The Flyway Film Festival has announced the official program selections for the October 21-25 festival, showcasing top-notch emerging filmmakers from across the globe. Since its inception eight years ago, the Flyway has won accolades from industry professionals, filmmakers, and audiences for the excellence of its film program and for the festival’s intimate, welcoming atmosphere. The festival kicks off with a party on October 21st, and the opening night film on October 22nd will be The Driftless Area, starring John Hawkes, Zooey Deschanel, and Anton Yelchin.
“We’re pleased to open the festival with The Driftless Area, since our festival is actually located in the geographical region of Wisconsin called ‘the driftless,'” says festival director Rick Vaicius. “And we have a particularly exciting mix of world premieres, international films, and regional filmmakers this year.”
Vaicius programs the festival with a special appreciation for talented first-time filmmakers, he says. “We like to highlight emerging talents like Britni West, with her beautiful Montana-based film Tired Moonlight, Trey Edward Schults’ amazing autobiography Krisha, Vanessa Hope with her insightful documentary about US-China diplomacy, All Eyes and Ears, and Jerome Thelia’s fascinating Bounce: How the Ball Taught the World to Play.’
“And on the other end of the scale, we’re showing films by two of the world’s oldest filmmakers: Al Milgrom’s Dinkytown Uprising, and Albert Mayles’ last film, In Transit,” adds Vaicius. Legendary documentary director Maysles died earlier this year at 88; the 93-year-old Milgrom is planning to attend the Flyway.
World premieres at the festival are Pictures of Lily, by British director Mark Banks; Remittance, by Patrick Daly and Joel Fendelman, and Second Honeymoon, by Dutch filmmaker Kristjan Knigge. This is Knigge’s second visit to the Flyway: he fell in love with the area last year, and is planning shoot his next film in Pepin shortly after the festival ends.
Visitors to the Flyway Film Festival can meander up and down the Mississippi River to the movie and event venues in the river towns of Maiden Rock, Pepin, Stockholm and Alma, Wisconsin, and across the river in Red Wing, Minnesota. A year-round tourist destination, the area is particularly scenic during the the Flyway, as the fall colors peak and the Mississippi River ‘flyway’ — a route taken by migrating birds — attracts birdwatchers from around the world.
In addition to showing films, the Flyway will offer a series of workshops and mentor sessions with industry experts such as Seed&Spark’s Erica Anderson, King is a Fink’s Julie Keck and Jessica King, location manager Charlotte Ariss, and filmmakers Emily Ting (It’s Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong) and Norah Shapiro (Miss Tibet: Beauty in Exile). Other industry heavyweights, such as Ted Hope and Brian Newman, will be around to chat with attendees.
New at the Flyway this year is a series of music performances preceding the films. City Pages‘ 2015 “Best Acoustic Performer” LOTT (Leah Ottman) will perform before select films, as well as singer/songwriter JE Sunde.
The festival kicks off with a party at the Villa Bellezza, a spectacular winery and event center in Pepin, at 6:00 on Wednesday, October 21st. Twin Cities band Fort Wilson Riot will perform, and Deirdre Haj, director of the Full Frame Documentary Festival, will give the keynote address following the kind of banquet for which the Flyway has become famous: a potluck.
“The Flyway is different from larger film fests in the region in that people really have time to talk to each other, to learn about each other, and to create community,” says Vaicius. “People leave the festival with the feeling that they’ve had a truly creative, communal experience. And that’s a rare feeling.”
For the full festival schedule, click here: 2015 Film Schedule
The festival rundown:
Saturday, October 10, 4:00 PM: A program of short films will screen at the St. James Hotel in Red Wing as part of the Red Wing Fall Festival of the Arts
Wednesday, October 21, 6:00 PM: Kickoff Gala with keynote by Deirdre Haj, music by Fort Wilson Riot, and festival awards ceremony.
Thursday, October 22: Workshops during the day; opening night film (The Driftless Area) at 7:00 PM.
Friday, October 23: Workshops during the day; films begin at 7:00 PM.
Saturday, October 24 and Sunday, October 25: Films begin at 11:00 AM; closing film (Frame by Frame) at 5:00 PM on Sunday.