Sunday, July 30, 2017

Making new friends at Glitter!

McAlester, Okla., is more than a 500-mile round trip from Wichita, but I had a good reason for driving there Friday: The Glitter! Film Festival, recently featured by NBC News.
The four-film block that included "Out Here In Kansas" had to have been one the best ones. It started with "The Symphony of Silence," a tear-jerking narrative directed by Cedric Thomas Smith (pictured on the far right).
Next up was our film, followed by "Upstairs Inferno," a feature documentary I was well aware of before Glitter! It's the story of a gay club in New Orleans being set on fire, resulting in the murder of 32 people.
The block ended with "Your Way Back to Me," which was directed, shot and edited by first-time filmmaker Alexandra Dietz (second from right). It's a documentary about Native-American Hannah Sheridan (far left), her career as a lesbian in the Navy and her family's way of coping with death.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Introducing our new film project

The subject matter won't have much in common with "Out Here In Kansas," but the same film crew has already begun a still-untitled documentary about an indoor soccer team called the Wichita Wings.
This film will focus on the 1980s Wings, who quickly became a pop culture phenomenon in Wichita with their long hair, tan legs and flamboyant personalities. They were mostly European players with large appetites for fun, and they couldn't have come along at a more perfect time.
This will be a bigger project than "Out Here In Kansas." We'll have more photos, more B roll, more history and more interviews (we're already done 12).
But it's safe to say Wichita Wings: The Movie (that's our working title) will have a similar look. I'm sharing the director's role with Kenny Linn. Jon Pic is back as producer. Tim O'Bryhim, who co-wrote a history of the Wings book with Michael Romalis, is also a producer.
You can follow the project on our Facebook fan page, or our Twitter account.

Monday, July 24, 2017

What's going down in this photo?

I'm not sure what's exactly being discussed in this picture, taken earlier this year during a Q&A session at Southwestern College. But the look on our faces is kind of funny. (Click to enlarge.) That's editor Kenny Linn on the far right, me to the left of him and producer Jon Pic to the left of me.

Our evening with Melissa Etheridge

Rock legend Melissa Etheridge performed at the Wichita Orpheum last night. "Out Here In Kansas" producer Jon Pic and I were fortunate enough to meet her backstage before the concert.
Etheridge, for those who haven't seen our documentary, plays a significant part in "Out Here In Kansas." She is from Leavenworth and is practically an icon in the LGBT community, not to mention a brave cancer survivor. (Watch this and tell me it doesn't give you a few goosebumps.)
Melissa called Jon and me "the movie guys" and just couldn't have been nicer. She offered to sign our movie poster (Jon was smart enough to bring a silver Sharpie.) I thanked her over and over again for being a part of our film, and she thanked us "for the important work you're doing."
Jon and I got fifth-row seats to the concert, which was incredible. She played a two-hour set, including an encore, and pretty much blew everyone away with her showy guitar playing and trademark raspy voice. At one point she even took over the drums.
She talked to the audience a lot about growing up in Kansas and her experiences in Wichita - which included church camp, "believe it or not." She sang "Wichita Lineman." She's clearly proud of her home state, even though she's now lived most of her life in Los Angeles.
"Kansas rocks," she told the audience. "Don't you ever say any different."

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Back in Oklahoma next week

Here are the details of our next screening of "Out Here In Kansas," which will be highlighted at the Glitter! Oklahoma LGBT Film Festival in McAlester, Okla.
Our movie will be shown at 4:45 p.m. Friday, July 28 at Spaceship Earth Coffee, 312 E. Choctaw Ave. in McAlester.
Following that will be a directors Q&A from 5:30-6 p.m. Admission is free to the public.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Austin, here we come

Now this is cool. It wasn't official until this week, but a while back we learned that "Out Here In Kansas" was a shoo-in for the Austin Revolution Film Festival, one of our most prestigious honors to date.
"Out Here in Kansas" will screen 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23 at the festival. (That's 11 weeks from today, by the way.)
We've terribly excited about this one. It's been a month of Sundays since I've been to Austin, but everyone knows its reputation for food, fun and incredible love of the arts. It's been called "the third coast for film making." (It's also one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States.)
But enough about the city. The best part is going to be seeing some film making teams we already know, meeting new people and of course, seeing a ton of independent films.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Texas loves us

Here's the first of our exciting July announcements: "Out Here In Kansas" will make its Texas premiere at the San Antonio Film Festival.
The festival will be July 31-Aug. 6, and will have several screenings in downtown San Antonio. We'll inform you on this blog when the exact time and place of our screening is announced.
Also, keep reading this blog for an announcement about another film festival. Hint: It's in Texas, too.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Three cheers for Free State

This was a good problem to have, but editor Kenny Linn and I had to made a hard decision last weekend. Do we try to leave Wichita Friday night and make it to Chicago by Saturday morning, when "Out Here In Kansas" was screening at the Windy City Film Festival? Or do we just relax and take in every movie we can at the Free State Film Festival, where it wasn't screening until Sunday night?
We ultimately chose the latter, setting up tent the entire weekend in Lawrence, where we kept the restaurants on Massachusetts Street busy both days (not that they needed our help).
My personal favorite film was "Lane 1974," an eye-opening (and at times, heart-wrenching) story about a 12-year-old girl trying to survive in a hippy lifestyle gone wrong. It was followed closely by the narrative features "The Scent of Rain and Lightning" and "The Tree."
The shorts block was equally outstanding. Our film was the only documentary among the eight shown, and it was the very last movie screened at the festival. We weren't sure if that was a compliment or not, but everyone seemed happy with it. Afterwards we made sure to get this picture with producer Savannah Rodgers, since we don't get too many chances to see her in person these days.