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

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 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 ScriptMag.com 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.

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.

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