Volunteers Needed for the 8th Annual Flyway Film Festival!

Volunteers Needed for the 8th Annual Flyway Film Festival!


Join Jeremy, Anna, and UW-Stout students (above) as Flyway volunteers! Clearly, it's a fun gig.

Join Jeremy, Anna, and UW-Stout students (above) as Flyway volunteers! Clearly, it’s a fun gig.

The 8th Annual Flyway Film Festival is seeking volunteers of all ages and abilities to fill a variety of fun and fast-paced roles in Pepin, Stockholm, Maiden Rock and Alma, Wisconsin, as well as Red Wing, Minnesota. Volunteers become part of the “Flyway Crew,” helping to ensure the success of one of the area’s leading arts and culture events. This year’s festival runs from October 21st through the 25th.

New and returning volunteers alike are invited to sign up via the Volunteer page on the Flyway website or through Shiftboard.

One of Moviemaker Magazine‘s “25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World,” Flyway has been bringing local, regional and international independent films and highly-respected industry professionals to the shores of the Mississippi River since 2008.

Volunteer activities for 2015 will range from ticket and merchandise sales, set up/tear down, and crowd-wrangling to specialized roles in projection and sound. Shifts are flexible (but typically four hours each); sign up is available for just one or as many as you like based on your skills and interests, availability, and location preference.

Flyway is known for its welcoming hospitality to guests and volunteers alike. Volunteers enjoy many perks beyond a t-shirt, including free meals and beverages (including beer and wine for those over 21), complimentary cabin-style housing for the duration of the festival, tiered perks based on number of hours volunteered, no-cost access to the Opening Night Gala, and panels and movie screenings (based on availability), as well as eligibility for gift certificates and other prizes at the conclusion of the festival.

Exciting new changes to the volunteer sign-up process this year result from Flyway moving to an online volunteer sign-up and management application, Shiftboard. This means that connections to other volunteers and easy access of volunteer schedules will be better than ever before.

For more information about volunteering, please contact Diana Vaicius, Operations Manager/Volunteer Coordinator, at volunteercoordinator@flywayfilmfestival.org or 612.275.5107.

Hope you can join us!

Flyway Volunteers of the Year!

What’s fun about volunteering for the Flyway Film Festival?

Moua and Thomas

Sarah Moua and Macy Thomas

“The gathering of great people,” says Tim Nomeland, one of three winners of the 2014 Flyway “Volunteers of the Year” award. “I always leave Flyway enlightened, happy, and five pounds heavier from all the amazing food — despite my attempts to dance it off.”

Nomeland is a familiar face at the Flyway Film Festival: he’s volunteered every year since 2009. Sarah Moua and Macy Thomas, both students at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, also received the 2014 Volunteer of the Year award. Winners were selected by patron and staff nomination for their outstanding attitudes, commitment, and customer service during the 2014 festival.

Volunteer activities range from ticket sales to film projection to crowd-wrangling. According to Diana Vaicius, Operations Manager for the annual event, it’s the volunteers who really make or break the atmosphere of a festival.

Tim Nomeland

Tim Nomeland

“Film-goers are an engaged, enthusiastic, and demanding bunch,” says Vaicius, “and the presence of friendly, well-informed volunteers is crucial. We’ve been lucky to have such a wonderful group of volunteers each year.”

Sarah Moua, who has volunteered for the past two years, says she does it because she likes meeting film people and learning what they’re working on. “And it’s a blast being at the after-parties and seeing everyone get loose,” she adds.

Information about volunteering for the 2015 Flyway Film Festival will be available soon on this website, or contact Diana Vaicius at Diana@FlywayFilmFestival.org.

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 https://filmfreeway.com/festival/TheFlywayFilmFestival.

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 www.flywayfilmfestival.org or contact Rick Vaicius at (855) 800-8008 / rick@flywayfilmfestival.org / 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!

More Information: http://www.seedandspark.com/

Like on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/seedandspark

Follow on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/seedandspark

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!


New York Times bestselling author Theresa Weir to judge Wisconsin/Minnesota Showcase films at Flyway

WeirFrasierpubshot2012(1)New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Theresa Weir will join the panel of jurors selecting the award-winning films at the 2014 Flyway Film Festival, which runs October 23-26 in Pepin and Stockholm, Wisconsin.

Weir, a long-time independent film aficionado, lives in northern Wisconsin. She is the author of twenty-five books and numerous short stories that have spanned the genres of suspense, mystery, thriller, romantic suspense, paranormal, fantasy, and memoir.  During her award-winning career, she’s written for Penguin Putnam, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins Publishers, Bantam Books/Random House, and many more. Her titles have been translated into twenty languages.

Her first memoir, The Orchard, was a 2011 Oprah Magazine Fall Pick, Number Two on the Indie Next list, a featured B+ review in Entertainment Weekly, and a Librarians’ Best Books of 2011. Her second memoir (The Man Who Left, 2012), hit the New York Times bestseller list.

Flyway Executive Director Rick Vaicius will announce the film award winners at the Kickoff Gala on Thursday, October 23. Award categories include Narrative and Documentary short and feature; Wisconsin/Minnesota Showcase; the “Flyway Spirit” award; and special jury awards.

Along with Weir, the award jurors are Crystal Hegge, director of the Frozen River Film Festival; film critic and curator Matt Gamble; cinephile writers Kathie Smith and Peter Schilling of the Trylon Microcinema and the film website Joyless Creatures; writer/director Kim Garland; and film and theater artist David W. Potter.

Nationally-acclaimed Wisconsin sculptor David Culver created the award sculptures: stone axe heads that present an annual challenge to the winning filmmakers on how to get their awards through airport security.

2013 Flyway Axe winners Fred Thornton and Jeremy Wilker taste the victory

2013 Flyway Axe winners Fred Thornton and Jeremy Wilker taste the victory