October 19, 2009

Fly Away to the Flyway Film Festival, Oct. 22-25

This weekend across the river over der in Pepin, WI, the second annual Flyway Film Festival will showcase an impressive lineup of narrative features, shorts, and documentaries. Amusingly, about half of the films are family-friendly while the other half are zombie flicks (in fact Saturday is being called the International Zombie Summit). But there are plenty of other options if you don't have kids or don't like dead people.

Here's a blurb from the website from festival director Rick Vaicus:

"Selections range from regional Wisconsin/Minnesota offerings to international fare, among them, the Cannes-favorite U.K. zombie film Colin; German drama Storm, which garnered huge praise at the Berlin International Film Festival; Trust Us This Is All Made Up, from U.S. director Alex Karpovsky (whose mockumentary Woodpecker was a 2008 FFF audience favorite); and the family-friendly feature Etienne!, which has steadily been gathering warm critical praise.

Added into the mix is the Opening Night (and Midwest premiere) screening of the extraordinary sci-fi film Ink and Closing Night’s feature, the Wisconsin typesetting documentary Typeface for a variety of subject matter that can truly appeal to almost every film lover.

“We are so excited about this year’s programming,” says Vaicius. “It’s been a lot of hard work, but we’ve been rewarded with some regional and national sponsorships, as well as a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board which has allowed us to expand on last year’s successes, including the ability to bring more filmmakers to the community and the festival.”"

Matt Gamble at Where the Long Tail Ends did a yeoman's job covering last year's festival, and this year he has recruited yours truly and Andrew James from Row Three to join him and expand the festival coverage. We've all got a handful of screeners and plan on being there at different times or throughout the whole weekend. I'll review what I can before the festival but will review whatever I see at some point, even if days or weeks afterward, as the timing was just too short to see everything beforehand. Many of these are small independent films that deserve whatever attention they can get on their way around the festival circuit.

The good news is that you don't need my direction because the festival website is terrific. It's well organized, easy to navigate and requires minimal clicking. Check out the full schedule here and the complete list of films here. Here are what I personally consider some highlights from the descriptions I've read and buzz I've heard:

Friday, October 23rd

7:00 PM     Storm; Hans-Christian Schmid 2009 | Narrative Feature | 105 min.

9:00 PM     Ink; Jamin Winans 2009 | Narrative Feature | 102 min.

Saturday, October 24th

11:00 AM   and on the 7th day, God Rocked; Jason Page 2008 | WI/MN Showcase | 98 min.

1:00 PM     Redneck Zombies; Pericles Lewnes 1989 | 90 min.

3:00 PM     Zombie Girl: The Movie; Aaron Marshall, Justin Johnson and Erick Mauck 2008 | 91 min.

3:00 PM     Trust Us This is All Made Up; Alex Karpovsky 2009 | Documentary Feature | 83 min.

5:00 PM     Colin; Marc Price 2008 | 90 min.

5:00 PM     Milking The Rhino; David E Simpson 2008 | Documentary Feature | 83 min.

7:00 PM     Pontypool; Bruce McDonald 2008 | 96 min.

7:00 PM     The Drummer; Kennith Bi 2007 | Narrative Feature | 115 min.

7:00 PM     Etienne; Jeff Mizushima 2008 | Family Flyway | 88 min.
9:00 PM     Dead Snow; Tommy Wirkola 2009 | 91 min.

Sunday, October 25th

1:00 PM     Living Arrangements; Sam Thompson 2009 | WI/MN Showcase | 95 min.

1:00 PM     The Gold Retrievers; James D R Hickox 2009 | Family Flyway | 90 min.

3:00 PM     New York Lately; Gary King 2008 | WI/MN Showcase | 92 min.

5:00 PM     MIA: A Soldier's Homecoming; Randall Wilson 2007 | Documentary Feature | 57 min.

7:00 PM     Typeface; Justine Nagan 2009 | WI/MN Showcase | 64 min.

I haven't been to the Pepin area before but have only heard that the town and waterfront area are spectacularly beautiful. If the weather holds up I'm sure there will be some great fall foliage to admire as you rub your eyes from the sunlight in between screenings. You might also run into the three of us buzzing around the three festival venues.

Get your tickets now!

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