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.

Friday, May 12, 2017

East coast premiere

So far "Out Here In Kansas" has been accepted into film festivals in Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri and of course Kansas, but nothing east of the Mississippi River.
That changed earlier this week, when we learned our documentary will screen next month at the inaugural Jim Thorpe Film Festival.
The documentary will be shown 9:30 p.m. Friday, June 9 at the historical Mauch Chunk Opera House in Jim Thorpe, Pa.
Jim Thorpe is a gorgeous Victorian town that consistently pops up on the national media's "best of" lists. It's 90 minutes north of Philadelphia and two hours west of New York City.
And yes, the town is named after that Jim Thorpe, who is buried there. As I took delight in telling my non-sports-inclined team, Jim Thorpe is considered by many to be the greatest athlete of the 20th Century.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Proud alum, indeed

Every time I speak to a class at Wichita State, I say the same thing: I did graduate from this place, and you can look it up. I think I do that because a) it was a long time ago, and b) after all these years, I still can't quite believe it myself.
This morning, I spoke to a journalism class at WSU's Elliott School of Communication (instructor Eric Wilson presented me with this gift). My time as a student reporter at WSU wasn't easy. I was thrown into the fire with some hard-news stories I wasn't expecting as a sports editor. The basketball coach tried to publicly discredit me. You might say the experience sucked the Shocker fan right out of me. But it also gave me a hard shell, and paved the way for me a develop a long-recognized reputation as a impartial journalist, which certainly served me well while making "Out Here In Kansas."
My message to an LGBT Studies class a few days prior was a lot different. After showing them the documentary, I confessed to the crowded classroom, "I was a country kid, and I've probably told more gay jokes than anyone in this room." But they forgave me. I'm an ally now. People do change.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

First place at Twister Alley

Now this is kind of of cool: In the first-ever film festival awards ceremony we ever attended, videographer Kenneth Linn and I took home the first-place trophy for Best Documentary Short Film last night at the Twister Alley Film Festival.
The film, of course, was "Out Here In Kansas," which screened right after Kenny and I arrived in Woodward, Okla. Saturday afternoon. We spent the rest of the day watching narrative shorts. (My personal favorite was "Doug and Walter" while Kenny's was "American Paradise," and neither of those trailers really do their movies justice.)
It's just as fun to meet the filmmakers themselves, of course, and we certainly did that - directors, producers and actors from Chicago to Austin to Milwaukee to Los Angeles. The festival, started three years ago by Josh Hope of the Windy City Film Festival, was just named one of the Top 50 Film Festival Worth The Entry Fee by MovieMaker Magazine.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Thanks to JCCC

I failed to do this publicly last night, but I'd like to thank Johnson County Community College for screening "Out Here In Kansas" in Overland Park last night. JCCC's Emily Behrmann made it possible, and the college's contribution of the room, equipment and staff made for a terrific event.
The screening came at the urging of Judy Dutra (pictured in the teal top), who is the mother of the documentary's main subject. She introduced the film, which was surprisingly attended by a couple of people I went to high school with.
Producer Jon Pic (pictured, top left) and I also had a nice visit with the representative of the Kansas City chapter of PFLAG (Parents, Family, Friends of Lesbians and Gays).
Jon even tried to do a Facebook live feed from our Q&A, which you can (hopefully) check out here.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

KU to screen documentary May 7

"Out Here In Kansas" will be shown at the University of Kansas next month.
KU Filmworks is hosting a screening of our documentary at 5 p.m. Sunday, May 7 at Oldfather Studios, 1621 W. Ninth St. in Lawrence. Our documentary will be teamed up with Savannah Rodgers' six-minute short "Sketches."
Savannah is a producer for "Out Here In Kansas" and, even though she's still an undergrad at KU, is already an accomplished filmmaker.
You can find more details of the screening on our Facebook event page here.