2014 Union College Steinmetz Symposium

We just got back from screening Nontraditional at the 24th Steinmetz Symposium at Union College in Schenectady, NY. The Steinmetz Symposium is the annual day-long presentation of undergraduate research at Union.

Steinmetz 2This spring, our assistant director and make-up artist, Clara Boesch, graduates from Union, where writer-director Brian Hauser taught from 2009-2012. Clara’s participation in the making of Nontraditional was supported by a Union College Summer Research Fellowship, and so in addition to her actual senior research project (on the history of corporate-sponsored films in the United States), Clara gave a presentation on her experience on last summer’s film set.

Steinmetz 1

(Photo Credit: Lorraine M. Cox)

We also screened the film as one of the very last symposium events of the day. Christina, Brian, and Clara were joined by director of photography/editor Zach Durocher on stage for a Q&A session after the show. We were especially happy to have Kenneth Aslakson, who plays Blake in the film and who is a professor of history at Union, as a member of the audience. Once again, an engaged and enthusiastic audience had some excellent questions for us. We were also extremely happy to screen the film for so many people who had helped make our Kickstarter campaign such a success!

Thank you, Union!

2014 Catskill Mountains Film Festival

PrintThis past weekend we attended the Catskill Mountains Film Festival in Delhi, NY. Ever since we were selected for this festival, we have been impressed with their high level of organization, attentiveness, and professionalism. Even though this is their very first year, all of the i’s were dotted and the t’s crossed! We were excited to attend for all sorts of reasons, not the least of which was that we were certain our film would be well-treated by the festival.

CMFF 1_RevDelhi is a quaint town in Delaware County, not far from Oneonta and Cooperstown, NY. What quickly became clear when we arrived in town is that so many of the local businesses were showing their support for film in the Catskills. And it wasn’t just this big banner downtown (“Look at banner, Michael!”)

CMFF 3_RevOn Saturday morning, when we stopped into the Cross Roads Cafe & Coffee Bar for breakfast, our table was adorned with this folded placard. We would see these and posters all over town that weekend.

CMFF 8_RevThe festival hit the right notes, too. Friday night included the VIP & Filmmaker reception in Farrell Hall on the campus of SUNY Delhi. We got to meet a number of interesting people and talk about their films. The young man in the blue hoodie in the foreground is Luke Broyles, who wound up winning in his category for his documentary short.

CMFF 9_Rev

CMFF 5_RevFor you Boardwalk Empire fans, we also met Nick Julius (who plays the bouncer Gino in season one), the writer-director of the short “The Devil Goes Down,” featuring Michael K. Williams. The film is a riff on the story in “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” using basketball instead of fiddling. Though Michael K. Williams plays the devil (in a stunning crimson suit), it is Luiz “Triks” De Silva (above) who performs as Satan’s basketball-playing incarnation. De Silva treated all of us to a demonstration after the film screening.

Nontraditional screened on Saturday afternoon. There was a brief glitch with adjusting the aspect ratio of the projector early on in the film, but once that was sorted out, everything went smoothly. We screened in the Okun Theater in Farrell Hall, which is a 375-seat full-on movie theater. The film looked and sounded great on the big screen. This was our first real screening with an audience of people who both didn’t really know us and were not themselves student veterans, and we’re happy to say that the response was very positive. The audience had great questions for us, and we made some exciting contacts for future screenings.

After our screening, we ate sushi at Tuna III in downtown Delhi and then made it back to campus for the red carpet event and awards ceremony. Because the screening schedule was backed up somewhat, when we slipped back into the theater to see a short film that was on our list, we actually wound up seeing most of Roger Ross Williams’ God Loves Uganda. This amazingly powerful film is well worth your time. We talked a bit with Williams shortly after the screening and Q&A, too.

CMFF Red Carpet 1Well, we finally made it onto the red carpet after the God Loves Uganda screening, and here’s proof! I love award ceremonies, and this one was no exception. There was a video address from Bill Pullman, the festival’s honorary chair, and a keynote address from the wonderful David France, who had screened his How to Survive a Plague earlier in the fest. A hearty congratulations to all the winners!

Marist College Screening

Back in late March, we took Nontraditional on the road for its first screening away from Potsdam. We had been invited to screen at Marist College by the school’s Student Veteran Organization, which had also been one of our generous Kickstarter backers. We were very happy to share the film with them and hear what they thought.

Marist Crowd

 

We were introduced by Professor Danielle Langfield of the Marist Political Science Department. The above photo shows the newly renovated theater where we screened the film. The crowd in attendance was a nice combination of student veterans, faculty and staff who work closely with student veterans, and film faculty and students from the Media Studies and Production program. The screening went very well, and as usual we followed it with a Q&A session that lasted a good long time.

Marist also treated us and the student veterans in attendance to dinner afterward, where we continued our discussions about the issues that confront student vets, filmmaking, and the power of telling stories.

The best part of the evening was just after the Q&A session, when a member of the Marist Student Veterans Organization presented us with the Marist SVO challenge coin! Our first coin! We couldn’t have been prouder.

Marist Coin