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Monday, January 26, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 18.0° F  Overcast
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The 2006 Wis-Kino Fall Kabaret kicks off
Wis-Kino co-directors Sam Lawson and Josh Klessig introduce visitors from Louisville and Montreal at the Kabaret kick-off screening.
Wis-Kino co-directors Sam Lawson and Josh Klessig introduce visitors from Louisville and Montreal at the Kabaret kick-off screening.
Credit:Kristian Knutsen

While local filmmakers and their fans dutifully watched every short movie hitting the screen at the Orpheum Stage Door on Thursday night, they paid particular attention to the last film of the night. The occasion was the kick-off screening for the 2007 Wis-Kino Fall Kabaret, the biannual frenzy in which a gang of Madison-based auteurs spend (less than) two days putting together a themed film that's five minutes (or less) in length.

That final film unveiled the theme, the formerly secret ingredient, one required for every movie in the Kabaret. Playing the role of a call center operator for an online ingredients emporium and sporting a thick Sconnie accent in the short, Wis-Kino organizer Emily Mills satisfied the consumer demand of the "pretentious indie filmmaking group" by unveiling the theme: counterfeit.

Thursday night's screening also sported a theme, though this one was not mandatory. This was "One minute, one shot," a concept that resulted in quite a few movies running a mere minute in length. Some of these, meanwhile, featured merely a single perspective sans editing. The concept of "shot" was interpreted differently by a couple of others, who incorporated a moment of gunplay in their 60 seconds of screen-time.

One particularly fun entry among these very short films was A Flock of Seagulls by John Feith. Training his camera upon a massive flock of the bird very familiar to anyone living adjacent to a Great Lake, Feith produced a minute of psychedelic avian mobbing set (of course) to the opening strains of "I Ran (So Far Away)." Here's the short:

There were only a couple movies longer than a minute. The first was Breeze, the foundation story of one superhero emitted a soft, pleasant wind that was created by a member of Madison's sister group in Louisville, Kentucky. The second was Like a Fox, an irreverently crass tale created by Sam Lawson and Josh Klessig of RASH Films, the new co-directors of Wis-Kino. This short flick lampooned a certain '90s rock star reputed to hang out at Cafà Montmartre. Then there was the entry from Matt Sloan and Aaron Yonda, a crunchy pitch a mere 30 seconds in length.

The list of films screened by Wis-Kino contributors follows below:

  • Breeze -- Office Rocker Productions
  • One shot more -- Roger Bindl
  • One minute, one shot -- Sean Bode
  • Some kind of problem with a plane -- E. Tozzi
  • One Hundred and Tweny -- Shelby Floyd
  • All done -- Andy Schlachtenhaufen
  • A Flock of Seagulls -- John Feith
  • One shot up -- Jacalyn Schultz
  • The Tasty Clue! -- Matt Sloan and Aaron Yonda
  • Intermission
  • Like a Fox -- RASH Films
  • Everything's Better with Kitties -- Andrew J. Hying

The final film announcing the secret ingredient was preceded by six films from other Kino groups from around the planet, including Montreal, St. Casimir (also in Quebec), Paris and Adelaide. There first two of these screened were parallel versions of L'education nautical, both created by Christian Laurence, a founder of the Kino movement. A francophone how-to about adapting a child for some time in the sea, the film was shot twice; once on digital video like most productions this century, and once on 16 mm film using an antique camera that dates back to the decades between both world wars in the last century.

Laurence and three other members from the mother group in Montreal are visiting Madison to observe and participate in this Kabaret. He will be shooting on the vintage camera this weekend too, creating a film with a counterfeit element on authentic film. Indeed, the theme of "counterfeit" is a natural fit for this Kabaret -- which also marks the group's fourth anniversary -- given the propensity for many of Madison's short filmmakers for comedy. Nearly forty people signed up to particpate, which could result in at least a couple dozen films produced over the crucial 48 hours.

After the screening ended Thursday night, the dozens of filmmakers participating in the Kabaret had less than two days before their deadlines for completion. This means frenzied filmmaking all through today, this evening, and for many, probably well into Saturday before the group reunites for the second screening. This show starts at 7:00 p.m. that evening, back on the screen at the Orpheum Stage Door.

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