BLUE WATER FILM FESTIVAL LAUNCHES “2013 BWFF DESIGN COMPETITION”
This marks the fifth year for the community driven art event.
January 8, 2013 – Port Huron, Mich. – The Blue Water Film Festival will be presenting its new look in the New Year. The festival’s fifth annual BWFF Design Competition launches today.
The contest is a call to artists of all ages throughout the state of Michigan and province of Ontario to design the image that will represent the 2013 Blue Water Film Festival. The contest’s criterion is to include the artist’s original interpretation of the Blue Water Bridge.
Previous winners include Michigan residents Rose Norton of Port Huron, Michael Tyler of Marine City, Alex Gasparetto of St. Clair and Chase Duncan of Clyde. “It’s been exciting to see the artistic talent, especially of local students who submit designs. The last three winners have all been high school students,” noted Jeremy Stemen, the BWFF’s Executive Director. “Their unique submissions have kept the look of the BWFF fresh each year.”
The winner – announced March 8, 2013, at an event that will be hosted by the BWFF at the Alley Room in downtown Port Huron – will be the official image of the 2013 festival and appear in BWFF publicity material. The artist will be featured in the festival program along with a bio and showcase of his or her other work.
For official Art Identity Contest entry forms and more information about the Blue Water Film Festival, please visit www.bluewaterfilmfestival.com
BLUE WATER FILM FESTIVAL WILL HOST A PREMIERE OF MICHIGAN FILMMAKER’S HIGHLY ACCLAIMED DOCUMENTARY
“Dirty Energy” premiere will offer the community access to the filmmaker and an exciting evening that will highlight a topic that affects the Blue Water Area.
December 18, 2012 – Port Huron, Mich. – The Blue Water Film Festival will host a local premiere of the internationally lauded documentary “Dirty Energy” by Michigan filmmaker Bryan D. Hopkins. Tickets for the film and after party can be purchased at www.bluewaterfilmfestival.com
In April 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil-drilling rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. 11 people were killed in the disaster that created one of the worst environmental incidents in history.
With $200 in gas cards, documentary filmmaker Bryan D. Hopkins traveled from his home in Wyandotte, Mich. to Louisiana. His goal was to create a film in support of green energy and sustainability. Instead the personal stories resulting from the tragedy and the emotional and environmental toll captured his attention. “Dirty Energy” tells the story of the people affected and the reactions from BP and the Federal Government in the wake of Deepwater Horizon.
“Dirty Energy” has received praise worldwide throughout 2012, including its screening at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, the most prestigious documentary festival in the world. www.dirtyenergymovie.com
On January 19, 2013, the Blue Water Film Festival will host a screening of “Dirty Energy” in celebration of the film’s launch on DVD. Filmmaker Bryan D. Hopkins and several of the participants from Louisiana will attend the event in Port Huron. The St. Clair River Bi-National Public Advisory Committee will also have representatives attending. Sponsors of the “Dirty Energy” BWFF screening include the Community Foundation of St. Clair County and Friends of the St. Clair River Watershed. Tickets for the screening and the after party may be purchased at www.bluewaterfilmfestival.com
Saturday, January 19, 2013
7 p.m. “Dirty Energy” screening at the Port Huron Northern Performing Arts Center (1799 Krafft Rd.), a brief Q&A session with the filmmaker and several people featured in the film will immediately follow
- Tickets are $12 per person, $10 for students with ID at the door.
9 p.m. Meet and Greet celebration with the filmmaker at the Port Huron Golf Club (4101 Fairway Dr.), hors d’oeuvres will be provided along with a cash bar
- Tickets are $20 per person.
Both events are free to Director and Star members of the Blue Water Film Society. Join the Blue Water Film Society at www.bluewaterfilmfestival.com
Thank you to the “Times Herald” www.thetimesherald.com for all of the positive support and coverage on the 2012 BWFF!
Film fest proves it’s an asset
| Times Herald – Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012
It’s safe to say the visual arts in general, and film festivals in particular, were not Port Huron’s tourism promoters first thoughts in promoting the city. But the arts community has made its contribution, and that might be especially true when it comes to movies.
The Blue Water Film Festival is proving it has an important role to play.
Four years ago, when the festival made its debut, it was generally received as a curiosity. The Blue Water Area doesn’t come to mind as a focal point of Michigan’s film industry. Many of the locals expected the one-day festival to come and go without much fanfare, and few expected its return the following year.
When the festival marks its fourth year this week, it will present 27 films Saturday at McMorran Theater in downtown Port Huron and feature comedienne and “Chelsea Lately” panelist Loni Love Friday at McMorran.
Film festival organizers might not be completely satisfied with its progress, but the event has established itself — and its presence has proven beneficial.
Downtown businesses are happy with the festival. The visitors are likely to patronize downtown bars and restaurants.
Marci Fogal, president of the Blue Water Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the festival gives tourism a welcome boost at this time of year when the travel season slows down.
Fogal said out-of-towners who attend the festival bring a little more than $200 each to the local economy. Visitors who don’t stay overnight still will leave about $116 each by dining at a local restaurant, filling their gas tanks or obtaining souvenirs.
Plus, the publicity can’t hurt. Port Huron has three years of film festival experience under its belt with another event ready to open. The interest of film makers and Michigan’s movie arts community have to enhance the Blue Water Area and add an additional dimension to Port Huron’s image as the “Maritime Capital of the Great Lakes.”
Film festival organizers have shown the event has value. It’s good for tourism, good for business and good for the arts.
The one thing that eludes the festival is community interest — and that’s disappointing.
“It’s been a struggle to get local residents to come to this event,” said Kelly Kennedy, vice president of the film festival’s board of directors.
Considering all the good things the festival has done, maybe this time that will change.
Starring Port Huron: Festival increases city’s profile as a location for films
By Julianne Mattera
| Times Herald
Two years ago, Jeffery Schultz was looking for a “timeless diner” for a location in his next film.
The Detroit filmmaker was in Port Huron for the 2010 Blue Water Film Festival when he found what he was looking for. Mama Vicki’s Coney Island was just down the street from the film festival’s venue at McMorran Theater.
A few weeks later, Schultz and his crew were filming scenes from “Certain Essential Elements” at the coney.
As the fourth annual Blue Water Film Festival kicks off this week — with screenings Saturday — festival organizers, tourism officials and business owners alike hope it will give filmmakers and film connoisseurs a taste of Port Huron that will leave them wanting more.
Marci Fogal, president of the Blue Water Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the film festival injects Port Huron with new visitors and their dollars during the fall when tourism slows down. Those people stay in local hotels, walk the streets of downtown Port Huron and eat in local restaurants.
When people stay overnight for an event such as the film festival, each visitor brings a little more than $200 to the local economy. Visitors staying for the day will leave about $116 each by doing things like getting a meal at a local eatery, filling up their gas tank or buying souvenirs.
Fogal estimated hotels in Port Huron Township off Water Street will be close to sold out during the film festival. In turn, hotels outside that area benefit. People who’d typically stay in Port Huron Township will overflow to hotels in Marysville or St. Clair or other cities.
The film festival brings into the area people connected to the film industry who never would have visited otherwise, Fogal said. It’s easy for festival goers to get a feel for downtown Port Huron with McMorran Theater, the festival’s main venue, being only walking distance from restaurants and shops.
“It just opens so many doors when you’re bringing new people into the area,” Fogal said. “So it’s very exciting.”
Jennifer Atanasovski, Schultz’s wife and the film’s producer, said once they got to know Port Huron, they became impressed with what it had to offer. Since then, the couple has stopped back into town around the holidays to visit the Brass Rail and try its signature Tom and Jerry holiday drink. They’ve also made Port Huron a pit stop during trips Up North.
“The festival was the reason we went there in the first place,” Atanasovski said. “But now we’ve found ourselves visiting there more often.”
Growing the festival
Since the festival’s first year as a one-day film screening in 2009, organizers have added events to attract more people.
In 2009, about 500 to 550 people attended the festival, said Kelly Kennedy, vice president of the film festival’s board of directors and film section chairwoman. Last year, attendance more than quadrupled. About 900 people attended the comedy night with Dave Coulier; another 850 went to a horror film premiere; and close to 500 people went to a day of film festival screenings, Kennedy said.
This year’s festival will show 27 films Saturday at McMorran Theater.
Kennedy said the festival has a “record-breaking” number of film submissions this year, with filmmakers submitting 17 more films than last year. The festival experienced a dip in film submissions and films shown in 2011 partly due to the changes to Michigan’s film tax incentive.
Festival organizers also are learning from past mistakes and making the festival more sustainable. Jeremy Stemen, executive director of the Blue Water Film Festival, said organizers are spending the festival’s $32,000 budget more wisely this year.
Last year, festival organizers spent $14,500 more than the original budget of $33,000. That amount was paid off mainly by a grant from the Blue Water Arts Council and a personal contribution from Stemen.
To continue growing, the festival reached out more to the Canadian market this year. Organizers asked for film festival submissions from all of Ontario. Previously, they had focused in the area of Sarnia, Lambton County and Chatham-Kent.
It also focused more advertising in Canada — such as on a billboard near the Blue Water Bridge, as well as in a London publication.
“We’ve really stepped it up in terms of growth and advertising dollars to bring those people to the area,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy said the Ontario market is really “untapped” at this point. She said people in the communities of Sarnia and London are very arts- and culture-minded.
“They have the finances to travel to those destination spots where an arts and culture event could be happening that they want to attend,” Kennedy said.
“And I think the goal was really reaching those people, reaching that demographic and getting them here and making the Blue Water Film Festival a destination for them.”
From the outset, the festival’s goals have included helping rejuvenate downtown Port Huron. Kennedy said the setup of the festival’s film screening day — which has blocks of film with hour and a half breaks between — is meant to encourage attendees to check out downtown businesses and spend money in the community.
That formula seems to be working.
Mike Ziegler, owner of Quay Street Brewing Company, said his restaurant stays busy all weekend during the film festival. Ziegler can spot customers coming from the festival as they normally talk about it as they walk through his doors.
More of those customers are coming to the restaurant as the festival has grown.
“We get a lot of people from the film festival. I think it’s a terrific thing that they have going,” Ziegler said. “… I think they’re really making a name for themselves and attracting people to Port Huron.”
People from other downtown Port Huron restaurants, such as Fuel Woodfire Grill and Mama Vicky’s Coney Island, also noted a similar uptick in traffic.
Mike Taylor, owner of Fuel Woodfire Grill, said the event does more than just increase foot traffic downtown for a couple days. It ends up exposing the downtown to visitors from near and far who wouldn’t otherwise make the trip.
Lee Jones, owner of Weekends, agreed. He said he’s talked to customers who found his store during the film festival and later came back.
Some people coming to the festival aren’t familiar with downtown Port Huron before coming to the film festival. Of those visitors, some make a trip back “because they didn’t have a chance to explore everything,” said Jones, who also serves on one of the festival’s committees.
“What can’t be lost sight of is it’s exposing this area to people that are in the industry,” he said. “That, when they’re looking for locations and things for productions, they have an awareness of the Blue Water Area.”
Learning about Port Huron
Denn Pietro almost didn’t come to Port Huron to film “Being Custer,” one of the films in this year’s festival.
The director from Taylor said he’d planned to shoot the film in Monroe. His plans changed after locations he’d selected started increasing permit costs and rental prices.
Pietro knew about Port Huron from his trips to the Blue Water Film Festival. The city instantly became his Plan B — and it ended up working out for the best.
He said Port Huron “has a little bit of everything” — the aura of a small town; the restaurants and bars of a big city; a beautiful waterfront. The city can look like many different locations, “which is perfect for film making,” he said.
“Being Custer” is a redemption story about man who returns to his hometown and makes peace with the relationships he left behind, including the man who killed his mother, Pietro said. He said he was able to use locations in Port Huron to show the highs and lows in the main character’s life.
“Sometimes the places you want to go back to are right in your background and you don’t even realize it,” Pietro said. “In this case, it was Port Huron.”
Katherine Nofs, 33, of Portage also shot her film, “Bare,” in Port Huron. It also will be shown at this year’s festival.
Nofs grew up in Clyde Township, but many of her crew members weren’t familiar with the area before they came to film classroom scenes at St. Clair County Community College.
Nofs said her crew members were especially impressed by the ambiance — especially places downtown near water. If crew members are working with other directors in the future, she said Port Huron likely would come up as a location they’d suggest.
“I think it’s a really pretty backdrop for, you know, filming if you’re going to film outdoors. If you need that kind of look,” she said. “And I think that Port Huron would probably be every bit as accommodating as they were to us filming on campus.”
Robert Butler, 30, of Ortonville also is no stranger to filming locally. He’s shot films in Lexington and Port Huron. Butler produced and directed “Olivia’s Cross,” which is being featured at this year’s festival.
Butler said he’s seeing more filmmakers shooting in the Blue Water Area. And more people in the film industry know about Port Huron thanks to the Blue Water Film Festival.
In turn, Butler said the festival also is gaining traction with people in the film community. He said many filmmakers want to make another movie so they can submit it to the festival and come back again.
“It’s starting to become a tradition,” he said.
That’s because the festival puts on a “great show” with a great venue and great programming. He said it’s a rarity for a regional festival to be so organized and welcoming to filmmakers.
“You just feel rewarded when you screen there,” Butler said.
Getting the local crowd
While the festival is becoming a tradition for some filmmakers, it still struggles to bring in people from the local community.
Kennedy said the low numbers of area residents attending the film festival have been disappointing — especially when organizers are so “excited” to provide the event to the community.
“It’s been a struggle to get local residents to come to this event,” Kennedy said. “And we have yet to necessarily figure out why. We know that the people that come love it and enjoy it.”
The festival has continued to look for ways to engage the local audience.
Last year’s comedy event with Dave Coulier brought in many locals, Kennedy said. Festival organizers are hoping this year’s event with comedienne Loni Love — a regular panelist on “Chelsea Lately” and a veteran of VH1’s “I Love the ’70s/’80s/’90s” — will do the same.
“Everybody loves funny,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy also hopes an Oscar-nominated producer’s local connection will help boost turnout at the Midwest premiere of the documentary “Informant” on Thursday at St. Clair County Community College as part of the film festival.
Steve Bannatyne, the producer of “Informant,” is a Port Huron native. His production company, Lucky Hat Entertainment, was nominated for an Academy Award this year.
“Steve Bannatyne is a local figure,” Kennedy said. “His parents still live here, and it’s that story of hometown boy does good. I mean, he was nominated for an Oscar. That’s huge! And the fact that we’re getting the premiere of his documentary, you know, that’s a big deal.”
Lee Jones, owner of Weekends in Port Huron, said the event is becoming “more and more anticipated by the community.”
Jones said he’s talked to people who’ve missed the film festival in the past but want to make sure they attend this year’s showings.
“They think they’re missing something, and they are,” Jones said.
BLUE WATER FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES STUDENT VIDEO CONTEST WINNERS
Two students from local high schools win $5,000 scholarships from the Motion Picture Institute of Michigan.
July 31, 2012 – Port Huron, Mich. – The Blue Water Film Festival (BWFF) is pleased to announce the two winning students of its Video Public Service Announcement Contest. Steve Rhein, a 2012 graduate of St. Clair High School and St. Clair TEC and Juleana Cain, a senior at St. Clair High School and St. Clair TEC have both won $5,000 scholarships to attend the Motion Picture Institute of Michigan.
High school students throughout the thumb counties of Michigan were tasked with creating a :30 or :60 second video presentation addressing the question, “What does the Blue Water Film Festival mean to the me, the area and the community?”
“Steve and Julez are both talented, young, aspiring filmmakers,” expressed Jeremy Stemen, Executive Director of the Blue Water Film Festival. “Partnering with a prestigious video arts school like MPI is a wonderful opportunity to engage local students. We are so appreciative of MPI founder/director Douglas Schulze and his support of the BWFF. This generous prize is going to make a tremendous impact in the post-secondary education of these gifted students.”
The PSAs created by Rhein and Cain will be featured at the fourth annual Blue Water Film Festival in downtown Port Huron on October 5 and 6, 2012.
For more information about the Blue Water Film Festival, and to view the winning PSAs please visit www.BlueWaterFilmFestival.com
BLUE WATER FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES LONI LOVE AS COMEDY HEADLINER
Love is a popular fixture on the national comedy circuit and cable television networks.
May 29, 2012 – Port Huron, Mich. – The Blue Water Film Festival (BWFF) is proud to announce comedian and actress Loni Love will be the 2012 festival’s headline entertainment. She will perform stand-up at McMorran Theatre on Friday, October 5.
Love hails from Detroit where she was raised in the Brewster-Douglass housing projects. She worked on the General Motors assembly line adding doors to Oldsmobile Cutlasses before becoming an electrical engineer. As an engineer, she moved to California for a job with Xerox. The move also offered an outlet to her comedy career. After a promising debut on “Star Search” in 2003, Love became a popular comedian on late night television and cable networks such as E! Entertainment Television, CNN, Comedy Central and VH-1. She frequently appears on “Chelsea Lately” and “TruTV Presents: World’s Dumbest…”
“Loni Love is going to bring a hilarious night of comedy that will have a lot of local flair because of her Michigan roots,” said BWFF Executive Director Jeremy Stemen. “The BWFF is thrilled to continue our growing tradition of offering entertainment acts with national acclaim.” For more information on Loni Love and her and upcoming television appearances, please visit www.lonilove.com
The 2011 festival headliner was Michigan native Dave Coulier, a comedian best known for his role as Uncle Joey on television’s “Full House.”
BLUE WATER FILM FESTIVAL LAUNCHES 2012 PSA VIDEO CONTEST
Two winning High School students will receive $5000 scholarships to the
Motion Picture Institute of Michigan
April 24, 2012 – Port Huron, Mich. – The Blue Water Film Festival (BWFF) is challenging local high school students with the question, “What does the Blue Water Film Festival mean to me, the area or the community.” High school students in Huron, Lapeer, Macomb, St. Clair and Sanilac Counties can create a :30 or :60 second video public service announcement that addresses that question and win one of two $5000 scholarship to the Motion Picture Institute of Michigan in Troy. www.mpifilm.com
“Douglas Schulze, the founder and president of MPI who is a filmmaker himself, premiered his movie ‘Mimesis’ at last year’s BWFF,” explained Jeremy Stemen, Executive Director of the BWFF. “He supports our festival and community and wanted to partner with the BWFF on promoting local, new filmmaking talent. We’re thrilled to offer this opportunity to Blue Water Area students.”
The PSA contest begins today. Entries must be submitted on two DVDs, along with a submission form by Friday, June 22, 2012. The BWFF mailing address is P.O. Box 611109, Port Huron, MI 48061, attention Jeremy Stemen. Winners will be notified in July 2012.
BLUE WATER FILM FESTIVAL REVEALS 2012 ART IDENTITY
The winning image will be unveiled at an April 13 event open to the public
March 27, 2012 – Port Huron, Mich. – The Blue Water Film Festival (BWFF) will host an evening to reveal and display its 2012 art identity. The winning image will be chosen prior to the event by a panel of community leaders and art enthusiasts. The party is open to the public on April 13, 2012, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Studio 1219 (1219 Military St., Port Huron). The reveal will occur at 7:15 p.m. Wolverine Market is presenting a beer and wine tasting for $25. Tasting tickets can be purchased at Studio 1219, Wolverine Market (713 Huron Ave., Port Huron) or at www.BlueWaterFilmFestival.com Hollywood Pizza Buffet is providing pizza for attendees. A PDF flyer for the event is attached.
Entrants of the art identity contest were artists of all ages throughout the state of Michigan and province of Ontario. They were tasked with creating an original interpretation of the Blue Water Bridge that will become the official image of the 2012 Blue Water Film Festival. It will be used in promotion of the festival, leading up to the event on October 5 and 6, 2012.
“We are really pleased to have such outstanding sponsors partnering with us for this evening,” said Jeremy Stemen, Executive Director of BWFF. “We hope the community is excited for what we have planned in October and they join us at Studio 1219 to launch this year’s signature identity.”
For more information about the Blue Water Film Festival, the art identity contest or its current filmmaker call for entries, please visit www.BlueWaterFilmFestival.com
The Blue Water Film Festival was created to bring movies, movie stars, and moviemakers to the Blue Water Area. Become a member of the Blue Water Film Society today on www.BlueWaterFilmFestival.com Your donation supports the continuation of the BWFF and keeps you informed through the festival’s monthly newsletter on all the latest news and exclusive events.
BLUE WATER FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES “CALL FOR ENTRIES”
Filmmakers can submit now for the 2012 October festival
March 16, 2012 – Port Huron, Mich. – The Blue Water Film Festival (BWFF) announces the 2012 “Call for Entries” for the fourth annual festival. Film submissions of short films, feature length, animation and documentaries must meet one of the following two qualifications:
1. The film must have been shot in the state of Michigan or Ontario, Canada.
2. The individual submitting the film must have participated in its production and have a permanent address in the state of Michigan or Ontario, Canada.
All submissions must be postmarked by Friday, June 15, 2012.
This year, the Blue Water Film Festival is offering two new components to the film submission process. Entries sent by March 31, 2012 will receive a special early bird discount on their submission fee. Filmmakers will also have the option of receiving feedback on their films from the BWFF Film Selection Committee and/or comments from the esteemed 2012 Judges Panel for an additional cost.
All Official Selections of the 2012 BWFF will be shown in their entirety on Saturday, October 6, 2012 in Port Huron, Mich. Industry professionals from the Judges Panel will select the winning films. Cash and prizes totaling $2,500 will be given at the event’s Awards Ceremony on October 6.
BWFF Film Selection Chairperson, Kelly Kennedy said, “Our official ‘Call for Entries’ kicks off a really exciting time for the Blue Water Film Festival. As our submissions arrive each year, we continue to be amazed at the fantastic talent emerging from the independent film industry in Michigan and Ontario. I look forward to a banner year of truly phenomenal submissions.”
For further details and to download a copy of the official Film Submission Form, please visit www.BlueWaterFilmFestival.com Please send questions regarding submission to scott@BlueWaterFilmFestival.com
BLUE WATER FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES 2012 DATES
March 6, 2012 – Port Huron, Mich. – The Blue Water Film Festival is proud to announce the dates of their upcoming fourth annual festival as October 5 and 6, 2012.
“Every year the Blue Water Area has embraced what the festival offers in terms of entertainment, culture and cutting edge filmmaking by Michigan talent,” said Jeremy Stemen, the festival’s Executive Director. “Our goal is to become an established annual event attended by locals, tourists and of course, the film industry. We feel a strong connection to the local community that has supported us and we’re pleased to announce that we will be presenting an exciting fourth festival this October.”
The Blue Water Film Festival made its mark in previous years by bringing movie premieres, celebrities and critically acclaimed independent films to downtown Port Huron. It features the best in filmmaking created in or by residents of Michigan and Lambton County, Ontario.
Fans of the Blue Water Film Festival can “Like” the event’s page on Facebook or follow @BWFF1 on Twitter. For more information about the Blue Water Film Festival, please visit www.bluewaterfilmfestival.com
BLUE WATER FILM FESTIVAL LAUNCHES 2012 ART IDENTITY CONTEST
This marks the fourth year for the community driven art event.
January 17, 2012 – Port Huron, Mich. – The Blue Water Film Festival will be presenting its new look in the New Year. The festival’s fourth annual Art Identity Contest launches today.
The contest is a call to artists of all ages throughout the state of Michigan and Lambton County, Ontario to design the image that will represent the 2012 Blue Water Film Festival. The contest’s criterion is to include the artist’s original interpretation of the Blue Water Bridge.
Previous winners include Michigan residents Rose Norton of Port Huron, Michael Tyler of Marine City and Alex Gasparetto of St. Clair. “This has become an exciting contest that connects the festival to the local artist and design community,” said BWFF Executive Director Jeremy Stemen. “We’ve been especially impressed with entries we receive from local students. This is an opportunity for the winner to have their artwork presented to a large audience as the design is shown throughout the year to promote the festival.”
The winner – announced May 9, 2012 – will be the official image of the 2012 festival and appear in BWFF publicity material. The artist will be featured in the festival program along with a bio and showcase of his or her other work.
For official Art Identity Contest entry forms and more information about the Blue Water Film Festival, please visit www.bluewaterfilmfestival.com
BLUE WATER FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES 2011 CELEBRITY JUDGES
Official Selections to have their films judged by five extraordinary industry professionals.
August 19, 2011 – Port Huron, Mich. – The Blue Water Film Festival (BWFF) has confirmed five prestigious film professionals will make up the official Judges Panel for the third annual festival. All with extensive backgrounds in the fields of screenwriting, producing, directing and education, these esteemed five bring a wealth of profe. The prize money presented to the filmmakers that reside or film in Michigan or Sarnia-Lambton totals $2,500.00 and will be awarded to four winners on Saturday, October 9, 2011.
All film finalists that are selected to be shown on Saturday, October 9, 2011 at the McMorran Theatre will be viewed by the following list of esteemed celebrity judges: Chris Gore, Elliot Wilhelm, Steven Bananntyne, John Fitzpatrick and Susan Cohen.
Chris Gore – As a writer, filmmaker and television personality, Chris has built a solid reputation as a hilariously outspoken voice in the film world. As a teenager, Chris founded the brutally honest magazine “Film Threat,” which began as a fanzine he created as a college student in Detroit. As the ‘zine evolved into a respected national magazine, he relocated to Los Angeles. The print magazine was retired in 1997 when it was re-launched as a website (www.FilmThreat.com), which he publishes. FilmThreat.com has an online audience of over 500,000 readers monthly and was named one of the top five movie websites by the “Wall Street Journal.” Chris sold “Film Threat” at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival to former editor Mark Bell.
Chris has appeared as a film expert on MSNBC, E!, CNN, Reelz Channel and has also hosted shows on FX, Starz, IFC and currently on G4TV’s “Attack of the Show” (AOTS), where he is the show’s film expert. His weekly movie review segment “DVDuesday” is among the most popular on AOTS in addition “Asian Underground” and ”Movie Lore.”
As an author of three books, “The Ultimate Film Festival Survival Guide” (Random House) is considered the bible of the industry and is required reading at film school. A fourth edition was released in 2009 along with a companion website UltimateFilmFest.com.
Chris wrote and produced the feature comedy “My Big Fat Independent Movie,” was named one of the 25 Most Influential People in Independent Film by “Film Festival Today” magazine, and currently lives in Los Angeles.
Elliot Wilhelm – Since 1973, Elliot has been the director of the Detroit Film Theatre (DFT) series at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), and the Curator of Film at the DIA since 1984. One of the most acclaimed and best-attended film programs in the nation, the DFT has been host to more than three million viewers in the last 36 years.
Named a “Michiganian of the Year” in 1984 by The Detroit News, Elliot has been host of the weekly Channel 56 program Film Festival since 1995, and twice has been nominated for local Emmy awards for his work. He has taught numerous courses in film history for both the DIA and Wayne State University, and is the author of the 1988 reference book “Videohound’s World Cinema: The Adventurer’s Guide to Movie Watching.” Elliot was described by Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Roger Ebert as “a brilliant programmer and critic, and a heck of a nice guy.”
Stephen Bannatyne – Former Port Huron resident, Steve is a producer and co-founder of Lucky Hat Entertainment, a production and development company based in Los Angeles, California. Previous productions include “If A Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front” (winner of the 2011 Sundance editing award),
“Everything Strange and New” (2011 Spirit Award nominee for Best First Feature), “The Order of Myths” (winner of the 2009 Peabody Award), “Goodbye Solo” (winner of the 2008 FEPRESCI Prize at Venice Film Festival), “Entre Nos” and “P Star Rising” (official selections of the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival), and the short films “Plastic Bag,” “Utopia PT 3″ and “Sinking State.” Lucky Hat is also developing several projects including “Z For Zachariah” based on the novel by Robert O’Brien and “A Dangerous Friendship” about the relationship between F Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway.
Before founding Lucky Hat in 2007 Steve worked on numerous productions in San Francisco including “Bicentennial Man,” “Monkeybone,” The Wedding Planner,” “High Crimes” and the animated television series “Higglytown Heroes.”
A native of Michigan, Steve attended film school at Grand Valley State University before moving to California in 1997. He lives in Eagle Rock with his wife and daughter and their dogs Woody and Lucy.
John Fitzpatrick – In the corporate arena, John has a field of specialty in television and film screenwriting, having worked in development for the Walt Disney Company, Wind Dancer Productions, 20th Century Fox, and most-recently employed as COO for Paula Abdul, Co. In addition to short films, full-length screenplays and one-act plays, his writing credits include several television series from “Roseanne” to “Rugrats.”
As director of the Imagine Writing Program for television, Film and theatre at Desales University, Pennsylvania, John has taught writing for television and film, as well as playwriting. He specializes in theory, story and character development, structure and dramaturgy/coverage.
Presently, he is proud to be Chair of the Hollywood Black Film Festival (student short film division), and is developing his first novel.
Susan Cohen – A winner of the 2009 Blue Water Film Festival for the award winning “Open Your Eyes,” this Sarnia native has been producing movies in Los Angeles.
Susan’s first foray in film was in 2002, as a producer on the American Film Institute (AFI) thesis film “Fueling The Fire,” which won more than twelve national and international awards and screened at thirty-three film festivals worldwide. “Fueling The Fire” aired on HBO and Cinemax.
Susan was a recipient of the American Film Institute Jean Picker Firstenberg Award for Excellence for her Directing Workshop for Women short film “Open Your Eyes” in 2008.
She was planning on attending this year’s festival, but is in the middle of pitching a new series to be aired on a respected cable station.
“One of the most exciting aspects for me this year is the amount of experience on our judging panel when it comes to writing and story,” states BWFF Judge Concierge Stewart Reed. “For a two year old festival to attract this level of talent is unprecedented – and a testament to the exceptional quality of last year’s festival. We received accolades and letters overflowing with praise from film makers who realized what a special festival we are – the Blue Water Film Festival is every single thing implicit in our name – we are firmly committed to the Blue Water area, we are all about the films and filmmaking (not our own egos), and we are a festival – a community celebration. The films quite literally hold center stage, but the gathering of filmmakers, judges, and film buffs makes it a special event that no home or theater viewing can match.”
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BLUE WATER FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES MOVIE PREMIERE AT THE DOWNTOWN PORT HURON MCMORRAN THEATRE
Michigan-based film studio Dead Wait Productions presents feature as its Midwest stop on World Tour.
Port Huron, Mich. – August 22, 2011 – The Blue Water Film Festival (BWFF) has officially announced the Midwest Premiere of MIMESIS. The one time showing will be at the McMorran Theatre in downtown Port Huron on Friday, October 7.
Douglas Schulze, CEO of the Motion Picture Institute (MPI) in Troy, Michigan is the Director of the feature film.
Schulzes last movie, Dark Fields is currently showing on Showtime, which starred David Carradine and Dee Wallace.
“MIMESIS is a homage to one of the greatest horror films ever made. George Romero’s classic Night of the Living Dead – it was the movie that made me first realize that filmmaking wasn’t reserved for just the Hollywood elite. More importantly MIMESIS transcends the tired Hollywood idea of the remake by asking ‘Why watch a horror film when you can live one.’ I consider Mimesis the next step in the evolution of the horror genre.” Schulze continued, “We are honored to be premiering our film at the Blue Water Film Festival, a great town with great people. I hope you’ll join us on Oct. 7.”
MIMESIS is the story of a group of horror fans who find themselves unwilling participants in a nightmarish role playing game that pays homage to a classic horror film.
The movie will be attracting the stars that were in the movie. Movie\horror icon Sid Haig (“The Devils Rejects,” “Kill Bill”) will be participating in the premiere festivities and will be available for pictures and autographs. Also coming in are Allen Maldonaldo (“Live Free or Die Hard,” “Detroit 1-8-7″), Gavin Grazer-brother to mogul producer Brian (“Cowboys and Aliens,” “Frost/ Nixon”), and Lauren Mae Schafer.
Schafer, a Michigan resident, has had quite a bit of experience in the industry since graduating from Wayne State University. Starring in former BWFF finalist “Stevie WonderShow” and this year’s “Certain Essential Elements.” She can also be seen in the George Clooney/Ryan Gosling vehicle “The Ides of March.”
While MIMESIS is unrated, it is definitely not for the faint of heart. The images are unpleasant and disturbing, as will be the lobby of McMorran Theatre. In an attempt to set the mood of the theater and the showcasing of the MIMESIS film the crew of the BWFF has been working to create an event for the premiere that will welcome visitors to a night of terror.
Carrie Maggs, event co-ordinator for the Blue Water Film Festival stated, “We are thrilled to be having this event in Port Huron, and we want to set the mood of the evening, by bringing in Hollywood made up Zombies, dealers of horror memorabilia, and all sorts of gory little surprises.”
The BWFF organizers have been in contact with some of the zombie troops in the area, in search of zombies.
Trailers for the movie will be available on the Blue Water Film Festival website, tickets can be purchased there as well. The tickets for the event are $10.00.
BLUE WATER FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES DAVE COULIER TO KICK OFF 2011 EVENT
Michigan funny man comes home to perform a concert for the Blue Water Film Festival.
Port Huron, Mich. – June 29, 2011 – The Blue Water Film Festival (BWFF) has
confirmed Dave Coulier will be providing a night of fun and hilarity at McMorran Theater
on Thursday, October 6, 2011.
Prior to the concert, three lucky winners and their guests will be having “Dinner with
Dave” at the Vintage Tavern. The raffle will begin selling tickets next week, and will
continue through the months of July, August and September. The drawing will take
place on October 2, 2011. Raffle tickets will be $2, or three for $5.
Dave Coulier’s (pronounced Cool-Yay) story is a refreshing one for Hollywood – nice
guys can finish first. As an actor/comedian/voice-over artist, his many talents are much
Dave is perhaps best known for his work on the long-running hit ABC television series,
“Full House,” which aired for eight seasons (1987-1995, with almost 200 shows
produced) and can now be seen as part of the popular Nick At Nite roster. Additionally,
the show is currently in worldwide syndication in over 100 countries, and airs
domestically everyday on ABC Family. Dave followed this success by hosting his
second prime-time hit series “America’s Funniest People,” which ran on ABC for four
seasons (1991-1994). Dave also handled the hosting chores for ABC’s “The World’s
Funniest Videos,” and hosted his own series, “Out of Control” for Nickelodeon.
Highly regarded for his voice-over talent, Dave’s additional credits include many
Saturday morning cartoon favorites. He started out doing voices on Hanna-Barbera’s
“Scooby Doo” and the re-syndicated version of “The Jetson’s.” Dave then went on to lend
his versatile voice to Jim Henson’s Emmy Award-winning animated series, “Muppet
Babies,” where he portrayed Animal and Dr. Bunsen Honeydew for the run of the series,
and then became the voice of three additional characters: Waldorf and Statler (the two
old guys in the balcony on the original “Muppet Show”) and Bean Bunny. Dave provided
the voice of Peter Venkman for “The Real Ghostbusters” cartoon, as well as voices for
the Cartoon Networks’ “Dexter’s Laboratory.”
Dave’s stand-up act earned him regular appearances on “The Tonight Show,” HBO’s
“Detroit Comedy Jam” and HBO’s “Comic Relief.” Dave continues to enjoy sold out
performances of his stand up act across the country.
In the spring of 2006 Dave was featured on Fox network’s “Skating with Celebrities.”
Dave is currently finishing production of a documentary film entitled “Cut it Out,” a
retrospective look at the staying power of Full House. Also, Dave and four other
comedians will travel across the country on a theatre tour as “The Clean Guys of
Comedy,” a stand up comedy show for the entire family. In addition, Dave has
launched CleanGuys.TV, an Internet site featuring a variety of clean comedy including
stand up, sketch, and short films.
Tickets for his McMorran show on October 6,2011 are priced at $12 each.
“We want to keep the ticket prices in a relatively inexpensive price range so everyone
can attend,” stated Jeremy Stemen, Executive Director of the Blue Water Film Festival.
“We have many surprises in store for the Blue Water area this year, and we hope for
great things in years to come.”
“The Blue Water Young Professionals look forward to partnering with BWFF to bring
another exciting event to the festival line up. We can’t wait to see Dave’s show and are
happy to be a part of this great event!” added Jackie Hanton of the Blue Water Young
Pre-sale tickets can be purchased on the www.bluewaterfilmfestival.com website, or at
the Weekends stores, starting July 22, 2011.