Be Afraid! Be Very Afraid!

Janet Leigh in shower scene from Psycho.

Janet Leigh in shower scene from Psycho.

The witching hour is fast approaching! I’m referring to “All Hallows Eve,” also known as Halloween.

‘Tis the time ghosts and goblins, tricks and treats, eerily glowing Jack-O-Lanterns, and things that go “bump” in the night.

It’s also a great time to watch scary movies.

If you Google the phrase, “The scariest movies of all time,” you’ll get some very subjective lists. Even Reader’s Digest weighs in with their list of the top 31 scariest movies of all time. I don’t agree with all of them, but here is their list: The Exorcist (1973), The Shining (1980), Halloween (1978), Poltergeist (1982), The Evil Dead (1981), The Cabin in the Woods (2012), A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), The Birds (1963), Alien (1979), Coraline (2009)

I think Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” should have been on the list, (but I’ve always been partial to the shower scene with Janet Leigh.) I also liked “Them” and “The Blob.” It’s a generational thing.

Which movies would you pick for your Top 10 Scariest Movies?

During last year’s Snake Alley Festival of Film there was a special screening of “The Legend of Beaver Dam.” This short film was funny, scary, entertaining and should be in the “Top 10” list of any scary short films.

On this same subject, here is an interesting link from David Thrasher on the Iowa Films Facebook page at:
His link for the movie factoids is:

This year for Halloween, I’ve developed my own scare tactic. I’m downloading a picture of a huge motor home. Then I photo shop a picture of my wife and myself standing next to it. Next, I email it to the kids with a note asking, “Do you think this will fit in your driveway?”

I wish I could see their faces when they open THAT email! Bwaa haaa haa!

Not to be too scary, but are you getting ready for next year’s Snake Alley Festival of Film. It has a way of sneaking up on you.

And if you notice that Lonnie Schuyler has a lot more gray hair…you know he saw my motor home email!




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.

“Best of the Fest!”

Another successful film festival is in the can.

Another successful film festival is in the can.

Okay! So you missed your chance to go to The Second Annual Snake Alley Festival of Film this past June. While it may be over…and maybe you missed the parties, the people, the glitz and the glamour…you can still experience some of the movie magic.

On September 5th through the 7th the Capitol Theater of Burlington will be showing a selection of films from the fest. Lonnie Schuyler, director of the SNAFF (Snake Alley Festival of Film) and his team of eagle-eyed experts have chosen a selection of films that represent a cross-section of the amazing talent that was on display in June.

Tickets are only $5.00. Five bucks…for hours of world-class entertainment. Talk about a cheap date. Show your sweetie just how much you care.

And speaking of sweeties, give Lonnie Schuyler a kiss for his birthday. It’s September 5th, but he’ll accept kisses on all three days. I won’t disclose his age, but if he was a giant sequoia, you’d fall asleep counting the rings.

On a serious note, he IS getting older, so try not to startle him. And if you see Phil Pool one of the SNAFF photographers, don’t startle him either. He just had a birthday and he’s even older than Lonnie. (If that’s even possible.)

Bits and Pieces!

Brian Moyer and bride

Just so you know we haven’t been sleeping on the job, (maybe napping a bit, but not really sleeping) we bring you some news and tidbits since The 2nd Annual Snake Alley Festival of Film wrapped up.

Russ Fry, who has been a big supporter of this festival since it began, is working on a new historical film. Last year he screened “The Hanging of The Hodges.” His new film’s working title is “A Ride Around Historical North Hill; Burlington, Iowa!” As with all of Russ’ work, he does a lot of research and gets some interesting facts of history for this area.

Stephen Folker’s latest film is titled “Field Freak” and is in production in Eastern Iowa. It is slated for release in 2014.
Mikeal Burgin’s film, “Bring Me A Dream” continues to win awards after his big win at The 2nd Annual Snake Alley Festival of Film. The latest is The Best Iowa Film at the 2013 Hardacre Film Festival. It also got a nice write-up in the Cedar Rapids newspaper.

David Thrasher posted a link to a book he had read titled “The Business of Media Distribution: Monetizing Film, TV, and Video Content in an Online World” by Jeff Ulin. Here’s the link: Monetizing/dp/024081200X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1375497047&sr=8-1&keywords=business+of+media+distribution

Here is a nice freebie if you plan to market your own films (or anything else for that matter). Go to and sign up for the free monthly newsletter. It’s full of practical, useable marketing tips that you can implement now.

In the meantime start making plans to attend, enter, show-up-for, or be at The 3rd Annual Snake Alley Festival of Film. If you aren’t there, we’ll make fun of you (and you won’t even know.)

This just in: Brian Moyer, who played the chain-smoking Samurai in the People’s choice winner “Phil’s Butts,” got married. (Cue the Queen song, “Another One Bites The Dust”) Just kidding! Congratulations to the newly-weds. Their photo is at the top of this post.

Seems Like Only Yesterday!

It’s been almost a month since The Second Annual Snake Alley Festival of Film ended. The memories are fresh in my mind…and will last a lifetime. If you were there you know it was a blast. I couldn’t find anyone who didn’t have a great time.

If you couldn’t make it, start planning for next year. I’ve put the links to some of the pictures (as promised) so that you can see what went on.

You may have to cut and paste. Sometimes this platform doesn’t accept live links. I’m going to try, but if not…well, you know the drill.

Two of the links are for Cyn-A-Palooza which coincided with The Snake Alley Film Fest and includes great shots of the Wiener Dog Races. Enjoy!

FYI—If you’re new to this blog, you can subscribe by clicking on the button in the lower right-hand corner and following the instructions. (Thanks to Laura Woodard of for this suggestion.)

Looks like the links ARE live. Enjoy the show!

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 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!

Complaints? We Don’t Do No Stinkin’ Complaints!

SNAFF Complaint Department

About the only complaint I heard all weekend was that The Second Annual Snake Alley Festival of Film was over. No one wanted to leave Burlington. And I can understand that sentiment.

We were surprised by the ladies who visited from The Huffington Post. (They were there for something else and we managed to convince them to spend a little extra time at the film fest and Cyn-a-Palooza. And…we had another write-up in Movie Maker magazine. Burlington is on the radar of the art and film community.

Of course, our complaint department pictured above may have had something to do with the lack of complaints. (Just kidding! That’s me, Lonnie’s Dad—a couple of days after the film fest—visiting friends on their farm. We just wanted to use the picture in a blog post.)

There were regrets from the people who didn’t make it to the fest, and some tears from those who had to travel home after meeting and making some wonderful new friends.

I’m back in Florida and gearing up to get back to work. We’re missing Iowa already.

If you get the chance to go to next year’s Snake Alley Festival of Film, block out those days on your calendar. They’re brainstorming and from what I overheard, it going to be bigger and better than ever.

I had the chance to work with some amazing people. If this is an example of Iowan hospitality…I think that other parts of the country could learn from them.

I hope to see you all there next year.

“That’s A Wrap!”

Another successful film festival is in the can.

Another successful film festival is in the can.

The Snake Alley Festival of Film has come to a close. Time for a little rest. (My liver thanks you, my head thanks you…) If you weren’t here you’ll kick yourself as I post more about the goings on.

As you can tell by the photos in previous posts, the “after parties” and the (“after, after parties” held at Brian and Tammy Hopkins house) were a blast. Many brain cells were sacrificed on the altar of “discussing our art.” The out of town attendees were smitten with Burlington, and more then one were looking at buying property here. Even the Huffington Post was here.

More photos will be posted when I’m back in my office.

Since your not-so-intrepid-anymore blogger was one of those who sacrificed a few brain cells, I’ll post the important part today. The posts that follow in the next few days and weeks, will have all the gory details (I may even name names and include photos) of what transpired.

Today, I’ll post the nominees and winners of the categories from the fest. Before I do, I want to say that every film I saw should have been a winner, but it doesn’t work that way. What I mean is, there were no bad films and I’m glad I wasn’t a judge. Now on to the results.

BEST DOCUMENTARY…nominees… One Years Crop, Buffalo Must Die,
Animation Hotline.

The winner… Buffalo Must Die

BEST SCI-FI…nominees… Witchbane: Hunters, Mars II, Far and The
Incident Of The Giant Ammonia-Breathing Space Crabs

The winner … Far

BEST ACTION…nominees are… 8 Guns Over A Dead Girl, Revenge Flame of Hayabusa.

The winner … 8 Guns Over A Dead Girl

BEST ANIMATION…nominees… Me, My Wife and Our Cow, Andersartig, The Hopper, The Rose of Turaida.

The winner… The Rose of Turaida

BEST HORROR…nominees … Revelation, Domicile, Exit the Dead and
The Tell Tale Heart

The winner is… Revelation

BEST DRAMEDY…nominees… Phil’s butts, Any Moment Now, Pro Kopf, Dreinhalb and Another fucking…

The winner is… Pro Kopf

BEST MUSIC VIDEO…nominees… “Next To You”, “Acid Pauli; Equation Of Time” and “Ada (Happy Birthday)”

The winner is… “Next To You” by Blue Kid

BEST COMEDY…Nominees… Division Azul, Musik Liegt In Der Luft,
Thumb, Naked, Ovni and Stand Up or Shut Up.

The winner is… Thumb

BEST STUDENT FILM…Nominees… Sashi Chori, Treibjagd, Peace, Love and Zombies, and Resistance.

The winner is… Resistance

BEST DRAMA…Nominees… The Telegram Man, Imagine, Elegy For A
Revolutionary, Paper People, Erinnerungen, A. D. Sommer, Black
Irish, Tender, Ararat.

The winner is… The Telegram Man

The Alley (trophy) Awards

NEW YORK LOBBY 3AM by John Burdeaux
THE EXAM ROOM by Paul Berg
THE SITTER by Jennifer Harrison

The winner is… Kindergarten Graduate

BEST IOWA MADE FILM…nominees are… The Hanging of The Hodges, To Be Alone, Bring Me A Dream and From Uranus.

The winner is… Bring Me A Dream

BEST OF THE FEST…Nominees… Division Azul, Sahashi Chori, Ararat, Paper People, Tender, It’s Consuming Me, Andersartig and The
Telegram Man.

The winner is… Shashi Chori

THE DIRECTOR’S AWARD for outstanding performance…nominees…
“TENDER” Directed by… Elric Kane, Outstanding performance
by… Kym Jackson and William Beinbrink
“TOO LATE NOW” Directed by… Kelly Young-Silverman,
Outstanding performance… Steve Coulter
“PAPER PEOPLE” Directed by… Andrew Kightlinger, Outstanding
performance by… Steven Luke
“THE TELEGRAM MAN” Directed by… James Francis Khehtie,
Outstanding performance by… Jack Thompson
“ARARAT” Directed by… Engin Kunda, Outstanding performance
by… Claudio Schulz-Keune and Pınar Erincin

The winner is… Paper People. Directed by Andrew Kightlinger
and starring Steven Luke.

AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARD…Nominees…8 Guns for a Dead Girl, Paper People, Bring Me A Dream, Tender, and Phil’s Butts.

The winner is… Phil’s Butts

Great Films In A Wiener Wonderland!

Film maker Q and A

Flash in the pan

Mad Russian

One unique event that happens in conjunction with the Snake Alley Festival of Film is Cyn-A-Palooza. It’s a family oriented street carnival highlighted by the Annual Pet Parade and the Wiener Dog Races.

This might just be one of the funniest and fun-est (is that a real word?) you’ve ever seen. Betting IS encouraged, with the proceeds benefitting the SPCA.

This is held right around the corner from the Capitol Theater during a lull in the film screenings. This is a “bucket list” event.

The “after party” last night was held at the Drake on the outdoor patio. Talk about ambiance…a very comfortable summer night, the stars, the river…all in sight of a beautiful bridge. Entertainment by “Flash In The Pan,” was “rockin’ da house!” (If you’ve never seen “the Mad Russian” play a fiddle, you must see this.)

Prior to the party, I sat in the theater for the last block of Friday’s screenings. It wasn’t easy finding a seat. The house was packed and it was close to being an SRO event. The Q and A session with the film makers was lively, spirited, and informative.

This year’s awards ceremony features live entertainment and a musical revue. Sorry you couldn’t be here. You missed a fun event.

This festival has grown to three times the size it was last year. In fact, the sightseeing tour had to turn people away. For those of you who didn’t make this year’s fest…lock in the dates for next year. We’re already planning to add more events.

Lights! Camera! Action!

Well, we made it to Burlington safely, although my wife was not thrilled with the shortcut I took through the cornfields and woods.

I spent most of the day helping Lonnie, Tina, Paulina, Ryan, Mark, Alex, Amy, Mariah, Brian and a host of other amazing volunteers set up the theater Annex for the film festival.

All I can say is, this is going to be bigger and better than last year.
There will be a radio interview with a film maker from Australia and with a film maker from New York. Then…at exactly 11:00 A.M. the registration and sign ups begin. At noon it’s Showtime.

One of the film crews from New York arrived this afternoon and we got to see a preview of their film titled, “Phil’s Butts!” What a great bunch of guys and if this is the quality of films we can look forward to…I can’t wait to see the rest.

If you can get here (the New York crew drove 20 hours straight through), don’t miss this.

If I’m coherent and able to write after the party tomorrow, I’ll fill you in. As I once said, “Be there or be square.”