Fall Film Festivals

The day after the fall equinox it’s always appropriate to use alliteration.  Hence, we will be sharing with you the Fall Film Festival screenings we have coming up.

We’re excited to share that over the next month and a half three of our films will play at three different festivals.  If you’re in the area or want a mini-getaway, come support the festivals and all the filmmakers!

265741_10151157734061597_1605710822_o  Family Meeting
  Saturday, Sept 28, 10am
MUFFnewsite3  The Butler Did It
  Saturday, Oct 5, 4:00pm
bigwaterff  Coming Out
  November 8 – 10

And like that, another 48-Hour Film Project has come and gone.  This was our 5th year leading a team, but our 7th year participating.  What a ride it has been.  We are so proud of the team we’ve lead over the last 5 years – the writers, crew, and cast are all amazing!  And this year was no exception.

Our film, Family Meeting, premiered last Wednesday at the Riverview Theater.  One of the best parts of making movies is hearing the audience reaction.  It had a great response – Family Meeting was voted second favorite by the audience.

We were honored, humbled and excited to find out on Monday that our film was selected as one of the top 10 to screen in the Best Of line-up.  Family Meeting was nominated by the judges for Best Cinematography [Jesse Meehl] and Best Screenplay [John Burgess, Tom Reed, Maggie K. Sotos, Logan Martin, Ashley Martin, Tom Sorenson, Justin Schaack, Kristin Schaack].

We have to be honest, we were shocked and disappointed that they did not have a make-up category this year [crazy].  If they had, we have no doubt that our make-up team would have been nominated [Miki Sautbine and Victoria Blumentritt]. Logan’s pubescent acne and Bobby Bulmer’s farmer tan/missing tooth were phenomenal.  Check out a little BTS of Logan getting more puss injected into one of the zits.

Additionally, check out the behind-the-scenes video of our production day filmed and edited by Alexi Diem.

Thanks to everyone that has participated and/or supported Above-the-Line Entertainment in our 48-Hour endeavors.  Truly could not have accomplished the weekends without you.

If you were unable to make the 48HFP screenings this year, don’t fret.  Family Meeting is screening at Cinema and Civics next week!  Wednesday, June 26, Stevens Square Park.

And before moving on, here’s a look back at our 48-Hour Journey.

2009 Walter the Wolverine

Awards: Audience Choice, Best Of Screening, Best Use of Character.

Nominations: Best Film, Best Cinematography, Best Actor [Mike Rylander], Best Use of Prop

2010 Spices Will Fly

2011 Stealing More, Using Les

Awards: Audience Choice, Best Of Screening, Best Costumes, Best Use of Prop

Nominations: Best Film, Best Directing, Best Make-Up [Miki Sautbine]

2012 Coming Out

Awards: Best Film, Best Directing, Best Of Screening, Audience Choice

Nominations: Best Ensemble Cast [Filmapalooza], Best Screenplay, Best Actor [Tom Reed], Best Editing [Steven Gagner], Best Sound Design, Best Original Musical Score [Nathan M. Schilz], Best Costumes, Best Hair + Make-Up [Miki Sautbine, Krystal Ziegelmeier], Best Use of Character

2013 Family Meeting [viewable for a limited time only to our readers]

pw: 48HFP

Awards: 2nd Place Audience Choice, Best Of Screening

Nominations: Best Cinematography, Best Screenplay

48 Hour FIlm PaperworkIt’s Tuesday and we’re still trying to catch up on the sleep we traded this weekend for making a movie.  It was the 48-Hour Film Project and our 5th year leading a team.  We went into the weekend with two goals –  1. have fun and 2. turn a movie in on time – both of which were a success.

So, here’s a little recap of our fun, film-filled weekend.

Friday night, we met at the Crooked Pint to receive our required elements and draw our genre out of a hat.  We  drew ‘Drama.’  Since our goal was to have fun in a short time frame, writing, filming and editing a drama didn’t seem to add up as ‘fun’ but more melancholy, which the weather has been doing a pretty good job at accomplishing on its own [where’s the sun?!?].

It was a pretty quick decision for us to throw it back and draw from the mysterious wild card genres.  Upon going for a wild card genre, we ended up with Found Footage.  A unique ‘genre.’  The 48hfp defines it as “…a genre of filmmaking in which part of a film is presented as discovered film or video recordings…”

The required elements for all the teams were as follows…

Character Bobby or Betty Bulmer, Farmer/Gardener
Prop a lamp
Line “She told me it’s a secret.”

writing sessionOnce we had our genre and required elements, we met up with our fabulous writers back at home base to dive into the brainstorming process.  This part of the weekend is so fun because creativity is just flowing.  It’s a nice reminder that we need to gather as a group more than just once a year.

After three hours of brainstorming we narrowed all our thoughts down to five main ideas, and from there picked our horse and we were off to the outlining stage.  About 1am, we felt good about our outline and then started piecing together the story into a script.

At 4:30am our DP and Art Director/Wardrobe Stylist arrived to discuss shot list and determine the props and wardrobe needed.   With less than 5 hours before call-time, there was a lot to discuss and determine.  By 5:30am the script was complete and our writers went home to get a few hours of sleep before returning to set to play the roles they helped create.

ATL cast and crew9:00am we were on set, unloading equipment and setting up for a long day of production.  But thankfully, our team has amazing energy, great attitudes and were ready to have a fun day making a movie.  We were very lucky to reunite with so many favorite cast and crew and had the opportunity to work with a few new people, as well.  Stellar team!

Martini shot was at 9:30pm and we were loaded up and out of our location by 10:45pm.  We returned to home base with our editor for the last leg of the weekend – post.  We were able to catch a few hours of sleep, while our editor plugged away at the footage.

post-productionAt 5am there was a changing of the guard.  We got up, while our editor got a few hours of shut-eye.  Sunday morning one of our actors stopped by for a VO session, our composer arrived to home base to continue working on the musical compositions he started Saturday afternoon, and we worked with our title designer to create the credits.

At 6:30pm we started our final export and sat and watched the yellow bar move slowly across the screen.  We checked the film, got it on to two jump drives and were out the door by 7:05pm.

the drop-offWe arrived at the drop-off location with 8 minutes to spare!

We had a great time with a great team of people and turned the film in on time – success.

Thank you so much to the entire cast and crew!  You were amazing.

Writers: John Burgess, Tom Reed, Maggie K. Sotos, Logan Martin, Ashley Martin, Tom Sorenson

Cast: Julianne Medcraft, Logan Martin, Maggie K. Sotos, Tom Reed, Shawn Boyd, Tim McVean, Foxy

Director of Photography: Jesse Meehl

Editor: Joe Filipas

Composer: Jesse Richardson

Art Director/Wardrobe Stylist: Erica Wollmering

Make-Up Artists: Miki Sautbine, Victoria Blumentritt

Key Grip: Jonathan Miller

Sound Engineer: Chase Hentges

Boom Operator: Tom Sorenson

Credits/Title Designer: Steve Gagner

Script Supervisor: Ashley Martin

Still Photographer: Scott Traczyk

Behind-the-Scenes Videographer: Alexi Diem

Special Thanks: Ruth Balbach, Adam Ruben, Colin Drummond, Brian + Sue Drummond, Cindy + Steve Schaack, Mike + Jenni Schaack, Paul Hicks, Yellow Tag

Here are a few more behind-the-scenes stills from our photographer Scott Traczyk.

Answer – 309!  In this fun little video, you can watch the slates, actions, cuts, etc for all 309 takes we did to make The Butler Did It.

And, after being on our to-do list for nearly 2 years, we are finally able to cross this off – the behind-the-scenes look at the process and good times had on the set.  It was definitely fun to walk down memory lane putting this together.

*SPOILER ALERT – this video contains scenes from the ending of this movie.  If you haven’t seen The Butler Did It and would like to before any spoilers, click HERE, otherwise…Enjoy.

We think it’s safe to say we have a slight addiction to filmmaking.  We are officially registered for the 48-Hour Film Project again this year.  The sleepless-creativity-filled weekend takes place May 31-June 2.

Our team is almost fully assembled, we’re getting ready to put some locations on hold, and then we wait.

Friday May 31 – the adventure begins!


After a cold day of dancing in 5 inches of fresh snow, and hours of editing, the promo video for the OUT Twin Cities Film Festival is complete and ready to promote!

Thanks to the entire cast + crew for dedicating your time and talents to this project.

Don’t forget to check out the OUT Festival Schedule.

So, show your pride, we will see you inside.  And please, enjoy the show!!!


Starring: Maggie K. Sotos

Brides: Jennifer Prettyman and Rachel Christine

Grooms: Landyn Banx and David Wasylik

Grandpa and Granddaughter: Michael R. Morningstar and Jocelyn Morningstar

Friends and Families: Alison Graversen, Paul Graversen, Libby Burkitt and Irina Kennedy

Directed and Produced by: Kristin Schaack and Justin Schaack

Concept by: Kristin Schaack + Justin Schaack

Lyrics by: Maggie K. Sotos

Music by: Joseph Ye

Director of Photography: Jesse Meehl

Edited by: Justin Schaack

Make-Up by: Miki Sautbine

Logo Animation by: Steven Gagner

Special Thanks: Chris Durant, Donovan Harmel, Cindy’s Floral Creations, Deborah Fiscus, Marissa R. Schon

Maggie's April SnowballsWhen we scheduled our shoot day for April 20th [four weeks ago], we never thought there would be 5 inches of fresh snow and record low temperatures.  If we had, I can assure you, our concept would have taken place inside!

However, despite the snow and unreasonably below average April temps, the sun was shining and so were our talent and crew for our production on Saturday.  We spent the day with a fabulous group of people in front of St. Anthony Main Theater filming for the OUT Twin Cities Film Festival promo.

We’ll be diving into the edit this week and will post the final video soon!

Colorful Dancing