Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Called to Walls at Liberty Hall!

Since the November/December rough-cut screenings of Called to Walls in Joplin, MO, Tonkawa, OK and Newton, KS, we have been in a whirlwind of editing, promoting, planning and organizing.

In early January, Nicholas set out for Salina, KS on his second editing residency in the guest-house of Brad and Jane Anderson. His stay in (what has now been dubbed) the “Garden Cottage Residency” was a much-needed refuge that offered time and uninterrupted head-space to complete the film's new and improved trailer and to begin the film's final edits.

Photo by Nicholas Ward
With a newly completed trailer in hand, we contacted Liberty Hall Cinema and set a premiere date for Feb. 27th. Though this seemed like a manageable goal, we also know that Nicholas works best under pressure:)

Liberty Hall Theater      Photo by Ken Crowder
Liberty Hall, is a historic, 500-seat theater in the heart of downtown Lawrence and has been the stage for some of our most favorite performances. We knew that this location would be the perfect venue to celebrate the film with our friends and neighbors near and far. With six weeks till showtime, we immediately began wrestling with final edits, fine-tuning the narrative, mastering the audio, building promotional materials, preparing for special guests, organizing a panel discussion  

and of course, planning an after party. Whew!

     Testing our new Blu-ray disc at Liberty Hall, two                           
     days before the screening. Photo by Amber Hansen
For the audio mastering we had fantastic help from our good friend Chad at Pony Creek Studios in Sioux Falls, SD. Unfortunately, not all aspects of post-production went so flawlessly.  In our planning we had left ten days for tech problems as this was our first time burning the film to a Blu-ray disc. With three days till show time and still no disc in hand, we became a little frazzled. We owe a special thanks to Lawrence Public Library's subscription to Linda.com and the gracious last minute help we received from Lawrence's own, Through a Glass Productions who ultimately landed us with two brand new Blu-rays!

The day of the premiere was spent with our families and our special guests whom had traveled many miles to join us on this special day. That evening, we arrived at the venue with freshly crafted speeches and commenced pacing up and down backstage. Ten minutes to showtime we received word  the show had sold-out and that there was still a significant line trailing out the door and down the sidewalk!

Photo by Tiffany Thoelke

Photos by Ken Crowder.
The sold-out show was certainly a surprise to us both! On this unusually warm and calm Saturday evening, more than 500 people had come to see Called to Walls. This was the result of a number of factors including a wealth of community support from friends, local businesses and numerous media outlets. A special thanks to Liberty Hall staff, Free State Brewery, Dave Loewenstein, Julia Cole, Audrey Schmitz, Arlene Goldbard, Dean Edington, Rolf Peterman, Whatever Forever, Decade Coffee Shop, Invisible Public library, No Magic, Jon Niccum, Laura Lorson, Joanna Hlavacek, C.J. Janovy, Megan Lewis, I Heart Local Music and many others! We deeply appreciate your support and enthusiasm for the film!

A panel discussion took place after the film. This photo features the panelists from behind the screen and was taken by Johni Lacore

 Nicholas Ward: director, Dave Loewenstein: featured muralist, Amber Hansen: director, Arlene Goldbard: featured guest, Audrey Schmidtz: Tonkawa Oklahoma's project coordinator, Julia Cole: Panel Moderator. Photo by Neil Goss.

Now, more than a week later we are still collecting ourselves. It was truly an overwhelming experience to see so many familiar faces from different facets of our lives, gathered together in one place. Thank you to everyone who came out to the screening and for sharing this special night with us. 

For those who were unable to make the screening, we are happy to announce that Called to Walls has been selected to be in the KC Film Festival, Middle of the Map Film Festival, and the Sioux Empire Film Festival! Please join us at these upcoming events!

Feel free to “like” the Called to Walls Facebook page, check us out @Calledtowalls on twitter and we will certainly keep you posted as future screening dates emerge

Called to Walls premiere, panel discussion and after party. Photos by Johni Lacore

Matt Farley: Newton Kansas mural assistant, Audrey Schmitz: Tonkawa Oklahoma project coordinator, Amber Hansen & Nicholas Ward: Called to Walls directors, Dave Loewenstein: Lead muralist, Jordan Karpe & Ashley Laird: Arkadelphia Arkansas mural assistants. Photo by Ken Crowder

Nicholas Ward and Amber Hansen.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Rough cut 2

Photos by Aaron Paden

Over the past two months we've taken a familiar hiatus from our home in Lawrence, KS and have set out to share a rough-cut preview of Called to Walls with the host communities featured in the film. We would like to highlight those screenings as we look forward to the film's upcoming premier in the New Year!!!

We kicked off the tour with a hometown screening on Nov. 5th in Lawrence KS.   The event was hosted by KU's Student Union Association and took place in Spooner Hall at the Commons on the Campus of the University of Kansas.  Earlier in the day, in neighboring Kansas City, KC'S Gina Kaufman (Kansas City NPR station host of the morning program Central Standard) interviewed featured muralist Dave Loewenstein and Called to Walls co-director Amber Hansen for a special hour-long segment dedicated to community-based murals (link below.)


Following the KU screening, our great friend, Dr. Rachael Vaughn did a magnificent job moderating the event (which was recorded to be later incorporated into an in-depth, radio interview via the college radio station, KJHK.) Looking out into the crowd it was wonderful to see faces both new and familiar. The film screening was followed by an engaging discussion.

Photo by Aaron Paden                                                       Film Preview Screening panel left to right: Rachael Vaughn, Nicholas Ward, Amber Hansen, Kyle McKenzie, David Lowenstein.          
Photo by Dave Loewenstein

Little more than a week later, (Nov. 15th) we hit the road once again and traveled south to Newton, KS (site #2 on the Mid-america mural project.) In Newton, the screening event was hosted in the Krehbiel Auditorium on the campus of Bethel College. In spite of the day being overcast and fraught with freezing rain we were warmly received by our Newton companions. By the enthusiasm and conversations surrounding the film one would never guess that it had been more than five years since the mural project arrived in Newton.
We are grateful to the Newton mural project co-coordinators Barb Burns and Rachel Epp Buller for organizing the event!

From left to right:
Panel moderator, Shaun Conroy, Muralist Dave Loewenstein,
Filmmakers Amber Hasnen, Nicholas Ward, Joplin mural
apprentice, Kyle Mckenzie, project coordinator, Sharon Beshore,
Joplin design team member, Jo Mueller. Photo by Emily Frankoski

The following week, Nov, 22nd we were  setting up in Cornell Auditorium on the Campus of MSSU in Joplin, MO. Again, the film was met with much excitement. In Joplin, the project had occurred at a very fragile and pivotal timeRevisiting the story of the mural project brought forth warm and  challenging memories. It also reminded us of how much things have changed in the interim Since the screening we have been invited to return in May of 2016 for a community-wide screening of the finished film.

Dave Loewenstein, Amber Hansen, Nicholas Ward, Kyle McKenzie and Sharon Beshore. Photo by Emily Frankoski
Photo by Amber Hansen

 The final showing of our preview tour took place in the town where our first imaginings for Called to Walls came into being, Tonkawa, OK. The return to Tonkawa was a homecoming and for all of us  a great reminder of why this project initially came into being.  Our relationships with residents and former design team members hadn't skipped a beat!

 In addition to the film screening, Amber was exhibiting a solo exhibition of drawings from her new body of work: "Feeding the World". 
Amber speaking about her exhibition "Feeding the World" at NOC college, Tonkawa, Ok. Photo by Ken Crowder

Amber spoke to a number of art classes  and gave a public presentation about her work.  As a special treat, Art Professor and exhibition curator Audrey Schmitz created a button making station where exhibition patrons could create their own buttons from a number of selected images taken from Amber's drawings. Pretty cool!

Photo by Ken Crowder
Both the screening and Amber's exhibition were held at the Kinzer Performing Arts Center at Northern Oklahoma College. The panel discussion was joined by Audrey Schmitz and was moderated by our new friend Don Stinson. That evening culminated in a great coming together of old friends, sharing of food and trading of stories, old and new. One tidbit that we were reminded of that evening is that Audrey Schmitz (Tonkawa's project coordinator) and her partner Ken Crowder have traveled to and have painted on five of the six murals created for the Mid-America Mural Project! 

Audrey Schmitz, Nicholas Ward, Amber Hansen & David Loewenstein. Photo by Ken Crowder
 Don Stinson. Photo by Ken Croweder
On the drive back to Lawrence we made a special detour to Ponca City, OK, where we met with two former Tonkawa residents (now in their 90's) who were not able to join us for the film screening. We surprised them at the assisted living center where they now live to share a rough-cut copy of the film. For us this was a very special experience.

 We are so grateful for all of the individuals who have worked tirelessly in organizing these events! Going forward, we are ramping up for a big film premier in Lawrence, KS. This will be the first public screening of the completed film (dates to come soon!) We thank everyone for the support and feedback we've received on this journey! Keep your eyes peeled for notifications and invites for upcoming screenings and please join us if you can! Looking forward to a year filled with great experiences!

Love, Amber and Nicholas.