Last weekend, I had the pleasure of volunteering for the third annual Green Bay Film Festival held at The Radisson Hotel & Conference Centers. I took the role of a room technician, making sure the right films played at the right time. Not only was this an excellent opportunity to connect with local filmmakers and film enthusiasts, but it also gave me the chance to see several independent pieces from outside of our immediate area.
Indian Santa – A documentary short about the Houma Native American communities along the Gulf Coast. Economically impacted by 1985’s Hurricane Juan, the Houma community was in need of a little “pick me up”. One man decides to partner up with Toys for Tots to dress as Santa with a traditional tribal headdress to deliver toys to the children of the Houma tribe.
Standing Bear’s Footsteps – An hour-long documentary about Standing Bear, a Ponca Chief who in 1879 appeared in U.S. District court to fight for the rights of Native Americans as people, and therefore have the right of habeas corpus. Until this point, anyone who was not an American citizen had little or no defense if brought into court or custody of law.
Dead Weight – A feature film shot entirely in the state of Wisconsin about a young couple struggling to find their way back to each other in a post apocalyptic world. Unlike most “zombie movies”, the gore is kept to a minimum, focusing instead on back story and character development. The film explores what someone is willing to do or sacrifice to achieve their goals and when pushed to the extremes.
In Return – My favorite of the four movies I saw this year, In Return is the tale of a young man who falls madly in love with a woman whom, unbeknownst to him, is living homeless on the streets of Toronto. The script is well-written, mixing in just the right amounts of humor and intensity at just the right times, the actors gave amazing performances, and the soundtrack is superb.
Perhaps the only thing I enjoyed more than seeing the films, was meeting the creators afterward. This is the real allure of the festival experience. The documentarians had follow-up stories about the featured personalities in their film, the folks from Dead Weight revealed their “unhealthy obsession” with Kurt Russell references, and In Return’s writer / director Chris Dymond shared the story about how he threw a script together in two weeks for a producer whom was under the impression that it was already written.
All in all, I had a wonderful time, and can’t wait to get out there again next year!