A real filmmaker visits Green Bay

Reflections on the Green Bay Film Festival, March 2013

By Nicholas Wootton


This month, The Fashion Show, most ambitious project ever taken on by the Wisconsin Film School, premiered at the Green Bay Film Festival. The film’s producer, and WFS President, Jim Carrier asked me to attend the event as representative of the film. It was my first experience attending a film festival with the title “Filmmaker.”

If I didn’t already have enough desire to be labeled a filmmaker, my time in Green Bay gave me all the incentive I will ever need.

Nicholas Wootton making a movie within a movie at THE FASHION SHOW shoot

Nicholas Wootton making a movie within a movie at THE FASHION SHOW shoot

The festival, now in its third year, took place entirely within the confines of the Marriott Hotel, so it was easy to get around. After checking in to my room at the hotel, I found the registration table I reported my arrival. A look of awe crossed the face of the attendee checking me in. “You’re a … filmmaker?!” There was a brief whirl of activity as festival volunteers gathered my lanyard and a bag of welcome gifts. And I was invited to add my signature to a large festival poster containing signatures of other filmmakers who had already arrived. Festival organizer Cyndee Sweetnam was summoned to officially welcome me.

This VIP treatment was a big reward for my lowly efforts as one of several light techs for a WFS documentary. The Fashion Show followed three Madison area residents faced with physical challenges limiting their mobility, but who participate in the annual Fashion Show for All Abilities at the Monona Convention Center. I am proud of my work on the film, and seeing how the fashion show affects of the lives of people with physical and cognitive limitations genuinely moved me. But I never expected that setting up lights and a little camera work would earn me such honors. That is usually reserved for producers and directors. I guess it is true that eighty percent of success is showing up.

Nicholas Wootton, left, listens as Director Kelley Baker and AD Jim Carrier discuss a shot. Cameraman Matt Morrow is behind camera, lower left.

Nicholas Wootton, left, listens as Director Kelley Baker and AD Jim Carrier discuss a shot. Cameraman Matt Morrow is behind camera.

Showing up really paid off when a reporter from WBAY, a local TV station, asked to interview me about filmmaking in Wisconsin. I was on the news that night!

My focus at the film festival of course was to attend the presentation of The Fashion Show the next morning. Unfortunately, the presentation was not well attended; only about twenty people were there. But those who were there had good questions about both the fashion show and the process of making the film. And it gave me the chance to talk about how working on this film affected me personally, as well as taught me a lot about filmmaking.

But I would say the best part of attending the festival was the chance to meet people. At the opening reception I knew absolutely no one, yet found total strangers introducing themselves to me and interested in hearing about The Fashion Show and my current film project, Just God. I approached total strangers and they were glad to begin a conversation. And I gave out my business card to anyone who would take cymbalta without a prescription it. People meeting people, connecting, networking, is what it was all about. From now on, that will be my focus at every festival I attend.

So make a movie! Get it in a festival! Attend the festival and have a great time!

Nicholas Wootton, right, films Lexi McSwain on the runway as Matt Morrow shoots from left.

Nicholas Wootton, right, films Lexi McSwain on the runway as Matt Morrow shoots from left.





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Wisconsin Film Festival preview show April 5

WPT’s Director’s Cut to Feature Wisconsin Film Festival Selections

WPT logoDirector’s Cut with guest host Pete Schwaba spotlights films selected for the upcoming Wisconsin Film Festival. Director’s Cut: Wisconsin Film Festival airs 9 p.m. Friday, April 5 on Wisconsin Public Television (WPT).
Wisconsin Film Festival Director of Programming Jim Healy sits down with Schwaba to discuss the festival featuring 150 films in seven Madison venues April 11 through 18.
Director’s Cut: Wisconsin Film Festival also includes clips from several of the festival’s films as well as interviews with the filmmakers: Jim Carrier is the director of “The Librarian and the Banjo”; Chris James Thompson directed “The Jeffrey Dahmer Files”; Marc Kornblatt is the director of “Street Pulse”; Blyth Meier directed “So I Could Fly Away”. Stacey Kulow, producer and Bryan Morris, lead actor of “Long Distance”, and Eric Nelson director of “Siszella” also are interviewed.
WPT is a service of the Educational Communications Board and the University of

    Wisconsin Public Television is a place to grow through learning on WHA-TV/Madison; WPNE-TV/Green Bay; WHRM-TV/Wausau; WLEF-TV/Park Falls; WHLA-TV/La Crosse; and WHWC-TV/Menomonie-Eau Claire.

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The Fashion Show premieres at Green Bay Film Festival March 2.

Our latest movie, THE FASHION SHOW, has been chosen for the Green Bay Film Festival. It will show at 11 a.m. Saturday

March 2. Join Rachel Weingarten of the Waisman Center, and filmmaker Nicholas Wootton for a Q&A after the film.

The Fashion Show Poster with GB Laurel(Photo courtesy Douglas Otto (aka Papa-RaZZi)


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"The Fashion Show" documentary is released

Lexi McSwain and documentary filmmakers from the Wisconsin Film School. Photo by Douglas Otto (aka papp-RaZZi)

THE FASHION SHOW, a 25-minute documentary produced by the Wisconsin Film School, is

available for distribution and sale. Copies are $15, postpaid.

Produced by Jess Haven, directed by Kelley Baker and edited by Jim Carrier, THE FASHION SHOW is an intimate look at three individuals with disabilities who prepare for and take part in the 2010 Fashion Show for All Abilities. The three stars are: Mike Millar, Wendy Parks and Lexi McSwain.

For more information, email info@wisconsinfilmschool.org

The movie cast and crew will receive a complimentary DVD. If you would like to order one, you may use Paypal, or mail a check for $15 per DVD to the address on the Contact page. Please include your address.




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Wisconsin Film School Presents: Your films

The Wisconsin Film School today announces the launch of a quarterly showcase of independent filmmakers:

Our first showcase, Dec. 10, will feature the school’s own students – more than 75 people of all ages who have taken our classes, learned skills, and been encouraged to make the films of their dreams. Many of them have.

We have emailed our alum, and asked them to nominate their films for this first show case:

Graduate Showcase Screening. Dec. 10. 6:30 p.m. 

We have a building on Madison’s West Side preserved. We’ll have refreshments, an assortment of films, and the filmmakers themselves for a Q&A. More details when our programs are announced.

Other filmmakers from Wisconsin and the upper midwest – or who happen to be passing through — will be invited to showcase their films in future programs.

Wisconsin Film School Presents is part of our founding initiative to create a community of filmmakers. With the demise of WisKino,

and the reduction of filmmaking instruction at WYOU, and the state’s reluctance to support filmmaking with grants and tax breaks, we hope this program will fill a gap and grow our vibrant group.

Sign up on our Facebook page, to keep up to date.

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Driftless Film Festival a winner

Our thanks to Nicholas Langholff, Darren Burrows, Jeremy Patnaude, Cheryl Greer and all the other folks who wrestled a herd of films into one fine, if unusual, film festival Oct. 6-9.

Spread over four days and six communities, the cinemas ranged from animated shorts to documentaries headed to the Academy Awards.

The menu included Hits, a production of the Wisconsin Film School, directed by Kelley Baker and crewed by students. It was gratifying to see our film on the marquee:

Producer Jim Carrier poses in front of the Avalon Theater in Platteville

We got to meet other filmmakers from the region, including Joe Scherrmann (Ghost Player), Charles Latimer (Love and Valor), Tony Wood (Baden Krunk), and Aaron Yonda (Zombie Bite Myth.)


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Driftless Film Festival to include "Hits"

The Driftless Film Festival (Oct. 6-9) final schedule is posted here. Tickets go on sale Thursday Sept. 29.

Here is the posting for Hits, produced by the Wisconsin Film School, which will be screened at noon, Saturday Oct. 8 at the Avalon Theater in Platteville.


Director: Kelley Baker

What is better than baseball, hot dogs — and mustard? A winning season. When Rusty, an old-fashioned baseball stadium hot dog vendor, mixes a special concoction of mustard for a down-and-out rookie, things start to turn around. The rookie (Carnahan) starts hitting. Soon his buddy wants a special hot dog from Rusty. Then, the whole team.

The short film, made by students of the Wisconsin Film School, from a script by Tom Dunn of the Wisconsin Screenwriters Forum, looks at superstition, exploitation and the all-American game of baseball. Made with the cooperation of the Madison

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Mallards baseball team, the National Mustard Museum and the Wisconsin Film School.



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"Hits" to be screened at Driftless Film Festival

Hits, the hot dog, mustard and baseball short produced by the Wisconsin Film School, will kick off a day of baseball movies at the Driftless Film Festival, Oct. 8. in Platteville, WI.

Hits will be shown at noon, followed by Ghost Player at the Avalon Theater on Platteville’s historic main street. Another baseball film, Ballhawks, narrated by Bill Murray, plays at Mineral Point later that afternoon.

The choice of Hits was announced by producer Nick Langholff, a cofounder of the unique Driftless festival in southwestern Wisconsin. The festival, Oct. 6-9, will feature a variety of films screened in six cities. Full details will be announced this weekend.

Hits was a unique coproduction of the Wisconsin Film School, the Wisconsin Screenwriters Forum and the National Mustard Museum. Filmed at the Duckpond, home of the Madison Mallards in Madison, it was produced entirely by students who learned filmmaking in real time.

Written by Tom Dunn, directed by Kelley Baker and produced by Jim Carrier, Hits is a timeless story of baseball superstitions served on a bun. The film stars Colin Cameron, viagra blister 4 Peter Kubicki, Lauren Anastos and Rob Siverson.

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Wis Film Festival Deadline – Oct. 31

The 2012 Wisconsin Film Festival is open for submissions, and Wisconsin filmmakers should take advantage of a

programming change that might favor their submissions THIS YEAR ONLY.

Because of temporary staff changes, the film festival is not accepting “Open Reel” submissions from filmmakers outside Wisconsin. Instead, the festival will curate a selection of U.S. and international films for the festival April 18-22. Open Reel will return for 2013.

The deadline for Wisconsin filmmakers, for films of any length and genre, is Oct. 31, 2011. Rough cuts can be submitted, but read the rules.

The deadline for Wisconsin students is Dec. 31.

Full details are here.




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Driftless Film Festival Oct. 6-9. No fee for Wisconsin films!

For details see: www.driftlessfilmfestival.org

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