When it comes to independent filmmaking, there is no place like home

The Kansas Reflector welcomes writings from writers who share our goal of broadening the conversation about how public policies affect the daily lives of people in our state. Brett Crandall is an actor, writer, producer, puppet actor and LGBTQIA + activist based in the suburbs.

The film industry was not as immune to COVID-19 and its logistics curves as any other industry. Premieres and productions have been postponed, distribution models have changed, and audiences are reluctant to return in full force.

Independent film fans have found the silver band in online streaming, but it’s harder than ever to make and actually show movies on the silver screen as intended unless you… live in Kansas?

Mama.film, a Kansas-based film collective, presents the 2022 Sundance Film Festival in partnership with the Sundance Institute Satellite screens for the second year. After a “drive-in” model made in Wichita in 2021, mama.film met the challenge of finding a local art house that met Sundance’s updated screening requirements and secured Liberty Hall in Lawrence as the festival takes place in January. 28-30. Six other cities hosted local personal events for simultaneous world premieres, but after the Sundance Institute canceled its annual personal festival in Park City, Utah, Lawrence became the only non-coastal Satellite Screen.

Lela Meadow-Conner, founder and managing director of mama.film, spoke about the value of the cinematic experience that is lacking during home streaming.

The audience will be in front of the world premiere of the “Every Day in Kaimuki” Sundance selection. (Brett Crandall / Kansas Reflector)

“It’s a real thrill, not only to be the first to see these films, but to be the first to see them next on the big screen, ”he said. “The audience is panting, laughing at the same time; the feeling you only get when things are bigger than life. “

Kansas, home to film heroes like Dorothy Gale and Clark Kent (Superman), is transforming itself into a cultural hub for storytellers. Creatives who can’t act or shoot due to the pandemic, or perhaps want to get closer to their loved ones in uncertain times, have distracted beach junctions like Los Angeles and New York.

Elle Schneider, an independent filmmaker, spoke of being “pleasantly surprised when Lawrence was announced on the Sundance Satellite Screen”.

As an expert at Centron Corp, Schneider defended Lawrence’s story, an Oscar-nominated film studio that nestled in Lawrence for forty years.

“A lot of filmmaking has come to this area,” he said.

Hopefully I asked Schneider about a possible home creative front.

“A lot of artists have moved here to relax and take a liberal place in the middle of the country,” he said. “Having a university means that a large portion of the population is distorting young people. It brings new trends, new music, new ideas that you would not expect from a small town in the Midwest. ”

Schneider, who is a Los Angeles-based native of New York and himself an “intervener” in Lawrence, spoke confidently about the filmmakers he worked with around Kansas City and Lawrence.

“In the age of all these technological innovations… being a pandemic, we have learned a great deal about how we can connect through technology, across different geographical locations,” he said. “I think (in this area) there have been a lot of interesting productions in the last few years as people from here start making movies in this area.”

Schneider was a co-producer in the film for director and local Morgan Dameron.Different flowers”, Which was released in 2017.

“The arts go where artists can live. The housing crisis in New York and Los Angeles makes it almost impossible to experiment or create your own conditions for art, ”he said. “… Technology is helping artists to live outside of these areas in a place where they can afford to make their art and art their profession. You’re going to see a boom, and I think Lawrence is one of those cities that’s ripe for that.

Schneider stressed that films can promote social change by making them easily accessible.

“There’s also something about taking Sundance films, many of which are international, to cities that are a little less international. “There’s more cultural exchange going on there,” he said. “If you choose a place like Los Angeles where you already have so many opportunities – culturally a melting pot, movies don’t necessarily bring that much social change anyway. Someone who discovers a Sundance movie will see something they have never seen before.

There are some really amazing filmmakers in Lawrence who make really interesting movies without having to feel like they have to go to this metropolis, knowing that there isn’t a single strict path to follow to become an artist.

The local audience was certainly pleased with the selection and was happy to leave the theater to discuss his cathartic laughter and grief. Two locals enjoyed the filmMars One ” and thatand focuses on a Brazilian lower-middle-class family, while another Lawrence film fan was grateful for the festival’s international selection.

Schneider was confident that the city’s art scene would continue to grow.

“There are some really amazing filmmakers in Lawrence who make really interesting films without having to feel like they have to go to this metropolis, knowing that there isn’t a strict path to follow to become an artist,” he said. “It’s very important that we hear your voice, especially when the (KU) Film School and the next generation are here. It is important for them to see new things. And at KU, he’s lucky to have Oscar-winning film professors like Kevin Willmott “Only he’s here and teaching, showing that you don’t have to change who you are, go to the big city and play. You can stay where you live, with the people you love to work with, and be successful. ”

The sense of relief and artistic camaraderie I swore I would only find in New York overcame me when Schneider articulated his importance: “Knowing that there is no strict path you must follow to become an artist.”

When I returned home to western Kansas in 2019 after working in New York for 10 years (I didn’t work at the time) as an actor and writer, I never thought I’d simply drive myself out of my rural town to make it to the world premiere of feature films. in Greenwich Village. It was risky to move to Kansas while I continued my creative endeavors.

However, even after a busy two years, I get excited when I imagine new and returning Kansas artists gathering Convergence of mama.film KS + Film in April this year at the Lawrence Free State Festival, the winemaking and mining of rich stories that had been going on for centuries lived here, it just hurt to be told.

Through its opinion section, the Kansas Reflector is working to amplify the voices of people affected by public policies or excluded from public debate. Here you will find information, including how to submit your own comment.

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