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.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Our biggest honor yet

This won't be the largest event in which we've been invited, but I speak for our entire team when I tell you what a tremendous privilege it for "Out Here In Kansas" to be a big part of the inaugural Gilbert Baker LGBTQ Film Festival next month.
Our documentary will screen 7:30 p.m. Sat., May 6 at Labette Community College in Parsons.
Baker was a gay rights activist, famous for having created the rainbow flag after meeting Harvey Milk. He grew up in Parsons, where he said he endured a lot of bullying and pain for being gay. Actually, we were just starting to learn about the festival, and Baker, when he unexpectedly died in his sleep a couple of weeks ago.
Major props to producer Jon Pic for putting this festival on our radar, and for producer Savannah Rodgers for taking care of the rest. This is a festival that doesn't even have a website yet, and suffered a major blow when Baker passed away, but I for one would like to do everything I can to support it. (Based on my correspondence with the organizers, they feel the same way about "Out Here In Kansas.")
You can read more about Baker, and the festival, here.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Emotional night at Wichita State

By my count, last night was the 12th public screening we've had for "Out Here In Kansas." It was by far the most emotional, for me at least. Our emcee, Greg "The Hitman" Williams (left) had my eyes swelling with tears before the movie even started with a heart-wrenching story about his gay daughter.
Several of those in attendance were representing WSU's Elliott School of Communication, of which I am a graduate. The entire night I was thinking of Les Anderson, a WSU professor who advised me in college and mentored me for the rest of his life.
To top it off, my friend and WSU schoolmate Jeff Guy asked a question in the Q&A session about whether or not making the movie had helped reaffirm my Christian faith. It was a completely legitimate question, since I've written about my hope to do just that.
Nonetheless, it was the first time anyone has asked that question, and I rambled on with an answer that I hoped I had made a film that Jesus would approve of. I don't even remember exactly what I said. But I do encourage you to read Jeff's account of last night on his own blog, which you can find here. I think it might be my favorite thing I'd read yet about "Out Here In Kansas."

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Smiling through the pain at K-State

Our latest screening was Thursday evening in Manhattan. It was a nice event, and I'd like to thank David Jones from ECM and K-State and Holly Nelson from the Kansas State LGBT Resource Center.
That's me in the middle of this picture at the ECM, with my daughter Stellar on the left and my nephew Josh (a proud member of the K-State marching band) on the right.
Side story about this trip ... I woke up with stomach pains on Thursday, and they only intensified that evening in Manhattan. Friday I went to my doctor and - long story short, my appendix was starting to burst and I was sent into surgery to remove it.
So now I'm on the mend, and I do expect to be at our screening Wednesday at Wichita State.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Kansas City FilmFest is in the books

Thoughts from the Kansas City FilmFest, which was held last weekend at Cinemark on the Plaza ...
* Our screening led off an 8:30 p.m. block, and proceeded a 90-minute documentary called "Woman On Fire" about the first (and so far, only) transgender firefighter in New York history. What a fascinating movie about a complicated issue. I wish the director, Julie Sokolow, would have been there, but I did reach out to her afterwards.
* There were plenty of other filmmakers there, of course, and it's always great to visit with them. Unfortunately, I had to leave before the screening of "The Grand Illusion," a documentary short about one of the most famous plays in college baseball history - which happened to come at the expense of my friend Phil Stephenson.
* That's me in all three of these photos, with producer Savannah Rodgers (top left), producer Jon Pic (top right) and executive producer John Stephens (bottom left).

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Rest in peace, Jinx No. 8

Southwestern College has had many black cats named "Jinx," but this one will always be my favorite, because he appears in our documentary. I just saw him last month on our visit to Southwestern, and took delight in explaining to my two guests where he lived (the basketball gym) and what his job was (to serve as an unofficial mascot and maybe catch a mouse or two).
But Jinx was sick, and he reportedly died over the weekend. Southwestern wasted no time in going to the Humane Society and replacing him with another Jinx yesterday. That's Jinx No. 9 ... they think.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Our busy month ahead

Here is a list of where "Out Here In Kansas" will be screening in April.
* 8:30 p.m. Thur., April 6: Kansas City FilmFest, Kansas City, Mo. Details
* 6:30 p.m. Thur., April 13: Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas Details
* 6:30 p.m. Wed., April 19: Wichita State University, Wichita, Kan. Details
* 7 p.m. Wed., April 26: Johnson County Community College, Overland Park, Kan. Details
* 2 p.m. Sat., April 29: Twister Alley Film Festival, Woodward, Okla. Details

Monday, March 27, 2017

Spring college tour continues in Overland Park

Our spring college tour will continue in Overland Park with a screening at Johnson County Community College.
The screening is 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 26 in the 221 lecture hall of the Carlsen Center on the JCCC campus.
This screening came at the request of Judy Dutra, an Overland Park resident who is the mother of our main subject, Burt Humburg. More details can be found on the Facebook event page, which can be found here.
JCCC will join Butler Community College, Southwestern College, Kansas State and Wichita State as colleges at which we've screened this year.
We'd love to screen at more colleges this fall. If you're interested in setting something up, drop us a line at

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Oklahoma premiere will be at Twister Alley

"Out Here In Kansas" has been selected to screen in the Twister Alley Film Festival, a three-day event that runs April 27-29 in Woodward, Okla.
Our documentary will be shown 2 p.m. Sat., April 29 at the Woodward Arts Theater, a gorgeous historical theater. (We're even among the four nominees for Best Doc Short Film.)
A full schedule of the festival can be found here.

Friday, March 24, 2017

The Hitman is on board

Our screening at Wichita State on April 19 will be emceed by a local legend in the radio world: Greg "The Hitman" Williams.
Williams, who can be heard from 6-10 a.m. weekdays on Power 93.5 FM, has been on Wichita's airwaves since he was a student at East High School. He also attended WSU, which is part of the reason we wanted him to emcee the event.
Most important, though, was the fact that he's seen "Out Here In Kansas" and wants to support it. You can learn more about the event on WSU's Facebook event page here.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

WSU to screen documentary April 19

In what I'm sure will be our largest audience to date, "Out Here in Kansas" will screen on the campus of Wichita State University next month.
The event will start at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 19 at the CAC Theater. Admission is $2, with proceeds going to WSU Spectrum, a social/discussion group for the LGBT community and its allies.
Spectrum is one of my favorite organizations. Even though it has no religious affiliation, I believe its mission falls right in line with what Jesus taught us.
WSU's Elliott School of Communication and Office of Diversity and Inclusion have stepped up to co-sponsor the event, as well as the Kansas Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
Admission is free for WSU students. You can learn more about the event, and RSVP for it, on this Facebook event page.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Strong support from the Moundbuilders

Many thanks to Sigma Tau Delta and SC Residence Life for hosting a first-class screening of "Out Here In Kansas" at Southwestern College's Richardson Hall last night.
Southwestern is the alma mater of Burt Humburg, our documentary's main character, and a handful of his former teachers came out to see it. I'm told several members of the football, basketball and volleyball teams were on hand as well.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Kansas City, here we come

"Out Here In Kansas" has been selected for the Kansas City Filmfest, which takes place every year at the Country Club Plaza (that's on the Missouri side, in case you were wondering).
Here is the full schedule. Our documentary is screening 8:30 p.m. Thursday, April 6 at the Cinemark Palace At The Plaza.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Documentary to screen at K-State

Our college spring tour will continue with an event next month at Kansas State University.
"Out Here In Kansas" will screen at 6:30 p.m. Thur., April 13 at K-State's ECM Building, 904 Sunset Ave.
The event is free, and it is being sponsored by the K-State LGBT Resource Center. (ECM, in case you were wondering, stands for Ecumenical Campus Ministry.)
K-State has set up a Facebook event for the screening, which can be found here.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Venue at Southwestern has changed

In anticipation of a crowd that won't fit in the library, Southwestern College has switched the venue for next week's screening of "Out Here In Kansas" to the roomy Richardson Performing Arts Center.
It is inside the most recognizable building on campus, the Christy Administration Building, which sits on top of a hill at the main entrance.
If you need it, here's a link to Southwestern's campus map. If you enter campus via Warren Street, all you have to do is turn left onto King Drive and you'll find a parking lot right next to Christy.
The event is open to the public. The 30-minute documentary will be shown at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 15, and will be followed by a discussion and a reception. It is sponsored by Southwestern College Residence Life and Sigma Tau Delta.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A new audience in Andover

By my count, today was the eighth screening we've had for "Out Here In Kansas." Of course this one was pretty special, since we were showing it for the first time in Andover, which is where the story originates. 
An enthusiastic crowd showed up in the Butler Community College student lounge room known as the "Grizzly Den." Some people I knew; most of them I didn't meet until today. 
That's our producer Jon Pic at the top right, wrapping up our Q&A session. He's a self-described introvert but, bless his heart, he somehow transforms into a social dynamo when it comes to our documentary. 
Next up: An evening screening, March 15 at Southwestern College in Winfield.

Monday, February 27, 2017

My goal: One million viewers

A longtime friend surprised me today by telling me about her gay child, and the challenges she was having with it because of her Christian beliefs.
This has happened to me many, many times since word out that I was making a documentary about gays and the church. Each time someone trusts me enough to share their story - whether it's about a child, a parent or even themselves - I consider it an honor and a blessing.
Truth is, the timing was perfect for us to complete "Out Here In Kansas." I said this to the audience at our world premiere, and I'll make it public on this blog:: I want this documentary to be seen by at least a million people.
How do we do that? With fans who have already seen the documentary, and want others to see it, too. There will be an opportunity for everyone to not only see "Out Here In Kansas" but to share it. Hopefully that will happen later this year.

Anxious for Andover

Just a reminder that at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 28, we will be screening "Out Here In Kansas" on the Andover campus of Butler Community College.
The location is 715 E. 13th St. in Andover, in the "Grizzly Den" of the 5000 Building. That's where the main entrance is, as well as the bookstore, student lounge, etc.
Obviously, I'm excited. Andover has earned a special place in my heart over the last 10 years, and that's where the story of this documentary originated.
The screening is free. There will be a Q&A afterwards, and we should have things wrapped up by 12:30 p.m.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Back "home" at Butler

A student reporter asked me today about my relationship with Butler Community College.
Well, I replied, I grew up 10 minutes down the road from BCC. Went to the Grizzlies' football camps when I was a kid. Took college algebra there when I was 19. Covered countless football and basketball games there when I worked for the Wichita Eagle. Stayed up all night with them in Idaho after they won the national championship. Taught English for them as an adjunct. Worked with their athletic department, and marketing.
"Butler," I finally said, "is part of my family."
That's why I was so proud for "Out Here In Kansas" to screen on the BCC El Dorado campus in front of so many of the people who are the reason for that relationship. (I had never even met Butler President Kim Krull, but bless her heart, she was there too.)
Many thanks to BCC's Crystal Aluko (pictured above) for setting up the event. In case you don't know, there's another one on Tuesday in Andover.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Documentary will play at Southwestern

Today we announce our upcoming screening at Southwestern College, which is the alma mater of Burt Humburg, who of course is the central figure of "Out Here In Kansas."
The documentary will be shown 6 p.m. Wed., March 15 at the Deets Library on the Southwestern campus in Winfield. (Editor's note: The location has been moved to the Richardson Performing Arts Center.)
While the event is geared toward students, it is open to the public. Following the half-hour movie, there will be a Q&A and discussion.
Humburg was a football player at Southwestern from 1994-'97, earning All-American honors his senior season. He was active in several organizations on campus, and was even once voted Southwestern's "Ugly Man." (That's the Moundbuilders' version of the homecoming king.)

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Trump, Kansas and the LGBT community

Contrary to recent reports, it appears that President Donald Trump will not be signing an executive order that would rescind rights and protections for LGBT federal employees.
The White House issued this statement today ...
“President Trump continues to be respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights, just as he was throughout the election. The president is proud to have been the first-ever GOP nominee to mention the LGBTQ community in his nomination acceptance speech, pledging then to protect the community from violence and oppression.”
The rumors - and I'm assuming they were just rumors for right now - made me think of this Tweet send out the morning after election day. Two years ago, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback famously signed an executive order that made it legal for a state employer to discriminate against LGBT state workers. (Not so famously, Brownback declined to be interviewed for our documentary.)

Monday, January 30, 2017

Media page is updated

I'm sure we've missed a couple articles, but most of the media coverage surrounding "Out Here In Kansas" has been updated and can be found here.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

How I celebrated Kansas Day

This afternoon, our friends at the Doc Sunback Film Festival had a special event: A screening of Kansas films, made by Kansas filmmakers, shown on Kansas Day.
(That's me on the far right. I love this photo, taken at Luciano's in Mulvane, simply because it contains some of my favorite people.)
It was fun. And hey, let's face it - any January day in Kansas, it's great to just get out of the house.
I hope you do just that in February, where we finally screen our documentary in Butler County here (Feb. 23) and here (Feb. 28).

Friday, January 13, 2017

Kicking off our college spring tour ...

We're excited to announce two screenings for next month at Butler Community College: Thur., Feb. 23 on the El Dorado campus and Tues., Feb. 28 in Andover.
The El Dorado screening will be from 11 a.m.-noon in the Clifford Stone Room of the Hubbard Welcome Center.
The Andover screening will be in the Grizzly Room of its Butler Student Union at 11:30 a.m. Both screenings will be followed by a Q&A.
Although the screenings are geared toward the student population, anyone is welcome to come. You can RSVP for these Facebook events page in El Dorado or Andover.
I'm excited about this. I grew up just down the road from BCC and have had a relationship with the college going back to when I used to attend the Grizzlies' football camp. Much of the documentary was filmed in Butler County, which is also where the subject of the film grew up.

Monday, January 9, 2017

What they're doing in Derby about Westboro

So I really didn't think my first post of 2017 was going to be about Westboro Baptist Church. We spent a few seconds discussing their hate tactics in our documentary, but for the most part I treat them as Kansas' crazy uncle who's better left ignored.
However ...
Westboro has announced it is going to be having an organized protest Friday at Derby High School, where our Editor/DP Kenny Linn teaches broadcast and video production. Note: The protest has been changed to Wednesday because of Friday's forecast for freezing rain.
This news hasn't gotten much of a rise out of Kenny. But a couple of folks have asked to help spread the word about their peaceful counter protests, designed to shield the students from Westboro's nonsense.
Did I say counter protests? There are at least two groups on Facebook putting groups together, Wall Against Westboro and Let's Show Our Love.
Last month, students from Derby made headlines by electing a transgender student as king of its annual Holly Ball.