We are delighted to announce we have been officially selected to screen at the Cinema on the Bayou Festival on Saturday, January 28th at 10:30 a.m. as a part of the Narrative Shorts Series! The COTB Fest takes place in Lafayette, Louisiana and COYOTE GIRL will be screened at the Acadiana Center for The Arts.
It’s truly an honor to be screened at a festival that “is committed to presenting nationally and internationally acclaimed documentary and narrative fiction films and filmmakers with truly original voices. ” We are proud to be considered in such good company… And we must say, the COTB Fest promises to be a blast:
“…screening new, cutting edge, fiction and non-fiction films from around the world in a relaxing environment, laced and embellished with Cajun culture’s unique identity markers, exquisite cuisine and great music. We screen uncompromising, thought-provoking films that make us laugh and cry; engage in serious discussions about matters important to independent filmmakers; and have a lot of fun and good times with old friends and make important connections with new friends who share our commitment to quality film. “
The festival is in it’s 12th year and has selected quite an inspiring array of films. We hope that if you can, you’ll make it to the screening of our little film named “Best Experimental Film” at the Boston International Film Festival, and join in on the vibrant range of art and culture of Lafayette!
For those who couldn’t make it, and for those who are nostalgic, here’s a little trip back in time with company member and lead actress, Gail Shalan (Riley Ann/Coyote), who represented the company at this year’s Boston International Film Festival… Enjoy:
Big news! A little over a year since we wrapped shooting COYOTE GIRL (the short film) and we’ve finally been accepted to an East Coast Festival, better yet- it’s in Boston, which means all my friends, family and local community can finally see our film on the big screen (For that matter- so can I)!
The festival is approaching! Sims and Biggs have asked my boyfriend Ben and I to represent the company, as they will be in NOLA during the screening. Happy to oblige! I send out invitations (pretty and personalized, of course) and let the internet know WE ARE SCREENING IN BOSTON!
Early April 2016:
And I have to pick out a red carpet outfit… Isn’t my job hard and terrible??? So I try on this silk jumpsuit, and it’s a go! Thanks Anthropologie!
Wednesday, April 13th:
I venture downtown for the first of many times this week to pick up our all-inclusive filmmaker badges and a festival program. I had stopped by a little earlier to give the coordinators some post-cards. Every time I meet someone knew who asks what film I’m a part of (or recognizes me), and can’t wait to say how much they loved COYOTE GIRL, how moving and strange it was. I’m feeling pretty special:
Thursday, April 14th:
Finally the festival is about to begin! I’ve made a screening schedule for the weekend, and a back-up list of films, too.
After primping and pampering all day, my date and I head to the AMC/Loews Theatre for the red carpet, and then the opening night of films. Check out Ben with his new friends:
We meet several interesting filmmakers at the festival, and happen to run into fellow BU alum, Zachary Clarence, whose short film, MOTHER’S LOVE, will also be screening at the festival! Every one is so kind and friendly. Some people are Boston locals, some have been touring the country with their films, and and some filmmakers are from places like Italy, Korea, Haiti and Germany.
Here are some glamorous red carpet pics (shout out to Bimal Nepal and The Foundations TV) :
We got our great seats for the stunning short, OUT OF THE VILLAGE, from Ghana, as well as the powerful Canadian feature, ACROSS THE LINE:
Friday, April 15th:
In the morning, Festival Director, Patrick Jerome, held a very informative panel on post-production fundraising and independent distribution. Although I’d never taken part in any of these aspects of film production before, I thought I’d stop by and take some notes for Sims and Biggs. I learned a lot!
Then it was time to catch some more films. I saw devastating documentary, UPSIDE DOWN, and the subtle and dark comedy, LABIA, from Argentina.
Next up was the bittersweet short, FATA MORGANA, and one of mine and Ben’s favorite features, LIKE LAMBS.
After each film, the festival facilitators would hold a Q&A with whatever filmmakers were present. It was delightful to experience such an engaged and curious audience at each screening. Even the shorts got their due diligence as the works of art they truly are.
Saturday, April 16th:
It’s the day of the screening! Also, the busiest day of the festival. I had plenty of screenings on my list and wanted to save up energy for our screening, too. I stopped by the 3:30 session of shorts and saw Zach’s film along with M.STEINERT AND SONS, THE TOYMAKER, TEREZA’S HOUSE, THE ELEVATOR, and 12 KILOMETERS.
Then I took in the screening right before ours at the beautiful Paramount Theatre Screening Room (where our film would also be screened). I got to see my good friend (and castmate from last summer’s The Winter’s Tale) in the Sci-Fi short, THE ASCENDENTS, and then caught a wonderful, feel-good drama-dy about a woman’s first triathlon experience, called TRI.
I stayed for as much of the Q&A as possible, and snuck out to meet friends & family before our screening. But when I got outside, I heard that our screening was SOLD OUT! So I snuck back in and saved us a row of COYOTE GIRL seats.
Our session was very well curated (as was the whole festival). Before our film, the short HIS LAST GAME screened. It was a 9 minute realistic, but poetic, ode to a dying man fading away into his degenerative disease. A perfect thematic opener to our film and the Jay Gianonne feature, IT SNOWS ALL THE TIME, about a son coming home to care for his family as his dementia-ridden father is diagnosed.
Although each film was very different in genre, they ran with a common theme. It was a wonderful opportunity for our artistic, avant-garde film to have an audience that was simultaneously surprised by the stylistic choices and deeply connected to the subject matter. Our film was very well received, and Rick Sands (our DP) and I were able to field all sorts of questions from “How did you get that gorgeous panoramic shot at the end?” (A drone camera) to “What did the Coyote mean?”(we’ll leave that up to you, dear viewer). Our film looked GORGEOUS on the big screen, and it was all-in-all an incredibly rewarding experience.
Sunday, April 17th:
After several long days, and much pent-up tension released, I enter Sunday in a happy, weary daze. But there are many films on my list today. I barely sneak into a screening of the sold-out OF FORTUNE AND GOLD. What a beautiful film with superb direction and breath-taking shots of the Southwest!
The filmmakers (Jared Marshall, Derek Marshall, and Valerie Hinkle), with whom I’ve been lucky enough to have several great conversations this weekend, invite Ben and I to attend their after-screening party.
After that I rush on over to the screening of COMING THROUGH THE RYE which has been on my list for weeks. It’s the (based-on-fact) story of a young high school student’s quest to find J.D. Salinger (played by Chris Cooper) and it’s a delight! Before it plays, there is a whimsical and wonderful short called AIRHEAD, and another locally made film called FROSTING.
Monday, April 18th:
A long weekend indeed, we reach Monday and the closing night party. I’m happy to see my OF FORTUNE AND GOLD friends there, so we grab our Hendrick’s-sponsored cocktails and listen to some lovely poetry and song offerings from the kind and inspired cast of festival volunteers.
I also get to sit down and have a wonderful chat with many filmmakers, some films I caught, some I’ll have to see at the next New England festival they play. But most of all, it was a pleasure to sit down with Festival Director, Patrick Jerome, and reap the benefits of his wealth of knowledge on filmmaking in the Boston community.
At the end of the night the festival announced some awards and to my great surprise, the first film they called was COYOTE GIRL for “Best Experimental Film”! What an honor!
To learn more about the Boston International Film Festival check out their website and Facebook page.
Thanks again to Bimal Nepal and The Foundations TV for such wonderful coverage of the festival and to Patrick Jerome and all of the festival volunteers, for pulling together such a well-curated and successful festival!
After several wonderful Mid-Western festivals near our shoot location (and our Westfield friends & family) we’re delighted to have the opportunity to screen in our home state of Massachusetts.
The festival promises a diverse crowd of inspiring fellows : ” … a festival dedicated to rewarding artists for their individual talents and for their creative expression through the medium of film. The festival strives to bring together in Boston local, national and international filmmakers by promoting the world’s most artistic and creative independent and experimental films.”
On BostonIFF’s welcome page Governor Baker says, “The Boston International Film Festival celebrates those artists who, through the power of cinema, capture our imagination to make us laugh and cry, think and change” and Festival Founder, Patrick Jerome, says, “The filmmakers will be sharing their diverse and powerful visions of humanity. Our greatest hope is that through these films the audience will be inspired and encouraged to embrace all the world’s cultural diversity and work towards a more understanding, peaceful world.” Sounds pretty great to us!
We’ll see you at the Route 66 Film Festival on Saturday, November 7th. Our film will be playing in Session 5 held between 7 and 10 pm. The festival is in Springfield, IL, just West of our shoot location on the Biggs’ Farm in Westfield.
The Route 66 Film Festival is in it’s 14th year and we are very honored to be a part of it! We are looking forward to experiencing this festival that claims to have “something for everyone” from shorts to features, experimental films to docs, local to international films.
On their Facebook page they state: “The general theme of our festival is journey, whether emotional, physical, spiritual or personal. We strive to introduce audiences to talented artists from around the world, as well as the American Midwest.”
Going to NAFF this weekend and want a teaser? Can’t get out there but want more COYOTE GIRL?
Boy, oh, boy are we excited to share this with you! With our SNAFF premiere behind us and playing again at NAFF this Sunday night, we thought now would be a great time to finally share with you the trailer for COYOTE GIRL.
Very proud to announce that we have been officially selected at the New Art Film Festival 2015 in Champaign, Illinois! Good news for our Mid-Western pals (and for us), y’all have another opportunity to catch a screening!
Our short film, COYOTE GIRL, will be playing amidst a select group of other locally made films on the evening of Sunday, October 4th, 2015 at The Art Theater Co-op. We are featured in the final film block, starting at 9pm.
Taking place amidst the twin cities of Champaign and Urbana, NAFF shares a hometown with the University of Illinois, as well as the Boneyard Arts, Ebertfest, and the Pens to Lens Festivals. We are honored to be a part of this art-film fest that aims to showcase the “unique collection of Illinois-produced independent films” at “one of the oldest, continually operation, purpose-built movie theaters in the United States.” The Art Theatre Co-op is a true community home, surviving it’s 102 years when in danger of closing, over 1,000 folks from near and far joined together to show their support and buy shares of the theatre, keeping it alive as a thriving co-op space.
Looking forward to being a part of such a history and hub for Art-Films in the heart of our country!
Stay tuned for the COYOTE GIRL trailer for your own viewing coming to the blog soon!
As we move forward in our work this year and begin to stage the second play in our trilogy, Riley Ann Visits The Outcast Café, we wanted to give you readers a chance to check in with some of the amazing folks we had the privilege of working with on the several iterations of our first piece, The Dick and The Rose.
To kick us off, here’s a few words from the radiant Kelsey Jayne Hogan:
OC: Can you tell us a little about your initial collaboration with Outcast Café?
KJH: I remember getting an email from Biggs early into the new year. I had loved working with Biggs in my freshman year improv class. He introduced me to so many new forms of theatre and I had never felt more expressive. This opened my world. I had always been a bit reserved in auditions and life in general, Biggs was the opposite. Larger than life with an ability to express the deepest emotions. I admired him as an artist, professor, and person. When I learned he wanted to work with ME, I was shocked and looked forward to getting to work.
OC: Sounds exciting! What was it like, bringing to life the work of your mentor? How was the rehearsal process? And what was the Edinburgh Fringe like?
It was hot, but magical in the Berkshires. That first summer with Gail, Emma, and Dylan as my fellow Ministering Angels was incredible. Being under a sticky sweaty parachute with puppets really does create a bond that can’t be broken easily (really the entire cast spent a lot of time under there and we loved each other in spite of our smells). There were days that felt like we were swimming through the air and I was excited to get to Edinburgh with its cooler forecast.
Traveling there was another adventure all together…I suppose this show was really entirely one huge adventure with millions of others taking place inside of it. A night spent in London’s Heathrow, an amazing flat, the pubic triangle, flirting with the coffee shop boy down the street, making friends with our venue managers, telling dead baby jokes to passersby, handing out hundreds of flyers, scotch lessons from my dad, ACDC karaoke, and performing a wildly fun, dark, and entertaining show…Edinburgh Fringe was a delight and ended way too soon.
OC: Indeed, it was. But we were lucky enough to have you with us again in 2012.
KJH: Yes, the following year I received another email from Biggs, we were going to New York. I was thrilled. The play had evolved and so had the cast and crew. I was reunited with my puppet (Bob) and introduced to our new ministering angels. It was a great evolution. We clicked again (I am convinced that parachute makes you friends for life). Bob (my puppet) often had a lot to say. One of my distinct memories was Biggs pulling me aside to tell me “You don’t even realize you are talking when you have your puppet with you, but you need to tell him to pull back a bit”. It was a realization that masks and puppets have a life of their own, it was what truly made me appreciate the art form. Bob did need to pull back and he did.
We had a great time experiencing the NY Artist lifestyle. We had a small apartment and I chose the smallest room (I could touch both walls at the same time). That summer the show really hit a stride, and we got to see other fantastic shows.Performing in the Cherry Lane Theater was an experience I will never forget.
OC: Neither will we! You were such an important part of the experience both times around. It was a pleasure to work with you and we miss your enthusiastic and collaborative presence in the rehearsal room. You’ve had a big journey since we parted ways 3 years ago (!!). Could you tell us a little about what you’ve been up to?
KJH: Of course. A lot of time has passed since then. I truly miss it everyday. It was a time in my life that I was incredibly passionate and excited to get up every morning to create something and be around and connect to other artists. Though I still perform here and there and write when I take the time for myself, I have now moved back to the west coast.
After graduating from Emerson I moved to Washington D.C. and took a year long internship in devlopment and administration with Woolly Mammoth. It was great experience and I found a way to soothe my creative mind in an office by taking on event planning. After a year there I moved back west and took a job with Berkeley Rep handling donor relations and assiting with events.
I just had a one year anniversary with this job, something I have never had! It is exciting and terrifying. I enjoy what I do, love the company and my co-workers, though it can feel a little monotonous not working under a hole-filled parachute with a 7ft penis puppet…I’m moving up in the company and starting in September will be the special events manager which I am very proud of and grateful for. I tend not to plan my life ahead of time; that must be the artist, nomadic soul in me.
OC: We, too, know that traveling spirit very well;) Congratulations on all your hard work and many accomplishments over the past few years! We are so proud of you. Anything else you’d like to treat our readers to? Big life lessons? One more laugh?
I do hope I can see Bob again…when you connect with a puppet it never really leaves you (and my non-puppeteer friends don’t get it). Having Biggs in my life, being a part of “The Dick and the Rose”, connecting with Tori, Caley, Dave, Ian, Ron, Dylan, Emma, Gail, Jenny, Jake, Evan, Barbara, Deborah (I know the list goes on, but for the sake of this sentence I’ll end it here) also will never really leave me. They pushed me to be better every day and make me who I am now. I don’t stay in a shell and won’t be reserved; my self-confidence has soared and I will be forever grateful for them.
The main lesson I learned is to take life by the 7ft. dick, if you will, and live your adventure.
We at the Outcast Cafe are very proud to announce that our short film COYOTE GIRL has been accepted into the 2015 Snake Alley Festival of Film in Burlington, Iowa! “Dedicated to showcasing the best shorts from around the world, with a strong emphasis on story,” we are honored to be a part of a festival recognizing these accomplishments.
This is our second film to go to Snake Alley. In 2013 One Year’s Crop was nominated for Best Documentary ! In celebration let’s take a trip down memory lane:
Artistic director, writer, actor, artist Robert Biggs talks about One Year’s Crop. Very interesting to watch now and draw similar parallels from his interview to our newest tale, Coyote Girl.
Here are some pics of the last time Biggs and Sims were at Snake Alley:
It’s a pleasure and an honor to return to “the crookedest film festival in the u.s.” And let us know if you’ll be joining us at #SNAFF2015 !
Outcast Café is hard at work on our future projects. Our team is spread far and wide right now (and so is our film Coyote Girl) before we come together again early this Spring to start work on the next installment of Robert Biggs’ original works. We can’t wait to tell you more about are plans for the Spring of 2015, but first lets all go back to some past adventures in a little image throwback. Enjoy!
January has been an amazing month for Outcast Café! We have spent the past two and a half weeks officially entering the production phase of making our second short film, Coyote Girl, the poetic version of the 90 minute play script Riley Ann Visits the Outcast Cafe. After spending about two weeks on location in Westfield, Illinois the team has dispersed and continues to work on post-production for the film as well as upcoming projects for the company. Here is the next installment of our adventures on location from the perspective of company member Gail Shalan (Riley Ann, Coyote):
9:03 a.m.- Despite the promise of an early morning again today, the weather forbids our last effort to capture the drone shot in scene 7. Rick is awesome and emails me the night before, so I get a couple extra hours before our final day of shooting begins. Some sun salutations and serious journaling are in order.
11:13 a.m.- With the morning off and no plans to get going until after lunch, Biggs takes the opportunity to give me a further glimpse at the geography which makes up the history of our little tale. We plow through muddy roads that cut across fields and fields of ghosted corn. It’s sunny and warmer than it has been. Golden light floods the truck. In the usual fashion, each time we pass a certain piece of acreage, I get a detailed backstory of how the land came into, or passed from, Biggs’ possession. We go all the way to the far corners of the South Place, opposite on the property from David’s house, loop around through the land that lays so low it floods most of the year. We actually drive straight over a semi-frozen river and onto a special plot of land preserved by the government as a graveyard and conservation landmark. Here I hear the charming account of the time my dearest childhood friend, Robert and Deborah’s daughter Emma, was brought here in her youth and asked in wonder:”So… do we own dead people?”… perhaps, in a way. And on a more serious note, it’s the spirits evoked by this tour of the Biggs Farm, those who’s remains are buried in the graveyard, or the native people’s who may be in the fields, as well as the stories those who’ve moved on have left behind, which bring a reverence to the last day of my participation in this particular iteration of our tale of life and death. I’m glad to bid farewell to this understated character of our story. The magic of filming “on location” is not to be belittled on a project like this. It’s a memorable morning for sure.
2:34 p.m.- We meet the others at the smokehouse again for lunch and somewhat tragic news. This morning, while attempting to capture a drone shot for scene 3 in which the drone flies perilously close to the side of the house, an self-inflicted draft caused a crash landing. Being rather new technology, and quite expensive, the machine has had it’s run on the shoot and must be shipped out to Japan (I believe) to undergo repair. We toast to the drone, enjoy our last proper pulled pork, discuss travel to the airport tomorrow and head back to the Home Place to begin our final work day.
4:06 p.m.- First scene of the day features only the Old Man, so I settle up in the “green room” with my moving playlist I’ve made titled “Coyote Girl” and relax into the zone of Riley Ann’s final stretch. The goal for me, is to keep the energy level and focus clear until we begin scene 15 around 6 p.m.
6:30 p.m.- Scene 15 is gorgeous. I love working on this. It’s all close-ups. I feel like I’m finally understanding what part of me is framed in what shot and how to make the slight adjustments which give me control over my performance without damaging the organic experience of the moment. Day 4 is off to a good start. We capture several different options to chose from in post and Rick seems quite happy with the results of my work, which feels very validating, knowing he’ll be making those final cuts.
8:48 p.m. – Time to film the death scene… duh, duh, duh. While there is a bit of extensive choreography, the first few takes of the master go very well. When we sit down to watch them played back for a lighting or sound adjustment, however, we notice a major problem: The issue with what started as a play and has been made into a film (and this is not the first time we’ve worked our way through this challenge) is that sometimes simple, physical choices that work for the stage without a doubt, we just can’t get away with on film. In the continuous shot, from the Old Man’s last breath through Riley Ann’s long farewell, it is very challenging for Biggs to hold his breath, especially with the irregular nature of the “dying breath”… and it’s entirely impossible to mask the blinking of his lids, as the necessary lighting shines right into his eyes. We spend a lot of time trouble shooting this problem, and eventually, I believe we come up with a combination of distorted light and cutting the shot.
11:39 p.m.- While, technically, the former scene took a while to capture, the good streak of artistic work continued. I’m feeling confident, and yet, remaining in a very heightened emotional state for the character. Or rather, flowing in and out of it repeatedly, attempting to preserve energy, but not being able to hang onto much. I figure we’re good, though. When we rehearsed the scene last week, we ran the entire screenplay through, or as much as possible. This, in turn, created the pattern that Riley Ann gets up from her dead father’s body and takes her Coyote boy to the window with her, staring out into the abyss in what, at the time, was fairly extensive and very fresh sorrow and loss. Knowing I needed to be in such a tender state, I revved myself up and remained incredibly emotional throughout the process of our first several takes. But something wasn’t working. The shot was coming off as incredibly theatrical. It felt too heavy. It just wasn’t right. Biggs came in and out of the door, trying to give me sensitive and delicate directional nudges, but it wasn’t fixing the problem. Not sure if it was the bright lights and entire crew staring at me and my puppet in a somewhat unrehearsed moment that made me feel like I was failing, or the fact that I’d made Riley Ann completely frenetic and out of sorts, but I just wasn’t moving in the right direction for what the scene needed. I found myself confused, frustrated, feeling unprofessional and like I was wasting everyone’s time…. It was 1 a.m. on our last day of shooting, which thus far had been a roaring success for me, and I couldn’t get my shit together.
After a mini conference with my directors, Biggs and Rick, which yielded some useful conversation about what we determined earlier that week; what remained useful, and what we should scrap; and some other options to try, I took some very, very deep breaths and we began again. It’s quite possible that the scene had morphed, that the story had taken a turn none of us had foreseen, that Riley Ann actually had earned to come out the other side of her struggle and into the unknown. Beneath the dense wave of embarrassing emotion, and the thick wall of struggling communication, we had some how excavated a beautiful, truthful, and completely surprising final moment for our film and for our shoot. It was the epitome of the gigantic learning curve this entire process had been.
Wednesday, February 11th, 11:41 p.m.
I’m not sure I’m conveying the moment in an articulate manner, but when I woke up in the morning, with a few hours of deep sleep and a promising plane ride home to my beloved, I felt utterly proud, excited, and revelatory of a new chapter of my own work as an actor, as well as a large accomplishment for the company. Now, I move on to new projects, and tell you readers about fond memories, while our talented team puts together a gorgeous, potent, relevant short film called “Coyote Girl”.
Thank you for reading our log of the on location film shoot last month. If you would like to keep up to date on Coyote Girl‘s process, please check in with this blog frequently and follow us on twitter and instagram: @outcastcafe