Saturday, November 18, 2017

A few words about Russ Thomas

Russ Thomas has been my best friend for so long, my parents still refer to him as “Eddie Haskell.” (I’ll make sure Adam doesn’t get into any trouble tonight, Mr. and Mrs. Knapp!”) I helped Russ and his family move from Kansas to his wife’s hometown of Orrville, Ohio a couple years ago. That was the same week he told me he and Jenn wanted to be executive producers for “Out Here In Kansas.”
Here’s the weird part, though. They’ve gone all these months without seeing it, because I wouldn’t send them a link. I kept thinking it was going to play at a film festival near them, or that they’d catch one of our screenings on a trip back to Kansas. I really wanted them to see it on a big screen, but never happened.
Fortunately, they have a pretty large television at home. I finally emailed Russ a link so he and Jenn could watch it.
Russ called me the next morning, which was yesterday. He said following the movie, he and Jenn had a long discussion about what it meant to them. They didn’t agree on everything, but that was OK.
Then Russ and I spent the next 30 minutes talking about what it meant to us. Really, that’s a huge reason why I wanted to make “Out Here In Kansas” in the first place.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Silent partners

The first thing you see in the closing credits of "Out Here In Kansas" is a list of five couples. They are our executive producers, which means they made the film possible by funding it.
I've written about my uncle, Bradford Devine, and his wife Norma. They never hesitated with their support, even when I painstakingly had to replace Uncle Brad's narration with my own after our story changed direction. (That was not an easy phone call to make, considering Uncle Brad flew in from Florida to record his lines. But he couldn't have been more cool about it, especially after seeing the finished product.)
I've written about Dave and Trish Powell, who became the first to write us a check after reading about "Out Here In Kansas" online. When I met with them, I don't think they were even expecting to be in the credits, let alone as executive producers. They just wanted to help a worthy project.
I've written about Kyle and Shelly Steadman, who always support the arts and are two of the biggest reasons why Mulvane might be my favorite town in Kansas.
I've written about John and Jenn Stephens, longtime friends who really took care of us anytime we had a screening in the Kansas City area. ("Spoiled us" might be a better description.)
But you know who I still haven't written about? Russ and Jenn Thomas. Which is kind of funny, considering Russ is my best friend. I should probably save him for another post.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Finishing our tour on top

"Out Here In Kansas" finished its film festival and college tour by winning "Best Documentary" at the Outlaw Film Festival over the weekend. (I still can't believe we beat out "Peaceful Progress: A Graffiti Story," which was beautiful.)
Anyway, by my count, that's the fifth time we've won our category in an out-of-state festival. If you're a regular reader of this blog, you know this one had special meaning to me.

Monday, October 30, 2017

They didn't know me from Adam

A reporter from the University of Kansas Daily Kansan interviewed me tonight. At one point she asked me what my favorite part was of making "Out Here In Kansas."
The question caught me off guard, since nobody has ever asked me that. Finally, I answered it was convincing so many people to be a part of the movie, when they had no idea who I was or what it would look like. They had faith in me, anyway. That feels good, and I hope the documentary serves them well.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Now playing at Tallgrass ...

If you're out participating in the Tallgrass Film Festival this weekend, we'd like to encourage you to check out a pair of short films made by our producer, Savannah Rodgers.
They are both seeing shown in the Kansas shorts block, which is 3:15 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 22 in the Ruffin Building Auditorium. The first one is a two-minute microshort called "For Sale," and the second is a seven-minute short called "Dragtivists."

Friday, October 20, 2017

Jesse James ended here, and so will we

Next month, "Out Here In Kansas" will be screening in St. Joseph, Mo., the town where the Pony Express began and Jesse James ended. It's also the town where my journalism career started, and where our film festival circuit will end.
The Outlaw Film Festival will be held Nov. 2-4 on the campus of Missouri Western State College, home of the Griffons. (That's the team I covered, and I maintain the Griffon is one of the best mascots in college sports.)
Our documentary is in Block 4. That will be shown from 7:30-10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3 and again from 3-5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 4. More information can be found here, and I have created a Facebook event here.
I'm really excited for what will probably be our last film festival. I have some great memories of St. Joe from the mid-1990s, and I can't wait to Lisa Erdman, the passionate director of the Outlaw
 Film Festival, in the flesh.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Screening in Salina

I'm proud to announce another Kansas screening of "Out Here In Kansas," this time Saturday morning in Salina.
The Smoky Hills Independent Film and Television Festival (SHIFT) starts today (Friday, Oct. 13) at Kansas Wesleyan University. The event is free to the public.
At 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 14, "Out Here In Kansas" will be shown at the end of a screening slot reserved for our producer, filmmaker Savannah Rodgers.
More information about the festival can be found here.