Two Oscar-buzz films make their regional debut; North American premiere of Stephen Rea vampire drama
PEPIN, WI, September 24, 2013— The opening and closing films at this year’s 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 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.
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.
The 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, 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.”
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.