishments in several categories. Each winning filmmaker will take home a “Flyway Axe” award designed by David Culver, a nationally-recognized artist living in Bay City, Wisconsin. Live music follows the awards ceremony.

Full Festival pass holders, Kickoff Gala ticket holders, and specially-invited Festival guests and sponsors are welcome at this event. Tickets are $35 and can be purchased from the Flyway website or at the door.

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Is Flyway the love child of the Stockholm Art Fair and Al Milgrom?

Jul 18, 2013
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Stockholm Art Fair poster by Glen "Sonny" Nelson

2013 Stockholm Art Fair poster by Glen “Sonny” Nelson

 Over 40 years ago, some artists from elsewhere settled in the little town of Stockholm, Wisconsin. Because they were hippies, they decided to have a groovy art fair. Because they were talented, they became nationally recognized artists, and their groovy little art fair turned into a big deal.

Around 20 years ago, a cinephile named Rick bought a farmhouse in Pepin. He had heard about all the artists in the area, so he figured it would be a groovy place to live. Because he couldn’t find enough independent films to watch, he started a screening series in Pepin and Stockholm. Because the screening series was a success, he banded together with other artsy people and turned it into an actual film festival.

When he was a U of M student, Rick volunteered at what was then called the Rivertown Film Festival, in order to get in and see films for free. He learned about film and about what it takes to run a festival. Al Milgrom, who basically force-fed independent and international films to the Twin Cities public until they learned to like it, started Rivertown (which later became Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival).

So, the answer to the above question is: YES.

Al Milgrom photo by Euan Kerr

Al Milgrom (photo by Euan Kerr/MPR)


Don’t miss the 40th annual Stockholm Art Fair this Saturday, July 20!


Stockholm Art Fair 2012 (photo by Jay Olson-Goude)


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Harrowing hurricane documentary selected for Flyway 2013 lineup

Jul 15, 2013
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Here along the Lake Pepin/Mississippi River flyway, we’re too busy bird-watching to worry about such things as the decimation of the oceanic coastlines. —I say! Was that a rose-breasted grosbeak? I daresay it was! —What’s this about rising sea levels threatening the lives of millions along the coasts? Tut, tut. Look there—an indigo bunting!

Shored Up, a new documentary directed by Ben Kalina and executive produced by 2009 Flyway keynote speaker Brian Newman, is about to shake us out of our ornithological complacency. The film looks at the impacts of a rising sea on coastal communities. Remember Hurricane Sandy? Kalina was already more than three years into shooting his film when that little event pretty much made his point: that our current “solutions” to rising sea levels are not working out very well.

The film uses animation, interviews with scientists, surfer footage, and policy debates to tell the story of coastal erosion. As Kalina told the New York Times, he had been struggling to find powerful imagery for his film when Sandy hit. The moral of that story: be careful what you wish for.

Put Shored Up on your list of must-see films at Flyway 2013. Watch the trailer and wring your hands in distress. Then see below for some pretty pictures of migrating birds on Lake Pepin.

The trailer:

Segue to birds. The Mississippi River is a “flyway” for migrating birds, meaning they follow the river up from Mexico in the spring, and down from Canada in the fall. Lake Pepin is the part where the river widens and slows, so we call it a lake. Birds consider it a commodious rest stop. Of course, the same climate forces that are destroying the coasts are also wreaking havoc on the birds…and everything else. Well, anyway.

Photos by David Meixner, who lives on the lake/river and takes these beautiful pictures right outside his house.

Baltimore Oriole

Baltimore Oriole

Meixner White Pelican

White Pelican


Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

American Redstart

American Redstart

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