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Sycamore Film Festival
2012 Films

We will be showing the following feature films with some members of the cast and crew from each film attending the Festival:

good morning Good Morning Vietnam
A new Disc Jockey is shipped from Crete to Vietnam to bring humor to Armed Forces Radio. He turns the studio on its ear and becomes wildly popular with the troops but runs afoul of the middle management who think he isn't G.I. enough. While he is off the air, he tries to meet Vietnamese especially girls, and begins to have brushes with the real war that never appears on the radio.

longest yard The Longest Yard
A football player-turned-convict organizes a team of inmates to play against a team of prison guards. His dilemma is that the warden asks him to throw the game in return for an early release, but he is also concerned about the inmates' lack of self-esteem.

tugs Making Waves
Michael Lahey
What do a public access TV personality, an electronics engineer, a Vietnam vet, a libertarian congressional candidate and a retired millionaire have in common? They’re all operating unlicensed, 'pirate' radio stations in Tucson, Arizona. Making Waves follows their uphill struggle to be heard on our publicly-owned but corporate-controlled airwaves.

Best Feature Documentary Winner at the 2004 Newburyport Documentary Film Festival and the 2004 Great Lakes Independent Film Festival, Making Waves reveals the pirates’ personal and political passions that compel them to defy the U.S. Government, and invites the viewer to ask, ‘If the public took back the airwaves, what would they sound like?’

View the Making Waves trailer: jumpcutfilms.com/makingwaves/trailer_hi.html

tugs Tugs Untied
Michael Lahey
For more than two decades, Pi Kappa Alpha had dominated Tugs, the annual tug-of-war competition at Northern Illinois University, winning eight straight times and 22 of the past 24 years. But in 1995, the unthinkable happened: Pikes lost Tugs.

An award-winning doc from the 2000 Arizona International Film Festival, Tugs Untied follows the Pike tuggers as they prepare for the '96 Tugs and grapple with depression, desperation and overwhelming alumni pressure to bring the Tugs trophy back home.

View the Tugs Untied trailer: jumpcutfilms.com/tugs/

refuge REFUGE: Stories of the Selfhelp Home
Ethan Bensinger
In the late 1930s, following the ferocious anti-Jewish violence of Kristallnacht, a determined group of young German Jews left behind everything that was dear and familiar and immigrated to Chicago. Here, these refugees set out to create a supportive community for themselves and others fleeing Nazi persecution, eventually establishing the Selfhelp Home for the oldest among them. “REFUGE” is a one-hour documentary that reaches back more than 70 years to give a voice to its last generation of victims of Nazi persecution and tell the story of this singular community that has provided a safe haven to more than 1,000 Central European Jewish refugees and survivors.

“REFUGE” weaves together historical narrative, archival footage and deeply personal testimony to explore the lives of six Chicagoans against the context of the Nazi cataclysm and how a small group of them came together to care for their own. The film illuminates the lost world of Central European Jewry prior to World War II--middle class, educated, cultured--and the remarkable courage, resilience and character of its final generation at Selfhelp.

In their own words, these refugees and survivors, now in their late 80s and above, speak vividly of loss of family and of place, of separations, and of decisions that meant the difference between life and death. Yet, theirs are also stories of renewal, of finding love and creating new families, and of starting again in a new land.

From WGN Radio, The Rick Kogan Show (May 27, 2012)
NBC News segment (May 31, 2012)

return Return to Grace
Holden Wilson
The roguish romantic Darrow (NICK DARGIS) makes an ill-fated choice that drives him apart from his true love, Lily (KYLE LOVETT) He'll do anything to return to her --- But fate deals him an impossible choice: Love, or Freedom?

mine Mine is Mine
Kyle Bowe
Phil is a jerk. As his dwindling friends grow up and move on in their lives, he is increasingly isolated in the fine opinion of himself. So Phil takes a drastic step. He clones himself. With this new best friend, Phil finds his every viewpoint validated by someone who doesn’t judge him. That is, until the clone begins to grow up and Phil has to face both versions of himself.

white flag White Flag
Chris Colucci & David M. Baker
White Flag is the story of a brother and sister journeying through a post-apocalyptic world to a transport to safety. On their journey they battle fatigue, tough terrain, and avoid scavenging "nomads" as they discover the things they will do to protect one another when presented with the worst case scenario.

crossing From Reservations to Restoration;
Hope for the Native People

Don Albert
This is a Documentary about how God is working and moving among the Native Americans. The Natives were treated harshly and religion was forced upon them in the past. They ended up on Reservations finding comfort in alcohol and drugs. Hear about how God is moving in a new way as Native leaders share their stories, and about their ministries in this 29:00 documentary.

demise Demise
Mitchell Spencer
This is an experimental/documentary video about the passing of an era in Roanoke, VA. Roanoke City Mills was identified as “The South’s Largest and Finest and Flour Mill”. In 2001, the mill was targeted for demolition: “...in the way of a proposed biomedical and technology park ...” (The Roanoke Times). The videographer views the exterior of the building as a functional aesthetic statement that represented a past and prosperous industry in the present. The relevance of the video is applicable to many communities today. In the present, the loss of the past to the future.

pochin Open Your Eyes
Adolfo R. Mora
What is being normal? This question resonates in Ponchín – an 11-year old who tries to answer it while playing with his friends. Through his self-reflective journey, the complex yet personal answer lies closer to home than he can image.

broken Broken & Beautiful
Erin Dalian
Broken & Beautiful weaves together stories of the lives of members of All Saints Church. Through the music of contemporary Christian artists, the characters’ dark secrets are exposed, despite their best efforts to cover their imperfections. It is only when the characters are brought down to their knees that they find healing; that they realize that though we are all sinners, we are all called to be saints. With themes of judgment and hypocrisy, forgiveness and unconditional love, Broken & Beautiful deals head-on with struggles in today's world.

sky strife Sky Strife
Jamie Marcelle
This short comedy involves two celestial beings, the sun and the moon. Once the starry night sky transitions into the bright morning, the sun arrives to illuminate his beauty. However, the moon does not want to give up the stage. The sun and moon then battle each other to gain domination of the sky.

wes willson Wooing Wes Willson
Thad Vassmer
Delilah is a colorful and quirky 13 year old girl. When her older sister Sophie declares she's done with her boyfriend Wes Wilson, Delilah is ecstatic, as she has been secretly and not-so-secretly pining for Wes. Summoning up all her pre-womanly wiles, Delilah proceeds to will Wes into falling in love with her.

fancy pants Fancy Pants
Joshua Russell
Leo the Blue Lion, an aging pro wrestler, is loath to discover that he literally has one remaining fan: a fanatical 11--year-old boy. But when Leo discovers a dark secret the boy has been hiding, he will have to face the greatest opponent of his career.

Joshua Russell
A day from hell turns into a trip to hell.
A hysterical roller-coaster ride you won't want to miss!

grandmas Grandma's Peer Pressure
Joy K. Jones
A grandmother tries to hook her conservative granddaughter up with her young attractive next door neighbor. As her attempt fails, the grandmother confronts her granddaughter about her strange ways. As she confronts her, the granddaughter opens up and tells her the true reason why she is the way she is when it comes to dating men.

what about chrissy What About Chrissy
Joy K. Jones
While dropping his daughter off at his ex's house, the child's father confronts the mother about her neglecting ways when it comes to watching their young daughter Chrissy. As the argument deepens, it takes an unexpected turn as the ex-wife reveals the true reason for their unsuccessful marriage.

chicagos castle Chicago’s Only Castle:
The History of Givins’ Irish Castle and Its Keepers

Errol Magidson & Josh Van Tuyl
This feature-length film tells the exciting stories of the five keepers of the Castle, which was built by Robert C. Givins in 1886/1887. The sagas of three dynamic families, one prestigious finishing school for girls, and a ground-breaking church unfold against the backdrop the Great Chicago Fire, the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, the cable-car era, the dawn of the automobile, and the 1933 Century of Progress International Exposition. Footage includes two-thirds of the 1897 historic twelve-second, first film ever made in Chicago (produced by the Thomas A. Edison Company) as well as film or images of early automobiles, two World’s Fairs, parts of Chicago over the past 125 years, and countless surprising items of interest to all who love history.

The main goals of this production have been to uncover and preserve the history of the iconic Castle and its five keepers and to raise money to help preserve and maintain the building.

sethdeming1Things That Hide Away
Seth Deming
A music video shot for The Dear Hunter. The goal of this was get 100 peoples faces to cover a song that talks about the meaning of life and death and not having a clue. As a film maker, I wanted to express my opinion on the question which is in part to love each other. I tried to capture the frailty and beauty found in each of us. The video has done very well promoting the band as well as helping me find my voice as a film maker.

Your Biggest Enemy is Yourself
Seth Deming
A fun branding piece for Title Boxing Club. Shot and directed by Seth Deming.

sethdeming2 Know Rhythm Be Free
Seth Deming
A for-the-love-of-it film we shot with no budget and in one day. This was made to promote a concert series in Elkhart, IN.

Gravel Metric 1,2 & 3
Seth Deming<
Three shorts made three years apart to promote a local road cycle race ridden entirely on gravel. The idea was to capture the voice of the cyclist and compel them to ride. I directed and shot these pieces which were an exploration into the visual effects side of my creativity. For me it was extremely as a compositor to really push the limits of what I thought I was capable of. These are fun, fast, and funny pieces that had caught on, and were featured on numerous website and blogs across the cycling and film making community.

Wired Wired: The DeKalb Documentary
Shela Lahey
Wired, directed and produced by Shela Lahey, is an exciting, humorous, and educational compilation of stories and memories as told by 57 residents of DeKalb representing every decade from 8 to 92 years of age. The documentary features many DeKalb icons including the Lehan family, Tom Inboden, Rosa Balli, Larry and John Finn, Dee Coover, Frank Roberts, Mark Biernacki, Mayor Kris Povlsen, Tim Struthers, Susan Johnson, Angelo and Paula Tsiagalis, Richard Katz and many more! The film relays the powerful history of DeKalb, including NIU (with interviews of John Peters, Dennis Barsema and NIU students), whose citizens' contributions not only impacted our County but affected change world wide, and brings those stories into the present and gives an exciting outlook for the future.
Watch the trailer here

KelleyKorean High School
Kelley Katzenmeyer
In sixty short years, South Korea went from being one of the poorest countries in Asia to having the world's 13th largest economy. Korean students have some of the highest test scores in the world, and a higher rate of acceptance into American Ivy Leagues than any other foreign country. But Korea also leads the world in two not-quite-so-stunning ways-- one of the highest rates of plastic surgery per capita, and a higher suicide rate than any other developed nation.

So, what's life like for a Korean student? In one of the most competitive societies in the world, how does one find their place? What does it take to achieve your aspirations and goals? Our documentary will take a look at the lives of five Korean teenagers on the verge of either reaching- or losing- their dreams. The film will follow the students during the most stressful time of their lives- their last year of high school. After studying for up to sixteen hours each day, their futures boil down to one last exam. On the second Thursday of November, thousands of high school seniors will take a nine hour test that for many, will determine their economic and social status for the rest of their lives.

pencil Pencil
Edward Heffernan
A struggle to complete his essay ensues when a kid breaks his only pencil.

toilet paper Toilet Paper
Edward Heffernan
In this pseudo-sequel to Pencil, a struggle ensues when John realizes that someone forgot to replace the toilet paper roll.

things i don't understand Things I Don't Understand
David Spaltro & Lee Gillentine
Violet Kubelick, a brilliant young grad student studying near-death experiences, now withdrawn and closed-off after a mysterious, failed suicide attempt. She and her two artist-roommates are forced by financial matters to finally step out of the protective bubble they\'ve created for themselves in their Brooklyn loft while Violet herself forms a cathartic relationship with a young, terminally ill girl in a hospice she is interviewing for her thesis and the damaged bartender who lives downstairs. A story of changing, relationships, love, life and what comes after we die.

paper airplane Paper Airplane
Michael McMillan
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” Albert Einstein’s claim comes to life in this short film. In lest than 6 1/2 minutes, the 1960s merge with the present to unveil a future filled with endless possibilities. Based on his best-selling book, "Paper Airplane: A Lesson for Flying Outside the Box," Michael McMillan takes you on a visual journey and explores the Space Race, cultural diversity, paradigm shifting, visionary leadership, commitment, education, creativity… and much more. Can you IMAGINE America's future? This inspiring film will shed new light on your answer.

CrisisThe October Crisis
Ram Goetz & Marc Wilkinson
Two young men question their values of faith and revenge when posed with the opportunity to murder the Catholic priest accused of molesting their kid brother.

Para Mi Para Mi Hermano
Cordelaine Kline
'Para Mi Hermano' follows a man who makes the ultimate sacrifice for his brother. The film contrasts extreme commitment and violence with the mundane activities of everyday life. We watch as the man chooses how to live his life in the face of the consequences of his courageous choice.

Split Split in the Road
Matthew David Painter
"Split in the Road" is a short piece of work created solely from the heart. Ever since my first meeting with a psychiatrist, of which went no where, I knew I had to find another outlet for myself. I utilized the camera and looked back upon my old family footage and found a whole new spectrum to gaze upon...the truth.

Foreign Films

Ultimo Beso En Roma (Last Kiss in Rome)
Anna and Enrico are two young lovers that want to escape together but need to solve their economic problems first. Enrico receives a wealthy offer from a mysterious man but he refuses the offer thinking his friend Paolo will lend him some money. Tragedy appears in a dark Roman night to discover the true meaning of love, friendship and revenge.

La Mirada Perdida (The Missing Looks)
Argentina, 1976. Claudio is forced to live with his family in hiding, due to his political ideals. The house in which they live is discovered by the “militars”. No time to flee, Teresa tries to shelter his daughter in a fantasy world to avoid the girl’s looking at the horror they are about to live.

“The perfection in your hand.” An emerging model for advertisements suffers, all of a sudden, a physical defect that drives him into a process of self destruction and a descent into hell around the obsessions with looks.

Porque Hay Cosas Que Nunca Se Olvidan
(Because There Are Things You Never Forget)

Young boys and an old woman clash in this tale of revenge.