By Lynda Jensen
WATERTOWN, MN The fourth annual Watertown Film Festival is ready to go for Saturday, March 13 at the Watertown Performing Arts Center from noon to 10 p.m.
Advance tickets are $10 and the web site is www.WatertownFilmFestival.com.
This year, the event will begin with live musical performances. This is the first year the event has featured a music portion, and organizers are excited to have some of the most successful bands in Minnesota playing, commented organizer Andrew Hatling.
Following the music, a catered dinner will be served. It will feature a wide variety of options, and add on to the red-carpet feel of this event.
Next, audience members are invited to participate in a film panel featuring local film experts. From filmmakers to critics, and actors audience members will have a chance to ask their questions, and get educated answers.
From there, screenings begin, with films by some of Minnesota’s top filmmakers.
After this, with screenings complete, audience members will vote, and more than $1,500 in prizes will be awarded for the top films, along with prizes for some lucky audience members.
The festival received over 50 submissions for the 2010 festival. “Our submission committee met in early February on a few separate occasions and viewed the all of the submissions, which came from all around the country,” Hatling commented.
“We were amazed at the astounding variety in style and approach that each film had, and are extremely excited with the 16 that have made it into this year’s festival.”
A list of films and filmmakers is as follows:
Samuel Ekren “Natural Intention”
What are the intentions of their chase, and what is the ultimate threat? This piece is an experimental narrative following three characters on pursuit of a girl through natural landscape.
Hannah Ezzell “Wash Me Away”
The story of a girl, quietly exploring an old military base. The piece is about cleansing the old to make room for the new.
Brooke Martin “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall”
A mysterious mirror reflects the truth of those who look upon it.
Leah Gossman “OCD”
An animation based off of the theme “metamorphosis and change,” following the dream of a “blob,” who falls in love and finds change.
Tim & Zach Sandquist “The Kramer”
Two secret agents are asked to “borrow” a painting known as “the Kramer.” They initially feel this training mission will be a snap, but are in for a big surprise!
Honor Heymann “Lost and Found”
The story of a pomegranate that comes to life and finally finds love and acceptance. This film is meant to inspire and provoke thought. It is based on a photograph and a personal experience.
Peter Holme “Temptation”
An exploration of the subconscious with the model representing humanity, and its search for fulfillment.
Michael Schreifels “Dead Vines”
A man relives the pain of youth, opportunities foregone, and lost love.
Melissa Kraemer “Persistence of Vision”
When we think about death, we primarily think of it in the context of the effects it has on the living those left behind; this film follows the mental journey of a young girl coping with the deaths of those close to her.
Faith Cavaliere “Target High”
Target High’s popular, Jack Brian White, loses the “love of his life” on the first day of school.
Lauren Salonek “Realize”
The true story of Brett Hansen-Begg as he travels on the journey of recovery, following an accident that nearly took his life.
Samuel Ekren “By My Side”
A stop-motion animations telling the story of a boy in a white mask who is inspired by a creative and energetic girl. This piece took over 3,600 still images to create.
Ryan Hangartner “The Benson Files”
A true story following the mysterious disappearance of the legendary, Justin Benson, and the search for where he is today.
Sebastian Rezek “The Sixty Breakthrough”
An experimental video poem exploring the loss of someone who is still the same physically, but is mentally disconnected.
Grant Kaufman “Happy or Sad”
A visual poem exploring human emotion.
Alex Davidson “Dissonance”
Three people must decide the best course of action to survive.
Schedule of Events
The following is a schedule of musical events.
noon Bill Greenwood
1 p.m. Roma di Luna
2 p.m. Jon Arthur
2:30 p.m. Nancy Harms
3:30 Tim Gustafson
4 p.m. Caroline Smith & the Good Night Sleeps
Five-Star Dinner (5 - 6 p.m.)
Filmmaking Panel (6 - 7 p.m.), featuring Euan Kurr of MPR, and local filmmakers.
7.-10 p.m. Film Screenings. Featuring Minnesota’s top films and filmmakers.
10 p.m. Voting
(Audience votes for their three top films)
10:05 p.m. Grand awards ceremony
- Film prizes
- Door prizes
The festival will be awarding more than $1,500 in prizes to filmmakers and audience members.
Dinner tickets are available for only $10.
The dinner will feature herb- crusted chicken breasts with boursin cream sauce, savory rice pilaf, and market vegetables. Entrees will be served with a spring fling salad, artisan bread, a decadent chocolate dessert, and a drink (coffee, milk, or bottled water).
Any special requests for seating, parking, or hearing assistance devices should be made to the e-mail WatertownFilmFestival@Gmail.com before the event, and they will attempt to accommodate as much as possible.
Biographies of bands to play at festival
The following are profiles of bands that will be performing, at the festival.
Caroline Smith & the Good Night Sleeps
Since her arrival in Minneapolis during the fall of 2006 as an 18-year-old singer/songwriter, Caroline Smith has utilized her proximity to a music scene bursting with notable venues and like-minded musicians.
One such venue was the 400 Bar. Hearing of artists like Elliott Smith, Conor Oberst and Mason Jennings making their names and performing residencies there, Smith approached owner Tom Sullivan and was signed on for a residency of her own. A growing audience and favorable press was to follow, not to mention supporting Mason Jennings, and even a spot opening for BB King.
In 2007, through her growing reputation and charismatic personality, Smith befriended Twin Cities’ very own Arlen Peiffer (Cloud Cult), Jesse Schuster, and Colin Hacklander. In August of 2008, they went into the studio to record their debut album, Backyard Tent Set, dubbing themselves, officially, Caroline Smith & The Good Night Sleeps.
The group, with its independently released LP has made major waves online, on air, and on tour. In their short existence, they’ve already completed four well-attended national tours, along with a constant circuit through the Midwest. They have become critical darlings in the Midwest as Smith separates herself from the usual female singer-songwriter pack with a distinct style of song-writing and a genre of music she’s begotten and named “story-book folk.”
Vocalist Nancy Harms was recently named by the Star Tribune as “…the brightest new star of the Twin Cities jazz scene”.
The Tribune also placed her debut album, In the Indigo” in the top 10 CDs of 2009 of the “Twin Cities Critics Tally.”
Raised in the small Midwestern town of Clara City, MN, Nancy Harms had no exposure to jazz as a child. Singing in public since the age of 4, it wasn’t until attending Concordia College in Moorhead, MN that Harms began to discover jazz, the music which brings out her natural abilities and interpretive skills.
After college she taught elementary music in a small Minnesotan town for a few years. Discontentment led her to leave her teaching career and move to Minneapolis to explore her passion.
From that point on, Harms immersed herself in the local jazz scenes throughout the state of Minnesota. In November of 2009, she released her first album, In the Indigo, which received high critical acclaim. Previous to In the Indigo, she recorded an EP in 2007 and sung backup on other CD and jingle projects and has enjoyed radio airplay on such outlets as KBEM-FM Jazz 88, The Penthouse in New York, WCCO-AM, and Minnesota Public Radio Network.
Recently her album has been receiving airplay on many programs across the country including Public Radio International’s “Jazz After Hours”.
Nancy can currently be found on many club and concert stages around the state of Minnesota and in Chicago and is looking forward to expanding her performance venues across the US and Europe.
Roma di Luna
At its heart, Roma di Luna is the wife-husband duo Channy Moon Casselle (vocals, violin) and Alexei Moon Casselle (guitar, vocals).
They began performing in 2004 as street musicians in downtown Minneapolis and since then, have released two full-length albums, two EPs, and casually transitioned their musical concept into a full-band affair.
If the occasion arises, however, Roma di Luna can still stun as a two-piece, returning to their roots with the same moving presence and musicality.
Besides Channy and Alexei, Roma di Luna’s principal players are Ben Durrant (electric guitar), James Everest (bass guitar), Ryan Lovan (percussion), Jessi Prusha (backing vocals), and Michael Rossetto (banjo), and all are featured prominently on Roma’s latest album, Casting the Bones. Instrumentally lush, vocally assured, Casting the Bones explores new sonic territory while still embracing the art of traditional folk songs and storytelling.
No mere roots revivalists, Channy and Alexei sing the Janis-faced blues, modern appropriations of love and loss, suffused with both possibility and melancholy.
Singer-songwriter Bill Greenwood uses well-crafted songs, mind-blowing humor and colorful stories to put on a show like no one else.
Over the years he has shared his message of laughter, love and self-worth to people of all walks of life, including thousands of school children as an entertainer for the DARE. program. A veteran performer, Bill has performed in practically every possible performing venue, from addiction treatment centers to national music festivals to state penitentiaries and prisons.
Tim Gustafson is a passionate musician, with a love for writing. His creativity and ability shine through in his soon-to-be-released album. Tim is a recent graduate of Crown College.
Jon Arthur celebrates his musical talents with his debut album, “Head Interest.” His folk rock feel and intricate guitar patterns create amazing music and exciting performances.