“Right Around The Corner!”

The Ides of March have passed. Taxes have been paid or refunds collected, and May flowers are beginning to bloom.

You know what that means don’t you? It means that The Snake Alley Festival of Film is “right around the corner,” as my mother used to say.

She used that expression regarding deadlines for upcoming events such as homework assignments, school projects, chores I promised to do…and holidays. In my formative years I spent a lot of time peeking around corners hoping to get a glimpse of some future event…but to no avail.

I eventually came to realize that “right around the corner,” “before you know it,” and “it’ll sneak up on you,” all meant the same thing. “Get your butt in gear!”

What does this have to do with The Snake Alley Festival of Film? Well, it’s coming up on June 3rd, which is “right around the corner!”

So, get your butt in gear and get your tickets bought, rooms booked and travel arranged.

You should also detox your liver in preparation. Amy Walsh is looking for a venue for a fourth “after party,” so be prepared.

You might also get a chance to see Lonnie Schuyler reprise his famous Michael Flatley dance routine in front of the theater.

See you in Burlington, Iowa. Be there or be square.

“Follow That Dream!”

Geraldine “Jerrie” Mock was known as “The Flying Housewife” in 1964 when she became the first female pilot to fly solo around the world. Lonnie Schuyler, (our fearless leader) was only 1½ years old.

 A statue dedicated to her accomplishment will be unveiled Thursday, April 17, 2014 at Port Columbus International Airport. That’s exactly 50 years from the day she landed there completing her epic feat.

At 88-years old, her health prevents her from attending. Her only disappointment is that a movie was never made about her exploits. (Hint Hint)

Her advice to those who want to travel to a different drummer: “Follow your dreams. Don’t let people discourage you from trying.”

If you’re a film maker who is following your dreams, do you have an entry entered in The Snake Alley Festival of Film? Why not? You until have until April the 15th, so get with it.

Now for a bit of movie trivia. “Follow That Dream” was an American musical filmed on the gulf coast of Florida in 1962. It starred Elvis Presley and he had a hit song of the same name. There is a now a road near the filming site called Follow That Dream Parkway.

Hope to see you all here in June for the 3rd Annual Snake Alley Festival of Film.

“Ding! Dong! The Groundhog’s Dead”

It looks as though spring is FINALLY arriving here in Burlington, Iowa. And…it’s about time. We need to be able to look forward to that “beautiful “first week in June weather” that has been a hallmark of every Snake Alley Festival of Film since the beginning.

To add to that, we have a plethora (look it up, Bunky) of really excellent entries this year, and the judges have been working their eyeballs to the bone. (What!?! You didn’t know that eyeballs had bones?)

There are gonna be some killer flicks…and a couple of new surprises this year. So, you definitely do not want to miss this one. Make plans to be here.

The downside to this nice spring weather is the judges are starting to get “Spring Fever.” We had to use leg irons to shackle them to their chairs. If we didn’t, they would sneak out and go tip-toeing through the tulips, or lolly-gagging down in the meadow, or romping in the woods, or…well, you get the idea.

Not to worry though. When the judging is done, we’ll give them each a double-shot of espresso with lots of sugar and a puppy. Then we’ll send them home to their parents.

Speaking of parents, Lonnie’s step-brother is coming this year. Yet another reason to attend as you watch the two neophytes try to best the master. (That would be me, Lonnie and Ray’s dad.) Little do these two up-starts realize…the master has not revealed all of his tricks.

Book your flights and rooms now. Space is going fast. Plus…there will be wiener-dog races down the main street of town.

“Boomtown, Baby!”

Do you know that Burlington, Iowa was named one of the top 50 most livable cities for baby-boomers? Yep! None other than The Huffington Post gave us that distinction.

We like to think that The Snake Alley Festival of Film contributed to us winning that honor. (Well…that and the Wiener dog races.)

And speaking of things that are booming, The Snake Alley Festival of Film is going crazy this year. It has really blown up on us. Great new talent, lots of quality entries, and new volunteers to help out.

Not only that, but this year’s “after parties” look like they’re going to be over the top. (I just hope my poor liver can take it. But, I’ll suffer through it.)

The late entry deadline is roaring up on you if you haven’t got your film in yet. April 1st is the last day. So get ‘em in here…NOW!

See you at the Capitol Theater, or the “after parties,” or both. And for the really brave, the “after, after parties” at the Hopkins residence.

“Tis The Luck O’ The Irish”

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Monday, March 17th is Saint Patrick’s Day. And surely you’ll be wearing of the green and indulging in a wee bit of corned beef and cabbage to help you get some “Luck O’ the Irish.”

The real question is, “Do you feel lucky? Well, do you, Punk?” Oops, sorry! Wrong movie. That one had nothing to do with Saint Patrick’s Day.

But if you’re really lucky, your short film will be an official selection of The Snake Alley Festival of Film. You’ve already had a wee bit of luck because the deadline for entry was extended until April 1st.

And a “short’ film is not necessarily a story about leprechauns…although it could be. So put down that pint of Guinness and pull up yer kilt there O’Donovan. And get crackin’. June is coming faster than an Irishman heading to happy hour.

The same goes for all of you budding James Joyce types out there. Get those screenplays in.

And “top O’ the mornin’ to ya” from the crew at Snake Alley Festival of Film. See you in June.

A disclaimer is due here. No Irishmen were harmed during the writing of this post…but some damage was done to a bottle of Jameson’s.

Uh Oh! You Missed It!

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That’s right Bunky! You missed the March 1st deadline for entering your short-film masterpiece into The Snake Alley Festival of Film at the Capitol Theater in beautiful Burlington, Iowa.

But before you say, “Oh @#$@*%!” we’ve got good news…and some bad news.

Here’s the good news. Just because it’s you, we’ve extended the deadline. The deadline for late entries (that would be you) is now April 1st! (No fooling.)

Now for the bad news. The judges have already strained their beady little eyeballs watching an endless array f really, really good short films. And just because YOU dawdled…they’re going to have to work extra hard and push their little peepers to the limit.

So when your entry is selected, and you’re here for The 3rd Annual Snake Alley Festival of Film—and you see people roaming the streets with blood-shot, teary, runny, puffy eyes, mumbling dialogue—you’ll feel pangs of guilt knowing that it is all YOUR fault. (Or they’re recovering from one of the “after parties.”)

Actually, our judges love it, and they come back year after year. It’s a good excuse to get out of class. (And, because Third Grade can really get boring year after year.)

On a side note, it looks like Lonnie Schuyler’s brother will be attending this year, as well as his Dad. If you know Lonnie, you know you can now expect a triple dose of smart-aleckness this year!

See you in June at The Snake Alley Festival of Film.

Getting Better With Age!

In the last blog post, someone mentioned something about someone being “really old!”

Now, if you look at the picture which accompanied that post, you’ll notice TWO older guys there. One is the really cool older guy who’s been around the block a time or two. The other is a rapidly aging actor who used to be on an ancient series called “Melrose Place.” (Was color TV invented then?) I mean, when was the last time you Googled some of the cast from that show? Talk about ancient.

Now that we’ve cleared THAT up—let’s get on to new business. The deadline for entries into The Snake Alley Festival of Film is rapidly approaching. The entries are coming in at a furious pace. Don’t dawdle and get shut out! March 1st is the deadline for entries.

It will be the same great Snake Alley Festival of Film that we’ve all come to love…but with some extras. This year we’ve added an extra day and some cool new surprises.

We’ve also got some new judges, since one of our “OLD” judges will be in San Francisco on an internship. (Can you believe that? Putting her career ahead of The Snake Alley Festival of Film.)

Paulina and Julian

Paulina and Julian

What? You haven’t mailed your entry yet? Tick tock! What are you waiting for?

Dedication!

Tina

Tina

Paulina and Julian

Paulina and Julian

Phil, Gary, and JoJo

Phil, Gary, and JoJo

While I was at the gym yesterday, I saw a guy come in on crutches. He was wearing shorts, a tee shirt, and a walking cast. (That’s one of those things that looks like a knee-length Frankenstein boot.) He’s a regular and I’d seen him working out many times before, in his pre-cast days.

My curiosity got the best of me, so I decided to see what he was going to do. On crutches, he hobbled around the gym and completed his normal workout routine except for the part that required the use of his injured leg.

Now, THAT is dedication!

Dedication accomplishes some amazing things. It takes some serious dedication for Lonnie Schuyler to plan, set-up, and execute The Snake Alley Festival of Film each year.

It takes dedication for Tina Salamone to keep the newly refurbished Capitol Theater of Burlington, Iowa running at peak performance day after day.

And, it takes dedication for all of the volunteers who donate their time, energy, and sometimes money to make The Snake Alley Festival of Film a world-class event every year. (The names of the volunteers are listed in the blog post of June 19th, titled, “Burlington, Iowa…You Rock!”)

All of these dedicated people will tell you that it’s a labor of love.

So, what about you? Are you dedicated enough to shoot a possibly award-winning short film for this years Snake Alley Festival of Film?

Are you dedicated enough to write a mind-blowing screenplay?

Are you dedicated enough to enter The Third Annual Snake Alley Festival of Film and travel to Burlington, Iowa this coming summer to mingle with your fellow film makers?

Somehow, I think you are! And I’m looking forward to meeting all of you.

Summertime…and the livin’ is easy!

Tina and Jo Jo at the Capitol Theater

Lonnie on Fontana Lake

Lonnie on Fontana Lake

It’s hard to believe, but summer is almost over. And it’s been nearly three months since The 2nd Annual Snake Alley Festival of Film was held at the Capitol Theater in Burlington, Iowa.

Since that time, life goes on. As you can see by the photos, Tina and JoJo are staying busy at the Capitol Theater and Lonnie Schuyler is relaxing on Fontana Lake in the Smokey Mountains of North Carolina. (Or is he scouting locations?)

We hear that film makers are working on new short films for next year’s film fest.

Russ Fry is working on another historical documentary. Phil Pool, Mike Roberson, and Brandy Swartz are taking pictures of anything that will hold still…and rumor has it that “The Boyz from Boston” may return and bring “The Bride of Samurai” (Brian’s new bride) with them.

Until then, shoot film while the weather is good and enjoy the rest of your summer.

Edit when the snow falls, unless you’re doing a movie that takes place in the winter. (Here in Florida we don’t have that problem.)

Burlington, Iowa…You Rock!!

The Jig of Joy

The Jig of Joy

Now that The 2nd Annual Snake Alley Festival of Film is “in the can,” And it’s long after the “after parties.” All of the awards have been presented, accepted and/or mailed to recipients…it is time to announce one really BIG award, notice, or giant HUZZAHS! And that is to say a gigantic “Thank You” to all of the people who worked so hard to make the film festival the huge success that it was.

As you can tell by the above picture…Lonnie was dancing a jig, he was so happy with all of you. Comments I heard from out-of-towners were all raves about Burlington and its people. (That would be all of you.)

If your name isn’t in here, email me at gdschuyler@prodigy.net and tell me your name and what your job at the film festival was. I’ll get it in the next post.

Here, in no particular order, are the folks who made it happen.
• Tina Salamone-Director of the Capitol Theatre (This lady was everywhere—all the time. She’s truly amazing.)
• Joanie-who handled box office sales, concessions, etc.
• JoJo Munke- projectionist extraordinaire- kept films running without a hitch
• (I’m sure I missed a few)

Committee members
• Amy and Charlie Walsh of F&M Bank—Amy handled interviews, film maker liaisons, and other organizational duties. Her and Charlie put on the red carpet party in front of the theater and Charlie wore his chef’s hat and bartender’s apron as well. Plus, they took some of the film makers to their farm for some target shooting and a tour of the bank vaults.
• Brian and Tammy Hopkins—Brian raised funds and solicited sponsorships and they held the “after” after parties at their home. (I hope Brian knows that his wife is a saint.)
• Ryan and Jenny Turner—Ryan emceed the entire event and put together a fabulous awards ceremony. Jenny made a great professional video of blacksmith Bill Printy and how the “Alley” awards were conceived and made. (You’re a lucky man Ryan Turner)

All of the photos were the work of some world-class photographers. (You’ll be seeing many of them this year as we gear up for 2014)
• Phil Pool- Omni Photography
• Mike Roberson-Roby Photography
• Brandy Schwartz- Brandy Schwartz Photography

SNAFF-TV and live video feed were through the efforts of Mark Britton and Patricia Jean McCarron. They did the live film maker interviews, wiener dog races, and filmed the red carpet interviews. They are an amazing couple.

Music throughout the event (parties, etc.) was provided by Dustin Blank, Flash In A Pan, Sean Costanza.

Red carpet interviewers were Becky Kuster and Joe Heath (AKA Ryan Seacrest )

The Burlington High School dancers did an amazing bit of choreography and the band Red Fall Rising opened the awards ceremony with some rockin’ music.

Awards presenters were Trudie Poulter, Laura Engler, RaeAnn Kennedy, Heather Burgdorf, Alyssa Jennings, Emma Figueroa, and Patty Moad. A film maker from Australia, Gary Glen, was shanghaied into being a presenter as well as accepting an award for another film from Australia. (I think I missed a few here, also)

One of the most diverse (age-wise) groups of volunteers ranged from High-schoolers to college age folks and some who were approaching my age (which is getting up there.)
These were the people who manned the Annex and fielded questions, signed in film makers, handed out swag bags, and sold souvenirs, (look it up, Julian) plus a myriad of other tasks.

They are:
• Dale Kurth
• Bill Wright
• Annie Barner’s dad, Randy
• Axton and Tasha Upton (where ever we needed them)
• Alex Stewart (who was just accepted to a prestigious university)
• Mariah Young (an all-around assistant who helped me with my computer)
• Julian “Cucumber Eyes” Swayzer (he knows why I call him that
• Dane Barner (who wound up sick in his hotel room)

The task of assembling and coordinating all of these volunteers fell to the beautiful and talented Paulina Nicole. She did much of this while studying Interior Design at Iowa State. She is quite possibly, the most poised, organized, and efficient young lady that I’ve ever met. To top it off, she has a good sense of humor, a quick wit, (necessary when working with me) and she worked start to finish every day of the event.

Last but not least is Cynthia Stiefel Schuyler, who not only worked herself sick opening her new store, and getting ready for Cyn-A-Palooza and the Wiener Dog Races—she helped Lonnie with almost every phase of planning and organizing The 2nd Annual Snake Alley Festival of Film. (You are also a lucky man.)

Thanks to all of you (including who I may have missed) this was a first-class event. You helped put Burlington on the map.

I can’t wait for next year!