Sunday, June 25, 2017

Doc Sunback: A Kansas filmmaker's dream

Had the inaugural Wichita Taco Fest not been on Saturday, I probably would have gone (and from the way it sounds, I probably would have been standing in long lines most of the day).
But I was not about to miss my favorite day of the third annual Doc Sunback Film Festival, especially since "Out Here In Kansas" was screening there again. What an amazing event this has evolved into. Once again, I was able to meet filmmakers from all over the country and was able to see independent movies I never would have heard of otherwise.
I got there at noon and started the day with the documentary "Elephants in the Coffee," which was followed by our own screening.
After that was a filmmaker roundtable, which I left early to see the hilarious dark comedy "Mr. Lee." The rest of my evening was spent with blocks of shorts, one of which was outside in the park, the awards ceremony and a righteous after party at Uncle Roy's Tavern.
Because our editor Kenny Linn is a co-founder of Doc Sunback, we made the decision that "Out Here In Kansas" should not be considered for any awards there. Nonetheless, I was so happy for the winners and especially for the organizers of the event. As far as I'm concerned, it's a Kansas filmmaker's dream.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Our screening today in Mulvane

For the third year in a row, I am personally inviting you to the Doc Sunback Film Festival, one of my favorites events of the year. It will continue throughout the weekend in downtown Mulvane, and a full schedule of the films can be found here. (A VIP pass, which allows you into the lounge at Luciano's and access to the parties, has got to be one of the best bargains in Kansas.)
If you haven't seen "Out Here In Kansas," here's another chance. It will be screening at 1:45 p.m. today (Saturday, June 24), an event that will be followed by a meet and greet with myself and many of the other filmmakers in attendance this weekend.
I arrived at the festival yesterday, just in time to record a podcast with "I'm Kinda Famous" host Lester Rowe and Kenny Linn (that's Kenny and me pictured here). Lester is an accomplished fimmaker himself - his "Wifi at Rock Bottom" won the Audience Choice Award at Doc Sunback last year - and you should meet him if you have a chance.
By the time the podcast was finished, there was only time for one last block of movie shorts for the day. Always a sucker for horror, I chose "Friday Night Fright," which included wonderful films that were actually more surreal ("Hilde" from Austria), freaky ("Seaduction" from Italy) and funny ("Jenny Loves Satam" from the USA) than scary.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Honored on the east coast

Wonderful news out of Pennsylvania, where "Out Here In Kansas" took home first place in the Jim Thorpe Film Festival's Best LGBTQ Subject category.
It beat out four other finalists for the award. It was also nominated for Best Documentary, an award that went to The Pine Barrens from New Jersey.
A complete list of the winners and nominees can be found here. This festival was our east coast premiere, and was screened in the historic Mauch Chunk Opera House. (And yes, the town is named after that Jim Thorpe.)

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Paying homage to the 'Big Bird'

I'm not particularly sad to see the Wichita Eagle building at 825 E. Douglas be torn down, although I'll admit it's a little strange. It's been there my whole life, after all, and heaven only knows how many hours I spent inside in my 11 years as a sportswriter there.
My friend Carrie Rengers beautifully summed up the feelings of most of us about the "Big Bird" in this column. This photo was taken by former Eagle photo chief Brian Corn, who also helped me track down a photo we wanted for the film.
Those who have already seen "Out Here In Kansas" know the Eagle has a strong connection to our film. It's because of the Eagle that I met Burt Humburg, our main character. We used Brian's photo, my article and a couple of exterior shots of the building in the film.
The Eagle now sits right in the heart of Old Town, at 330 N. Mead.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Kansas to the core

For those of you in the Wichita area who would still like to see "Out Here In Kansas," there will be another local opportunity in June.
Our documentary is an official selection at this year's Doc Sunback Film Festival in Mulvane. The festival runs June 22-25. We'll be screening at 1:45 p.m. Saturday, June 24 in the museum theater.
Even if you don't see "Out Here In Kansas," you should at least spend a day or two at Doc Sunback. Here's the review I wrote on Facebook just this morning ...
The value one gets from a buying a pass is unmatched by any festival, and so is the emphasis on Kansas films. Doc Sunback is quickly developing a reputation as a favorite for audiences and filmmakers because of its passionate organizers, amazing volunteers, small-town hospitality and good old-fashion love for movies.
I meant every word of that. As much fun at the inaugural festival was, it was even more fun to see it grow by leaps and bounds in its second year last summer.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Chicago, here we come

Great news continues to come in for "Out Here In Kansas," as we learned yesterday it will be screening at the Windy City Film Festival.
Our documentary will be part of the July 1 Doc Shorts block at the 105-year-old Mercury Theater in Chicago.
That's just down the street from 1060 W. Addison - which any good Blue Brothers fan will tell you is the home of Wrigley Field.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Another screening in Lawrence

It's no secret that we love Lawrence, Kansas - we did film part of our movie there, after all, and we screened at the University of Kansas earlier this month.
So it was a thrill to learn that "Out Here In Kansas" will be part of the Free State Film Festival this summer. Actually, it looks like we'll be the last movie shown at the festival, which is June 27-July 2 in Lawrence. We're scheduled to end the short films block, which runs 6-8 p.m. Sunday, July 2.
One of the best parts of festivals like these is meeting other filmmakers. At Free State, more so than any other festival in which we've screened, we're also going to be surrounded by people we're comfortable with. Friends of our project Blake Robbins and Patrick Clement have films showing there, as does our producer Savannah Rodgers.