We're now less than two weeks away from the festival!
Don't forget, the festival starts on Thursday, November 4th at the Gorton Center in Lake Forest with Dear Mr. Brody. This is the first place I'm making a handful of new announcements. None of these announcements are reflected on the website yet, but they should be up by the end of the weekend.
Closing Night Film
Our closing night film is The First Step, directed by Brandon Kramer. The First Step follows political commentator Van Jones as he works with Jared Kushner and the Trump administration to pass a bill on criminal justice reform. See a clip from the film at YouTube.
Closing night is November 15th at Three Brothers Theatre in Waukegan.
Cat Daddies is a documentary about male cat owners and their feline companions. It mostly centers on David Giovanni, who is homeless and lives on the streets of New York City with his cat Lucky, but the film takes many detours to talk to some other men about their cats, including a firehouse, truck driver, and a stuntman.
While Cat Daddies seems interested in disrupting the stigma that men can't love cats, that's never exactly the focus of the film, which is more interested in telling the story of these people and their pets.
Cat Daddies premiered last week at the Dallas International Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature. See the trailer on YouTube.
The second title is a narrative feature titled 18½, which is the number of minutes missing in Nixon's Watergate tapes. This farce is about a White House stenographer who finds the missing tapes, and tries to to leak it to a reporter. Unfortunately, they come across countless obstacles to in their quest to listen to it.
While you may not recognize lead actors Willa Fitzgerald & John Magaro (who has been in Orange Is The New Black, Overlord, and recently starred in The Many Saints Of Newark), the supporting cast is overrun by recognizable actors like Richard Kind, Vondie Curtis Hall, Jon Cryer, and Bruce Campbell.
You can check out the trailer on Vimeo.
Purchase Your Passes This Weekend!
Every pass purchase comes with a physical pass, which is usually a laminated business card, like these:
This year, we're ordering large, plastic badges for filmmakers and staff, and if you order your all-access passes this weekend, you'll get one of these cool, collectable badges instead. After ordering, simply email me the name as you'd like it to appear. This order goes in Monday, so if you're planning on getting a pass anyway, NOW is the time!
I was hoping to have a pretty new schedule to show you, but that's going to have to wait until next week. In the meantime, these are the FINAL schedule spreadsheets. They are color coded:
Orange = Narrative Features
Tan = Documentary Features
Yellow = Rockin' The Suburbs
Red = Short Film Blocks
College Of Lake County Schedule
Three Brothers Theatre Schedule
We will be offering two FREE classes on filmmaking during the festival.
The first is a masterclass on microbudget filmmaking with director Michael Glover Smith. Smith has written and directed three independent features, including 2018's LCFF selection Rendezvous in Chicago. He also teaches film studies at several Chicago area colleges (including CLC). In this presentation, Smith will show selected scenes from all four films and discuss the logistics of microbudget moviemaking in the Midwest -- from scriptwriting to fundraising to shooting to post-production and beyond -- as well as how to navigate the tricky worlds of festivals and distribution. Followed by a Q&A.
We've titled the second seminar Churning Out Content with Professional YouTube Creator Jake Jarvi. Jarvi has shown short films and his 2006 feature The Girl at the Lake County Film Festival, but he's spent the last four years making a full-time living as the shooter/editor for the Rob Scallon YouTube channel, which has 2.2 million subscribers and more than 437 million video views. In this block he'll discuss the ins and outs of the content treadmill lifestyle, from planning to shooting to editing to upload to the always unpredictable reaction of the audience to the one undeniable truth--you can always tell a video's reach has expanded beyond the core audience when the assholes show up.
Both classes will be held on Saturday, November 13th at the College Of Lake County, in room T331. The Microbudget Filmmaking class is at 1:00pm, and the Churning Out Content will be at 3:30pm.
We know one of the most exciting things about attending a film festival is getting to interact with filmmakers. So far about two dozen filmmakers have indicated that they are attending the festival. Hopefully next week we'll have a list of filmmakers, and which shows they are attending.
The Free Room
Usually the film festival only shows recent films that we haven't shown before, but given our inability to gather in person last year, I've decided to reshow some of the films that we weren't able to show in person.
All showings are free, but we are taking suggested donations for The Dunn Museum. All free screenings are on Saturday November 6th at The College Of Lake County, in room T332.
2:00 - #BLM (Shorts) (the short film Ant is being replaced with a brand new short).
3:00 - The Souls Of Black Folk (Shorts) (Brooklyn Park is excluded)
4:00 - Ukraine (Shorts)
5:50 - Death Of A Rock Star
8:00 - Molto Bella
Discord is a live chat app, similar to Slack. Last year, when we were all-virtual, we opened a server, to encourage interaction between filmmakers and attendees. We've still got it open, with some new and returning filmmakers showing up in the there. Come join us! https://discord.gg/KhtxQ8a
This year, we really wanted to have T-shirts for sale at the festival again, but it just hasn't been feasible. Instead, we put our fantastic new logo up on CafePress, where you can put it on any size and color shirts (we think the tan and yellow look amazing), as well as a few other items.
The Virtual Film Festival
We are running a smaller, virtual festival from November 18 - 29. It will have 10 features and 10 short film programs from the main lineup. While the entire lineup won't be released for a little longer, we can confirm the following titles:
Cat Daddies (IL/WI only)
Guinea Pig Diaries
Sing To Me Sylvie
Yes I Am
Short Film Programs:
Come On Time
Dance To The Music
Head Above Water
Late Stage Capitalism
Science Fiction / Triple Feature
Welcome To My Nightmare
Thanks for your interest, and for supporting the festival and independent film. Please spread the word to anyone you think might be interested. I'll probably be back next Friday with one last newsletter.