By Ewen Denney via Wikipedia

14-thousand feet over Northern California, the view is spectacular.  The climb up Mount Shasta (14,179 feet) is not for everyone, but it's worth it for the people who make it. 

But, uh... where do they go to the bathroom?  The answer to that question in summer is the subject of a short documentary film in the works, called "Way to Go."

It focuses on the composting toilet at the Sierra Club cabin at Horse Camp.  Its claim to fame is that it is the highest composting toilet in the country.

California's Central Valley is the setting for the movie "Oildale," about veterans coming back from war and finding salvation... and country music. 

So it's only appropriate that the movie should get some screen time in the Central Valley.  A showing on Saturday (October 5th) at the Cascade Theatre in Redding introduces a local crowd to the film and raises money for the local chapter of Veterans Resource Centers of America, which helps out homeless vets.

Just as the days get longer than the nights and it's warm enough to play outside, film fans head indoors in Ashland.  The Ashland Independent Film Festival takes over the Varsity Theatre and a couple of other venues during its five-day run, April 11th to the 15th. 

Dozens of independent films are screened, many several times.  There are too many films to be able to see them all, admits Executive Director Richard Herskowitz. 


And the Oscar goes to... a guy.  Men still get most of the attention in the movie industry behind the camera, but it's not for lack of effort by women. 

They've been cranking out quality work since the beginning of the industry.  Many of today's independent producers tell their own stories in the book Independent Female Filmmakers: A Chronicle through Interviews, Profiles, and Manifestos

Michele Meek collected the independents' writings as the editor of the project. 

Film Shasta

Who needs Hollywood when you've got Redding and environs? 

Film Shasta is set up to encourage filmmakers to shoot their projects in Shasta County.  And it appears to be working... 2017 was a record year for film work in the county, with an estimated $650,000 or more in economic impact on the region. 

Sabrina Jurisich is the Shasta County Film Commissioner. 

Light Dancing Productions

Barri Chase has made many short films and music videos.

She brings years of experience from the fashion, beauty and fine art photography industries, to carefully create and shape each scene.

Her film "Hand of the Earth" won 5 festival awards including: best director, best in category, best editor, best sound design and best visual effects.

Barri’s music video "Weather, Whether" is an example of her directing style and aesthetic talents.

"The Watchman's Canoe" was filmed in the Coos Bay area, where the director spent her childhood.

You only need to say the name "OK Corral" to conjure up an image of a gunfight in the Old West. 

It really happened, but accounts differ. And in the film "Tombstone Rashomon," different perspectives of that famous gun battle are laid out side-by-side. 

Former Ashlander Helms "Captain Fantastic"

Aug 23, 2016
Wilson Webb/Bleecker Street Media

There's no nice way to put it: Matt Ross plays a jerk on TV. 

But the same guy who makes Gavin Belson so mean on HBO's "Silicon Valley" is the writer and director of the warm-hearted film "Captain Fantastic," wowing audiences from Cannes to Ashland. 

Which, by the way, is where Matt Ross went to high school.  Ashland, not Cannes. 

He comes back home for a screening of his film in a benefit event for the Ashland Independent Film Festival (Tuesday, August 23rd). 

"The General" Returns To Oregon Screens

Aug 10, 2016

One of the more spectacular movies of the silent era is largely a product of Oregon. 

"The General," Buster Keaton's film commemorating a famous railroad chase during the Civil War, was shot on a now-abandoned railroad east of Cottage Grove. 

Now the film is coming home, so to speak, on a tour of Oregon with spanking-new score by Portland composer Mark Orton.  "Score" in this sense means performed LIVE while the film plays on the screen.

Voice Acting For Fun And Profit

Jan 21, 2016

Audiences thrill to the animated characters in a pile of recent movies... often without any idea of what the people who provide the voices for the characters look like. 

Sure, plenty of big-time movie stars provide the voices, but there are plenty of people whose bread-and-butter involves acting without a camera. 

Serena Travis is one of these--she lives in Northern California's Scott Valley; fellow voice actor Melissa Disney (distant relation to Walt) is also in the biz. 

Redding's Firereel Film Festival

Apr 21, 2015
Firereel Film Festival

When you're a younger film festival, you start a little smaller. 

So the Firereel Film Festival in Redding shows short films exclusively, May 1st and 2nd. 

But there are 30 of those films to watch, along with filmmaking workshops and other events to attend. 

Has it really been 30 years since Amadeus won 8 Oscars? How time flies. But I always thought Salieri was getting a bad rap. I should've known it had something to do with Pushkin. This story from the BBC has some great Mozart/Salieri nuggets!

Making Movies In The Rogue Valley

Jul 2, 2014

Who needs Hollywood when you have the Rogue Valley?  Not Gary Lundgren. 

The director of "Calvin Marshall" and "Redwood Highway" and his producer/wife Anne Lundgren enjoy making films in Southern Oregon, and they are using Kickstarter to raise the funds for another movie. 

"Black Road" is envisioned as a thriller set in the future, in the "lawless State of Jefferson."