Welcome to Flyway 2014!

The 2014 festival takes place October 23-26th in Pepin, Stockholm, and Maiden Rock, Wisconsin. Join us!

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

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 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 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 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)

Sneak Peek at Flyway Film Festival’s First Official 2013 Selections

From William and the Windmill, by Ben Nabors

From William and the Windmill, by Ben Nabors

Pepin, WI, July 24 — The Flyway Film Festival has begun name-dropping a few of the films accepted into the 2013 lineup. Now in its sixth year, Flyway has gained a reputation as a world-class event, showcasing the best in new local, regional, and international film and providing the movie-loving public with access to filmmakers and film industry professionals from around the world. The festival will run from October 17–20 this year.

Two breakout hits from the South by Southwest Film Festival (SXSW) will be making their regional debut at the Flyway:

William and the Windmill, an inspiring documentary about the impoverished young Malawian who catapulted to fame with his homegrown windmill system, effectively rescuing his village from famine. The film won the Grand Jury Documentary Award at SXSW 2013, and director Ben Nabors and cinematographer Michael Tyburski were recently named as two of Filmmaker Magazine’s25 New Faces of Independent Film.”

 White Reindeer (dir. Zach Clark), a darkly funny, touching sendup of Christmas traditions. Village Voice says: “…what begins as an exaggerated mockery of our most grotesque commercial custom…shifts toward a surprisingly earnest paean to the restorative power of the holidays.” Filmmaker Magazine raved about the film’s “over-the-top props and costumes, perfectly timed editing, clever use of fades, fine acting, snappy dialogue, and hilarious music.”

Committed to a mix of cutting-edge documentaries, narratives, and shorts, Flyway executive director Rick Vaicius and programmer Jim Brunzell are delighted by the range and quality of films submitted this year. “We received over 600 films this year for consideration,” says Vaicius. “It’s amazing how the quality of submissions seems better and better each year, which in turn makes our program better.”

Vaicius has long been a proponent of “crowdfunded” films: filmmakers seeking support through independent funding websites like IndieGoGo and Kickstarter to realize their vision. One such film selected for Flyway 2013 is Favor, a wry thriller whose director (Paul Osborne) raised the money for this microbudget narrative entirely through crowdfunding.

“It’s the most direct route to funding independent films,” says Vaicius. “We like to call it ‘reclaiming DIY.’ Filmmakers aren’t beholden to anyone – they’re pitching their ideas directly to audiences, rather than to a small pool of investors or grantmakers. Some of the best indie films in recent years have been crowdfunded projects.”

Two more crowdfunded films selected for Flyway are Shored Up (dir. Ben Kalina), an examination of the erosion of the Atlantic coast before and after Hurricane Sandy; and Down and Dangerous (dir. Zak Forsman), a tense drama about cocaine smuggling based on the real-life experiences of the director’s father.

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

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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Schedule Coming Soon

The full 2014 Flyway Film Festival schedule is coming very soon. Please check back!