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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Wine & Cheese Reception at Maiden Rock Winery & Cidery — you’re invited!

Oct 14, 2013
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maidenrock(1)Herdie and Carol, the proprietors of the award-winning Maiden Rock Winery & Cidery, have generously invited the public to a wine and cheese reception at their beautiful orchard from 4:00 to 6:00pm on Friday, October 18th. Toast the opening night of Flyway 2013 with a glass of local brew, then head to the Widespot to see The Rocket, the Oscar-buzz film that’s opening this year’s Flyway!

To find the Maiden Rock Winery & Cidery, click here.

W12266 King Lane
Stockholm, WI 54769
It’s a 10-minute drive from the Widespot in Stockholm — a gorgeous drive up into the Mississippi River bluffs.

If you’re participating in the crowdfunding workshops on Friday afternoon and attending the opening night film at 7:00, this reception will fit nicely into your schedule.

Hope to see you there!

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Gimme my Flyway tickets!

Oct 11, 2013
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photo by rzhidovFor a quick link to tickets for all Flyway films, workshops, and events, click here!


For info on all films, click here.

For info on the panels and workshops, click here.

For info on the Kickoff Gala, click here.

For info on where to stay, click here.


For everything else, there’s Google. Ha, ha.
See you at the Flyway!

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Lineup! Official 2013 2013 Flyway Film Festival Selections Announced

Sep 24, 2013
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Two Oscar-buzz films make their regional debut; North American premiere of Stephen Rea vampire drama

The RocketPEPIN, WI, September 24, 2013— The opening and closing films at this year’s 2013 Flyway Film Festival come from two different worlds: an endearing drama about a Laotian kid whose family thinks he’s bad luck (The Rocket), and a hair-raising takedown of big money in Wisconsin politics (Citizen Koch). In between, the sixth annual 2013 Flyway Film Festival will treat audiences to an array of more than 50 dramas, comedies, and documentaries, including several premieres, two 2013 Academy Award submissions – and a star-studded vampire film. The festival runs from October 17th to October 20th in Pepin and Stockholm, Wisconsin.

“We scour the world for the best up-and-coming independent writers and directors,” says festival programmer Jim Brunzell III. “Two of our selections were just announced as Academy Award submissions for best foreign-language film, so we know we’ve made some popular picks.” One of those films, The Rocket, will be the Flyway’s opening-night film on October 18th; the other, a Belgian romantic drama called Broken Circle Breakdown, will screen on October 19th at 7pm.Broken Circle Breakdown

Brunzell won’t commit to a particular favorite – “they’re all outstanding” – but he mentions being particularly excited about a few films:

A Field in England (directed by Ben Wheatley) is a “really terrific genre-bending film,” according to Brunzell. “I’m over the moon about being able to program it. It’s a challenging piece, something of a horror film, something of an experimental film, set during the British Civil War of the 1640s.  Not for everyone, but it’s definitely one of the standouts this year.”

White Reindeer (directed by Zach Clark), a quirky tragicomedy about a woman obsessed with Christmas, is “the funniest thing I’ve seen all year,” reports Brunzell.

TheInstitute1-300x168The Institute (directed by Spencer McCall) is a documentary about a fantastical alternative reality game that was played in San Francisco for several years. “People playing the game got totally wrapped up in following mysterious clues around the city,” Brunzell says. “It’s a fascinating take on society and the way we’re willing to blur the lines between fantasy and reality. It’s a wild, ambitious film.”

Zero Charisma (directed by Katie Graham and Andrew Matthews), a comedy about a down-at-heels video gamer, struck Brunzell as meaningful, although he’s not a gamer himself. “It’s about the time in a person’s life where they think they’ve got everything under control – and then someone comes in and upends it,” according to Brunzell. “I totally got where this guy was coming from.”

Rick Vaicius, 2013 Flyway Film Festival’s executive director, agrees with Brunzell that Flyway 2013 is the most impressive lineup to date. “We’ve established a reputation among up-and-coming directors for being a great filmmaker-centric festival,” says Vaicius. “Regionally, Matt Stenerson and Jeremy Wilker chose Flyway for the world premiere of Matt’s award-winning comedic script, Death to Prom. Internationally, we’ve got the North American premiere of a hot new vampire film, Styria, starring Stephen Rea and Elinor Tomlinson.”carmilla(Julia Pietrucha)-pushes-lara-further

Vaicius adds that there’s a strong regional environmental theme this year. “Two films feature this region: Fifty Lakes, One Island is by a Chicago filmmaker (George Desort) who spent 80 nights on Isle Royale,” says Vaicius. “It’s screening with Mysteries of the Driftless (Rob Nelson), a beautiful short film about the strange geology of our area in Wisconsin.

“There’s definitely something for everyone in the Festival this year.”driftles2

Click here for the full schedule. Films will be shown at three venues: the WideSpot Performing Arts Center in Stockholm, the Villa Bellezza Winery in Pepin, and the Pepin Village Hall.


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Flyway panels and workshops: Yes, Midwest filmmakers and screenwriters CAN make it in “the Biz”

Sep 10, 2013
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PEPIN, WI, September 10, 2013— When Midwestern screenwriters ask industry insiders how to break into the business, the usual advice is, “Move to L.A.” Not so fast, say the experts featured at the 2013 2013 Flyway Film Festival panels and workshops, October 17-20.

“Regional filmmakers and screenwriters sometimes feel isolated from the networks and contacts their L.A. counterparts have,” says editor Jeanne Veillette Bowerman, one of the film industry experts offering workshops at the Flyway this year. “But there are ways to work the system, no matter where you live.” She will speak on a panel entitled “Breaking In Outside of Hollywood,” along with award-winning Minnesota screenwriter Michael Starrbury and California writer/director Mike Ott, whose latest film, Pearblossom Hwy, will screen at the Flyway.

Bowerman will also offer a unique screenwriting workshop for writers at all levels: “Screenwriters, Bring Out Your Scenes!” Writers who sign up can bring a scene from an in-progress screenplay for local actors to read aloud, followed by a feedback session. “There’s no substitute for hearing your work read out loud when you’re working on dialogue,” says Bowerman.

With crowdfunding expert Emily Best (Seed&Spark) as this year’s keynote speaker, the “how-to’s” of crowdfunding – funding a film by raising money from a large number of people via the internet — will be a topic throughout Flyway 2013. Best will speak on a “Crowdfunding 101” panel with industry leader John Trigonis (IndieGoGo) and crowdfunding veterans Jessica King and Julie Keck (King is a Fink Productions). Two workshops will follow:

– How To Crowdfund. Seriously. Emily Best will expand on new crowdfunding models and teach specific techniques that allow filmmakers to create sustainable film careers.
– Crowdfunding Charm School, or, Fan Dancing For Filmmakers: How To Charm The Pants Off Your Backers. The freewheeling, often hilarious writer/producer team known as King is a Fink will share the tips and tricks they’ve learned during their numerous crowdfunding campaigns.

The panels are free. Workshops are $10 in advance and $20 at the door. Some workshops have an attendance limit, so early signup is recommended. For more information and tickets, please click here.

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Indiewire “Influencer” Emily Best to give keynote speech at Flyway 2013

Aug 5, 2013
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Emily BestPEPIN, WI, August 5— Seed&Spark founder and CEO Emily Best, whose innovative crowdfunding model is making waves across the independent film world, will headline this year’s 2013 Flyway Film Festival in Pepin and Stockholm, Wisconsin. Best will speak to festival-goers at the opening gala on Thursday, October 17th, at the Villa Bellezza Winery in Pepin.

The 2013 Flyway Film Festival, now in its sixth year, is a strong supporter of films made through “crowdfunding, “ a method of using audience-friendly websites to solicit contributions toward the making of a film. Seed&Spark, says Best, takes that model to the next level.

“Unlike other crowdfunding providers, we support the full life cycle of the film, from funding through distribution,” Best explains. “Filmmakers have to apply to fundraise with us. Once they’re accepted, their films have guaranteed distribution through our site.”

Another difference in the Seed&Spark model is the idea of a “wish list” for filmmakers. “It’s like a wedding registry, where everything in the film budget is broken down into bite-sized pieces,” says Best. Supporters can buy or lend the items the filmmaker needs, such as camera rental, props, even a place to stay during the film shoot.

In addition to her keynote speech at the Flyway, Best will give a two-hour workshop on funding and distribution for filmmakers.

IndieWire, a prominent news site for independent film, recently named Emily Best one of 40 “IndieWire Influencers” for her work with Seed&Spark.  IndieWire’s “Influencers” are people and companies who are having a noteworthy impact on the rapidly-changing independent film industry.

Each year, the 2013 Flyway Film Festival brings in influential film industry professionals to deliver the keynote speech and hold workshops. Past presenters include Brian Newman, Sheri Candler, Kelly Baker, Jonathan Reiss, Ted Hope, and Scilla Andreen.

“I’m honored to be asked to follow in the footsteps of my mentors and most admired peers,” says Best. “Flyway is a festival that really understands the importance of the connection between the artist and the audience. They’re part of a broader movement to build a sustainable future for the kind of film that shapes people’s lives.

“And I hear they have great pie!” she added.

The Stockholm Pie Company in Stockholm (photo by Jay Olson-Goude)

The Stockholm Pie Company in Stockholm, WI (photo by Jay Olson-Goude)

from the Smiling Pelican Bakeshop in Maiden Rock, near Stockholm WI (photo by David Meixner)

Berry pie from the Smiling Pelican Bakeshop in Maiden Rock, near Stockholm (photo by David Meixner)

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