Flyway Film Fest Dispatch #8: Xan Aranda



Director of shorts for the Flyway Film Festival is veteran programmer, Xan Aranda, founder and director of the Chicago Short Film Brigade and writer/producer of other feature films. Xan spoke with us last year with her in competition film, Milking the Rhino. This year she’s here to help promote Prisoner of Her Past and give us an exquisite breadth of great short films in the many genres that they encompass.

Once again at the closing night P&I party, Xan talked with Matt and Andrew about the nature of short films, some of the favorites at this year’s fest and other festival goings on with her Short Film Brigade and the sheer number of them she sees each year. We also talk about the Jay Cheel retrospective she plans to screen after learning about Poutine from Gerry.



Chicago Short Film Brigade
Mormons Make Movies


Flyway Film Fest Dispatch #7: Jed Schlegelmilch and Damon Holland



Final night at the Flyway Film Festival and during the drink-a-thon that is the closing night gala party, we managed to finally catch our very busy friend and now film maker, Jed Schliegelmilch, for a quick sit down to discuss his new film, Absence/Presence. This extremely personal documentary follows Jed on a quest of sorts to explore a little bit more about what happened Halloween night ten years ago when his brother very unexpectedly committed suicide. Details at the time were sketchy and even a little bit of mystery to the evening. Jed road trips to Wisconsin to visit friends and officials involved with the case in order to finally come to grips with his own feelings surrounding the entire situation. Needless to say the audience took the film as the punch in the gut that it is and was visibly moved as the closing credits rolled.

As we sat down in the very noisy Breakwater Gallery and Wine Bar, Jed and his director of photography, Damon Holland, talk about their feelings on putting the film together, how Cloud Cult got involved and agreed to do the soundtrack and what it’s like to be a rookie film maker at their very first festival and what plans they have for the film in the future.



Official site


Flyway Film Fest Dispatch #6: Filmmakers Alyssa and Athena Lobit



Back for another round of interviews, Gamble and I sat down this time with a pair of film makers. This was the writer/star and producer of this year’s Flyway Film Festival “Best Narrative Feature” award, The Things We Carry. After seeing the film I can understand why. It has some great performances, high production value, terrific writing and even some recognizable faces among the cast.

That said, this might not be the film for everyone. This is personal melodrama at its highest. And I loved it! Two sisters of very different personality are forced to come together after the death of their mother and overcome their differences by confronting personal and extrapersonal relationships of the past and present; including a few of the more unsavory variety that vexed their drug addicted mother during the last years of her life.

Alyssa and Athena Lobit are sisters who took the real life experiences of their past, dramatized it and put it on screen for all of us to see. It’s a brave move, but one I’m glad they tackled. Hear their thoughts below and catch a glimpse of what the film entails and how you might see it soon.



Official site
Purchase the DVD on Amazon
Available for rentNetflix
Minneapolis Asian Film Festival

Flyway Film Fest Dispatch #5: Documentarian Howard Reich



One of the most intriguing films to come to Pepin this year is the documentary Prisoner of Her Past. Chicago Tribune Jazz critic Howard Reich sits down with us to talk about how and why his mother of 69 years one day decided to flee her Chicago home in the middle of the night insisting to police later that people were trying to kill her. After an evaluation we learn that Sonia actually has a rare form of delusion: Late Onset Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.

During World War II, it turns out that as a ten year-old child, Sonia was forced to go on the run and into hiding through the German occupation of her country and witnessed unspeakable atrocities. These tragic events are now rearing their ugly head all these years later within Sonia’s psyche. After writing an article about the ordeal for the Chicago Tribune, he’s decided to investigate further and document the entire personal journey on film that takes him across the globe and chance encounters with other war survivors and people who actually knew his mother as a child. It’s an absolutely fascinating journey of discovery that’s both heart warming and heart wrenching at the same time.

Howard was gracious enough to sit down with us and discuss how he went about making the film and his discoveries and feelings as he progressed through this trek over the past few months/years.




Prisoner of Her Past Official film site
Purchase the DVD
Sonia’s story in Book form written by Howard himself
Howard’s Blog documenting screenings and events since the making of the film


Flyway Film Fest Dispatch #4: Producer Jeremy Wilker



Always happy when a film comes around the bend that was produced and shot locally for us Minnesotans. Shooting in MN is a tough racket but the producers of Triumph67 are willing to tackle it and the subject matter and the players involved is something not seen before and it looks to be a really special project.

Since this interview was recorded the film played to a packed house at Flyway and came away with a lot of great responses and comments from the audience that included several other professional film makers. We at WheretheLongTailEnds and RowThree really look forward to a local screening and hopefully beyond for Jeremy and Co. Listen to a very friendly and eager Jeremy talk about the film here and see some of the external links that will get you to trailers and more information below.


Triumph67 official site
Kickstarter campaign
Jeremy’s Twitter
Triumph67 Twitter


Flyway Film Fest Dispatch #3: Director Gary King



Director Gary King sits down with Matt and Andrew as the only film maker with two films screening at the Flyway Film Festival this year: Death of the Dead and What’s Up Lovely. This is Gary’s second year at Flyway after last year’s screening of RowThree favorite, New York Lately. Death of the Dead is essentially Flyway’s equivalent of a midnight madness screening with a lot of low brow humor; definitely best enjoyed with a beer or seven… and as it turns out, it really is a truckload of fun (review coming soon)!

Check out our brief conversation with film fan and friend Gary King and then check out some of the links below to the production blog of current and upcoming project. And be sure to BUY A COPY of King’s 2008 top ten feature, New York Lately on DVD complete with director commentary and Andrew James fan/critic commentary (my first go at a film commentary – which was a lot of fun!).



LINKS: (trailers, reviews, production blog, etc.)
Andrew’s review of What’s Up Lovely
Oddly, but awesomely translated version of Andrew’s review for What’s Up Lovely

Flyway Film Fest Dispatch #2: Director Jay Cheel



Most everyone reading this site already knows Jay Cheel from FilmJunk and The Documentary Blog. Mr. Cheel is here at Flyway to show his short Cooking with Gerry before Gary King’s feature Death of the Dead. The film played wonderfully in front of an audience and both Jay and Gerry (despite his absence) became an instant star and talk of the town literally overnight.

This particular podcast is brought to you courtesy of alcohol and sleeplessness and a test on our new recording device. Thanks to Jay for indulging us and just going on about how poutine should be prepared properly and the lack of its availability in the ignorant United States.

Watch this episode of Cooking with Gerry right here under the seats as well as a link to the original Cooking with Gerry of twenty years ago…
Would you like to know more…?

Flyway Film Fest Dispatch #1: Director Rick Vaicius



We’re back in Pepin, Wisconsin once again for the third annual Flyway Film Festival and Gamble and Andrew are here for more “pubcasting” with various film fans and film makers over this amazingly fun weekend with all sorts of fantastic independent film.

Rick Vaicius is the festival director and chief programmer and was not only gracious enough to sit down with us for a few minutes to talk about the festival, but really the most gracious of hosts to all of his guests (including us bloggers) for the entire weekend. This is a festival that relies mainly on the fun factor and Rick makes absolutely certain that everyone who comes into town for the big show has an excess of enjoyment, hospitality and most importantly a good time!

As a quick side note, Matt and I would like to give a huge shout out to the Breakwater Gallery & Wine Bar (Google) for graciously allowing all of the filmmakers to use the lounge as a weekend long retreat for these interviews, maybe a few beers as well as the occasional nap in their comfy armchairs. Not to mention the use of their wi-fi for uploading all of these mini-podcasts that will be posted over the next few days both here and at

Thanks to everyone involved with putting this amazing little festival together and allowing us to crash it!