Two special film events take place in Wichita this weekend. Here's a look:
What: Locally-made film presented by the Wichita State School of Performing Arts/Theatre
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 13, and Saturday, April 14
Where: Welsbacher Theatre on the WSU campus
Tickets: $15 general admission, $12 for military/seniors/WSU faculty or staff, $10 for student/child, free for WSU students with ID
More information: Call the WSU Fine Arts box office at 316-978-3233 or go to www.wichita.edu/fineartsboxoffice
The production: Wichita State University theatre students and faculty members produced the feature-length film as part of the WSU theatre season this year. The movie is written and directed by Bret Jones., program director of theatre at WSU.
The story: The comedy explores the premise that the world’s superheroes have gone underground and left their inept sidekicks to defend the world from evil.
The script: Jones based the film's script on other scripts written for an audio series produced by Stagestruck Audio Theatre, also a production of WSU's theatre department. "The audio show ran for 15 episodes," Jones said, "and it just seemed like a natural transfer from audio theater to a film as the storylines are very visual and filled with farcical comedy."
Teaching film: Although Jones' background and focus is in theater, in recent years he has turned his attention to film as another medium for his students to study. He has written and directed the 16-episode web series "The Opposite of People," as well as the locally-made films "Redux" and last year’s "Dramedy," all starring WSU students and faculty in small roles. He will next write and direct "A Long Story Short" as WSU's film project for the fall.
“There is a big difference in acting on stage and in front of a camera,” Jones said. “I wanted to explore film as a possibility for students. The 21st-century actor is one who performs in a multitude of mediums: film, television, commercials, theatre, voice overs and the Internet."
Credits: The cast includes Haylee Couey, Mia Nave, Andrew Horning, TJ Wade, Carlton Ryker, Jeremy Buoy, Trevor Brauser, and Maziar Monfared. Co-directors of photography were Austin Steffens and Robert Thomas. Production sound mixer was Sydney Jordan.
View a trailer: https://youtu.be/Ov1gyFRNmO8
'The Outhouse: The Film (1985-1997)'
What: Documentary about a legendary punk venue known as the Outhouse, located on the outskirts of Lawrence during the late 1980s and 1990s.
When: 7 p.m. Saturday, April 14, doors open at 6
Where: Orpheum Theatre, 200 N. Broadway
The production: Made with the help of Kickstarter funds by ex-University of Kansas film student Brad Norman, who was once a regular patron of the Outhouse during its later years.
The story: Who knew punk rock history would be made in the middle of a cornfield in Kansas? In its heyday (from 1985 to 1997), the Outhouse would be the spot where college kids and hardcore fans would go to see such iconic bands as Fugazi, the Melvins, the Rollins Band, Gwar, White Zombie, Sonic Youth, Green Day, Helmet, Nirvana and more, who played to a raucous scene of misfits and anarchists on the margins of youth culture. The Outhouse gained a reputation as a haven for the bands other venues were afraid of, and the kids who loved them.
Making the film: Norman spent five years tracking down amateur footage, grainy photos and show flyers, and uses interviews with fans, promoters and Lawrence locals to tell the Outhouse's story. He also includes interviews with such musicians as Ice T, Henry Rollins, Fugazi’s Ian MacKaye and Gwar frontman Dave Brockie.
"It’s been 30 years, but when you ask people about The Outhouse, they can remember it clearly," Norman says on the film's website. "It was amazing."
A reflection of the times: In 1985, Middle America was struggling, clawing its way out of a recession, anxious about the Cold War, says Norman.
"It was a scary time," he said.
To a lot of troubled kids, the music of the day — Madonna, Wham!, Foreigner, Tears for Fears — had nothing to do with them, he said. Punk music was political, angry, anti-authoritarian and brutally honest. It felt the way they felt.
"I couldn’t relate to ‘My Maserati does 185,' " Norman says. "But I could relate to 'I’m wasted' and 'I don’t care about you.' " The punk culture was welcoming to kids who felt like outcasts.
View a trailer: www.theouthousethefilm.com