Updated: 18 MO and KS Connected Films at 2017 Sundance and Slamdance

People travel from every corner of the globe to be among the first to see what the festival’s curators have determined are the best independent narrative and documentary films, selected from nearly 11,000 submissions.    – Pat Mitchell, Producer

Each year the KC Film and Missouri Film Offices go to Sundance Film Festival to network, host a party and support Missouri and KC connected films that screen at Sundance or Slamdance. In 2017, there are at least 16 films that are MO and KS connected. If you are going to Park City this year, consider adding these films to your ticket wish-list. And if not, it’s great to know that we have Midwest ties at one of the biggest and most prestigious festivals of the year.


#1  BRAD CUTS LOOSE | Writer/Director: Christopher Good

Summary: Brad, an uptight office drone, seemingly discovers the perfect vehicle for letting off steam when an advertisement for a business catering to his innermost desires pops up one morning on his computer. Brad’s subsequent visit to the business and encounter with its receptionist Janine, however, don’t quite go as planned. (via IMDB)

Connection: Writer/Director Christopher Good, Producer Andreina Byrne, Cinematographer Jeremy Osbern and Sound Mixer Danny Bowersox are from the Greater Kansas City area. Their work is can be seen in film, music videos, commercials and webseries. This is the third year that Jeremy Osbern will have a film at the Slamdance.

BRAD CUTS LOOSE is in Shorts Block 3 at Slamdance Film Festival, January 20-26 in Park City, Utah.


#2  COLOSSAL Writer/Director: Nacho Vigalondo

Summary: Gloria (Anne Hathaway) is a hard partying New York scene girl who is thrust into crisis when her boyfriend, Tim (Dan Stevens), grows sick of her antics and kicks her out of their apartment. With no other options, she moves back to her hometown and quickly regresses, drinking every night until last call and accepting a job at a bar owned by her childhood friend Oscar (Jason Sudeikis). One day she wakes up and blurrily finds out that Seoul was terrorized by a giant creature the night before. Eventually, Gloria begins to suspect her own drunken actions are bizarrely connected to the monster rampaging in South Korea. (via Sundance.org) Continue reading

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December Spotlight – SongHue

Music licensing for film is a relatively new way for the everyday musician to monetize their music in a substantial way. Though it has taken off on the coasts, we couldn’t find anyone in the Midwest who was curating an online catalog of tracks for filmmakers to license.

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Mark Buergler

We first became aware of Mark Buerlger when he participated in the bi-city film competition between Kansas City and Chattanooga, Capture Filmmaking Contest. Mark was one of the composers selected to be paired with an editor. This team of two would create an original short film using footage uploaded by the public in both cities. It was a strong pairing. Together, editor Kyle Hamrick and composer Mark Buergler won the Best of Show award, the highest honor in the contest. As they say, good attracts good, and on the heels of his win Mark met Todd Davidson of Fountain City Studios and a new venture was born – SongHue. We are visiting with the team at SongHue to learn more about music licensing and their growing roster of Midwest artists.


KCFO:  What gave you the idea for a music licensing company for motion pictures/video/media production?

MARK: SongHue started through a film + music collaboration between myself and Fountain City Studios. I graduated out of UMKC in 2015, and was able to support myself making license-able music for film right off the bat! Though I was stoked that a career in music was an option for me, I was also seriously bummed that I was doing it all by myself. This is when I partnered with Todd Davidson at Fountain City Studios to compose music for film in-house.

To simply have a crew to bounce ideas off of and collaborate with was huge to me. Coming from a background of being in bands, and having a close crew of friends in college, I didn’t want to do everything on my own. Sitting in my studio apartment creating music for hours on end was really fun, but it was also incredibly lonely! On top of that, I couldn’t find anyone else who was doing what I do in KC.sh28

After working together on several film projects, Continue reading

January Spotlight: Melissa Willis – Producer/Production Manager

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I had the pleasure of working with Melissa Willis at Take Two (now HINT) several years ago. She was the kind of producer who respected the Production and everyone’s roles in it. She seemed to always stay late, she was amazingly organized, and meticulous about her production books. One of the truly great things about her is her willingness to teach young associate producers and production assistants who were interested in how to run a commercial production. Melissa is what I call a “crackerjack.” She knows her stuff and accepts nothing but the best from those she works with. Melissa is now the Senior Producer at Northpass Media in Kansas City.


KCFMO: How long have you been in the production industry and how did you start?

Melissa: I started about 22 years ago. There are many moments which shapedmy first 2 years. I answered an ad in a local paper, the Pitch, I think. The ad was asking for people to participate in a documentary. We met at the Westport Library. At that meeting I met Kirby Cobb the director and creator of the project. We met every Wednesday night. From those meetings the Independent Filmmakers Coalition (IFC) was born.

Via the IFC I met Patti Watkins the Film Commissioner of Kansas City. I interned for her during Ang Lee’s feature “Ride with the Devil” and during Frank Pierson’s HBO movie “Truman” when they were scouting Kansas City. Patti recommended me for Production Secretary on “Truman”.  I’m forever grateful to her for that opportunity. My script cabinet was Emmy worthy!

Continue reading