News Column

Wide variety of films being shown this weekend at South Dakota Film Festival

September 26, 2013


Sept. 26--Of the 68 films being shown at the South Dakota Film Festival, 44 of them will be represented by people involved in the films.

Some of those filmmakers are coming from a great distance. Some are from Alabama and some from California. Walter Woodman, the writer and director of "Noah," is coming from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. That picture was voted the best student narrative short film.

But no one is traveling a greater distance than Christoph Schuler and Lucia Scharbatke, who are traveling from Germany. The two filmmakers wrote, directed and produced "Gefallen," which was voted the best foreign film of the festival. The 19-minute film was shot in Manchen, Germany.

The festival tries to get as many filmmakers to travel to Aberdeen as possible. Brent Brandt, one of the producers, calls the filmmakers to tell them their films have been selected, congratulates them and encourages them to attend the festival.

The 68 films were selected from a total of 274 films submitted.

Celebrities coming

"Home," which will be shown at 7 p.m. Saturday, will be represented by Charlie Hofheimer, Shannon Lucio and actress Jenny Lynn Dempster.

Hofheimer is the film's director, one of the producers and one of two editors. He played Abe Drexler on "Mad Men."

Lucio is one of the four producers of "Home." The actress appeared in 12 episodes of "The O.C." as Lindsay Gardner. Lucio, 33, also had a role in "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," which aired on ABC Tuesday night. Her latest film is "This Thing with Sarah."

Dempster, a Sioux Falls native, is the star of the 10-minute narrative film and its executive producer.

A flock of participants is expected to travel to Aberdeen for "Dust of War," which will be shown Saturday night. That film, which was shot in South Dakota, had its world premiere in July at the San Diego Comic-Con. A question-and-answer session will follow the film. Among the stars of "Dust of War" coming to Aberdeen are Gary Graham, Bates Wilder and David Midthunder.

Bai Ling stars in another film that will be screened Saturday night. That picture, "Yellow Hill: The Stranger's Tale," was filmed in the Badlands of South Dakota. A question-and-answer session with cast and crew will follow the film.

As of Wednesday, it was still a possibility that Ling might attend the festival.

Tonight has outdoor emphasis

The festival's opening session, running from 7 to 10:30 tonight, is aimed at men and women who enjoy the outdoors.

One of the films, "Donnie Vincent's The River's Divide," was voted the festival's best feature documentary made in the Dakotas. The 46-minute film follows Vincent's two-year pursuit of a whitetail buck in the North Dakota Badlands.

Another film tonight looks at James (Scotty) Philip, a leader in the fight to preserve the American buffalo from extinction. That 61-minute picture, "The Buffalo King," was voted the festival's best feature documentary.

Two of the five films include adult content, so tonight is not meant for families.

Fischgaard films part of festival

Three of the films at the festival were produced for Aberdeen's Fischgaard Short Film Project.

Those films are "Timeless," "The Cool-off" and "Run by Louie's Place."

"Timeless," directed by William Freitag, is a sci-fi drama that won the People's Choice honor for best film at the 2013 Fischgaard. The seven-minute film shows Saturday morning.

"The Cool-off," which will be screened Sunday afternoon, was directed by Drew, Kelly and Eric Comstock. It has a running time of five minutes. The producers of that film earned Fischgaard's best new filmmaker honor.

"Run by Louie's Place," written and directed by Dan Cleberg, will be shown Sunday afternoon. It was voted best film of the 2013 Fischgaard.

The festival concludes Sunday with "A Living Legacy," a 38-minute film about the pheasant canteen at Redfield's Milwaukee Depot.

Film deals with Parkinson's

Tom Black, one of the event's producers, says "Ride with Larry" is "the sleeper film of the entire festival."

Black describes the film as "incredibly emotional."

The 90-minute film tells the story of a retired police captain, Larry Smith, who has Parkinson's disease. The 90-minute film tracks Smith on a 300-mile bike ride in South Dakota. That ride, which took place in the summer of 2011, started in Aberdeen and went through Webster.

Riding a bicycle lessens his Parkinson's symptoms. A former Connecticut resident, Smith now lives in Vermillion, where he works at a bakery.

"Larry Smith is an incredible inspiration," Black said. "Bring your Kleenex."

The film portrays the usage of medical marijuana and is not used illegally in "Ride with Larry," according to Black.

The documentary will be shown at the end of the first Saturday session, which runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Journeying to Aberdeen will be Katie Skow, a producer who lives in Oceanside, Calif., and Smith and his wife, Betty. They will take part in a panel discussion after the film.

"Ride with Larry" receives the jury's award for inspiration. Black said the film is receiving a positive response at many other film festivals. People are seeing the film multiple times, he said.

Sunday afternoon has family focus

The Sunday afternoon session is meant for families.

Eleven family-friendly films will be shown from 2:30 to 5 p.m.


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