Pepin community film premiers FridayThe film version of an original short story created by one of Minnesota’s favorite authors, Mary Logue, will get its first public screening Friday at the Widespot Performing Arts Center in Stockholm.
By: Ruth Nerhaugen, The Republican Eagle
The film version of an original short story created by one of Minnesota’s favorite authors, Mary Logue, will get its first public screening Friday at the Widespot Performing Arts Center in Stockholm.
Logue wrote “Dinner at the Lake” for the Flyway Film Festival, which runs Thursday through Sunday at the Lake Pepin Art & Design Center in Pepin and at Widespot.
The idea of having a community film as part of the event came from Rick Vaicius, festival founder and executive director. He had seen one at a festival in Alabama, explained Pam Larson, who produced the local film.
“He was intrigued by the concept,” she said, and he asked her to take it on.
“After picking myself up off the floor, I informed him I was a theater artist, had never worked on a film,” she said. She and her husband Paul operate Spring Street Inn bed and breakfast and a nature shop, A Sense of Place, plus she is active in theater.
Her first move was to call Louie Fisher, an 18-year-old filmmaker from the community, and her son, Griffin Larson, who’s also a “budding filmmaker.” He works in the Twin Cities as a computer technician and has a fledgling company called Twinfilms with friends.
“They started by producing music videos for CD releases of emerging artists in the Minneapolis music scene,” she said, but now are branching into producing short films.
She also called Logue, a part-time Lake Pepin resident who often attends Widespot events and has done local poetry readings.
“I enjoy her books and characters,” Larson said, plus she “knows a lot about the people and places on the ‘west coast of Wisconsin.’ … She’s an active participant in the community. We love her.”
Vaicius had charged Larson with finding the story, the people, the cameras and all the other production elements. He only asked that “the movie in some way feature the Lake Pepin area and its people — and that it was all volunteer,” she said.
“I was quite nervous about asking (Logue) to volunteer professional time and talent, but she graciously agreed immediately.” They did some brainstorming, “but I left her to do her own thing,” Larson said.
In “Dinner at the Lake,” residents gather to prepare a special feast, a banquet that will be served on a pier stretching out into Lake Pepin. The children grow antsy awaiting the arrival of a mysterious guest. Will he come?
“It’s a gentle film, with some humor and a little suspense but nothing scary,” Larson said. “I think it really is about community and coming together for an honored tradition. And it definitely puts right out front the beauty of this region and why so many of us choose to live and visit here.”
During April and May, scenes were filmed at locations between Bay City and Pepin, in Stockholm City Park and on the Stockholm fishing pier.
“The water was extremely high so one scene appears to be floating on the water,” she said.
Larson rounded up a cast of about 50 people ranging in age from 4 to 84, plus a dog and the mysterious dinner guest.
She approached all sorts of locals to be in scenes, including individuals she thought would fit certain parts, and sent out a flyer and a mailing for the crowd scenes.
“I had recently taught a youth acting class at the Widespot and was quite impressed with Chase Gilbertson, a 12-year-old from Bay City,” Larson said. He became one of the main characters.
She also recruited Sandra Thielman from Smiling Pelican Bakery in Maiden Rock for a scene that called for someone to knead dough.
Her son helped film large group scenes that required two camera angles, plus he did the editing and the sound design.
Fisher, who has shown a few original shorts at previous Flyway Festivals, was the primary director and cinematographer. “His ability to tell a story and set moods with the camera is amazing,” Larson said.
“Dinner at the Lake” will be the opening film of the festival, which gets under way Thursday with a gala and awards ceremony. The community film is paired with “Journey to Planet X.” The event begins at 7 p.m. Friday; tickets are $8.
The Widespot seats about 100. To assure a seat, attendees can go to www.flywayfilmfestival.org and reserve a ticket. The festival’s full schedule can be found on the website.
If you go…
Who: Pepin area residents
What: “Dinner at the Lake” community film
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Widespot Performing Arts Center, Stockholm
More info: www.flywayfilmfestival.org