Event to feature cast, crew
By Angie Landsverk
A preview screening of “Heroes Rising: A New Hope” will take place on Saturday, Jan. 28, in Weyauwega’s Gerold Opera House.
The doors of the opera house will open at 5 p.m., and the screening will begin at 6:30 p.m.
The cast and crew will be in attendance.
The event will include a pasta dinner.
The $5 admission cost includes the dinner.
People may make reservations by calling 920-867-4888.
Tickets will also be available at the door.
Admission will be for free for anyone involved in the making of the film.
“This is a preliminary screening. It’s to get the ball rolling and give people the opportunity to see it,” said Kathy Fehl, who wrote the story and is the artistic director of the nonprofit Wega Arts.
Ian Teal, executive director of Wega Arts, directed and edited the film.
Wega Arts worked on the project with Jesse Heffernan, a certified recovery coach who has at least 15 years in long-term recovery from substance abuse.
In early 2016, Heffernan facilitated several meetings in Waupaca as people in the community worked to address issues related to heroin.
After one of those sessions, he was put in touch with Fehl, who wanted to do a film project about heroin and youth.
“It’s a combination of doing a story and addressing a civic crisis that makes the film unusual. It’s not a presentation of the grim results of the addiction. It’s preventive,” Fehl said.
The film is a story about a group of teenagers who moprh into superheroes and take on the opiod and heroin epidemic.
It is the result of a summer workshop for students.
During the workshop, students worked with professional filmmakers and equipment at various locations in Weyauwega, including the opera house, Crossroads Care Center, Dr. Fred Raschke’s office and on the high school football field.
Approximately 15 high school and college students were involved in the workshop. Most were from Weyauwega-Fremont and Waupaca.
The students in the workshop also starred in the film.
“We put together the workshop to teach kids narrative filmmaking,” Fehl said. “Unlike documentaries, everything is planned. Every frame is story boarded.”
The workshop involved professionals, including Adam Gunderscheimer, who made the trip here from New York.
“He was great with the kids and insisted that they learn how to build the camera and learn hands on,” Fehl said.
Also involved were Will Keizer, Todd Mallasch and Jeff Robinson.
Fehl said Mallasch, of Waupaca, helped with everything, particularly the lighting.
Robinson, of Waupaca, did the drone footage. “It was terrific,” Fehl said.
Keizer, of the Fox Cities, helped with sound.
The project also involved working with Police Chief Gerald Poltrock and Officer Stephanie Butzer, who both appear in the film.
“Preproduction started in June. We met with the kids a few times,” Fehl said. “Then we had a whole week to go over the story boards and do improvisational exercises. On Friday (of that week), the camera came. Then we had five solid days of shooting. We worked very hard and got everything done.”
The film is about 20 minutes in length, and the project received support from the Wisconsin Arts Board, Appleton’s United Way, Stop Heroin Now, Tim Dietzen and Kathi Seifert of Catapult Inc., in Neenah.
It also received grants from the Waupaca Area Community Foundation and the Waupaca Breakfast Rotary Club.
Featured in the film are William Severin Thompson, of Swing Time Big Band and owner of Wega Motors, and singer/songwriter Steve March-Tormé.
“We’re still raising money to completely cover the costs, and we’re looking forward to the outreach section, which will begin this spring,” Fehl said.
“Heroes Rising: A New Hope” will be used as a tool to create a dialogue about the heroin epidemic in Waupaca and Outagamie counties.
It will include a curriculum, and they plan to contact middle schools and high schools to show the film and present the information.
“We’re hoping the superhero theme will catch on and increase the communication,” Fehl said. “We want to make it something you talk about. We feel strongly that kids should be encouraged to solve this problem and any other problem. An active leader – that is what we want each kid to be.”