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Home 2018-09-28T20:08:09+00:00

About Us.

YellowHouse Films was founded in 2009 by filmmaking and life partners, Vince O’Connell and Kathy Swanson.

Since then, YellowHouse has produced over twenty short films. The films have had some success on the festival circuit but have mostly entertained and educated audiences in rural community art houses, libraries, village parks and town halls of Washington state, British Columbia, Ohio, Vermont and Massachusetts, exposing indie film to people that didn’t know it existed.

The yellow house behind YellowHouse.

Vince and Kathy bought the 200 year old house partly because everyone else wanted it but mostly because it sat fifty feet from the groomed cross-country ski trail on which they’d met years before. It was what most people call a ‘tear down’ but, as with their films, they found energy they didn’t know they had to make the project all it could be.

Vince O’Connell. Born in Rio de Janeiro and raised in a lot of other places, Noel O’Connell, aka Vince to the few friends he still has, became obsessed with the storytelling possibilities of film 7 years ago. After selling a successful business he and his business partner and wife, Kathy Swanson, attended a one-year film production program at Selkirk College in Nelson, BC where their filmmaking passion was fanned. With several shorts under his belt Vince now just wants to know how to convey “deadpan” on film.

Kathy Swanson Born on a dairy farm in Minnesota and surrounded by a huge extended family as a child.  Despite leaving the farm after college, Kathy’s spirit and outlook have never strayed far from her prairie roots. A writer with a voice directed by intuition rather than intellectual intention, Kathy obsesses about creating compelling character-driven narratives that convey deceptively simple and intimate stories, often with a strong female protagonist.

YellowHouse is a lot of things.

It’s a production company dedicated to producing thought provoking, character-driven narratives and documentaries, of varied genres, that are always engaging and at least a little funny.

It’s a classroom providing youth workshops in select rural communities at no cost.

It’s a website where Kathy and Vince can store more than anyone would probably want to know about their past, present and future projects.

And it’s the name their tiny community has endearingly attached to their sunny Vermont farmhouse.

Our Projects.

 Over the years we’ve written, directed, produced, catered, shot, argued about, and lost sleep over all of our films. From that first experiment with a camcorder to our latest ambitious feature film project.  Sign up on our email list to receive updates including links to our short films every now and then.

FOLLOW THE PROGRESS OF OUR FEATURE FILM, FARMER OF THE YEAR

Good Life (in progress)

Documentary. 18:23

The kids are grown, the flowers are plastic and haircuts are eight dollars.

For three years Kathy followed her Dad, Howard, an eighty year old Minnesota farmer, around with a camera in his concrete winter surroundings at Good Life RV Park in Mesa Arizona. It’s here he spends his winter’s along with a thousand other northern seniors having the time of their life, playing poker for dimes, dancing in the afternoon and wearing shorts in December.

A documentary by Kathy Swanson. Shot in Mesa Arizona.

Summertime

Comedy. 7:04

‘Summertime’ tells the story of how three young lemonade stand entrepreneurs stumble upon what it takes to run a successful business despite the accidental best efforts of older ruffians.

Created as the teaching tool and final product of a summer youth film camp (ages 6-13) in Metaline Falls, Washington. A script was written and adapted to the class then shot under the direction of Vince O’Connell and Kathy Swanson. Each student acted and observed the technical, behind the scenes aspects of film making.

Gideon Blood, PI

Comedy, drama, fantasy. 12:45

What do you do when you think your girlfriend is cheating on you? Hire your favorite imaginary private detective of course.

A short film by Vince O’Connell starring Russ Crowley and Kaiden Scott. Shot in Athens, Ohio.

Dog Heaven

Documentary. 13:27

Does running a dogsledding business sound exciting and romantic? Think again. Or maybe not. Jim Blair has 32 sled dogs for a family. And an unruly family it is. Like any small business it’s lots of work, long hours and “why am I doing this”? In the end, Jim loves his dogs, his customers and, though he might deny it, his employees.

A documentary by Vince O’Connell. Shot in Eden, Vermont.

Reservation For Hinkle

Comedy, drama 13:35

All she wanted was a room.

A short film by Kathy Swanson starring Tom Olson and Nancy Gasper. Shot in Metaline Falls, Washington.

The Journey of Maggie Monroe

Dark-ish comedy, drama, road-trip, fantasy. 16:12

A goofy, spunky, easily distracted bridesmaid takes a road trip to deliver an heirloom wedding ring to her overbearing brother’s wedding and doesn’t allow quite enough time.

A short film by Kathy Swanson starring Lisa Bol, James Euto, Kristina Kopf, Emilio Tirri, Abe Adams. Shot in Athens, Ohio.

Staying On Track

Documentary. 6:09

A rural county in northeast Washington takes over a short line railroad company to try and save some of the few remaining businesses. They encounter many obstacles, adapt and continue to struggle with an evolving economy.

Vince’s first video. This was the first semester project for the one year intensive film program at Selkirk College in Nelson, BC.

I Love Bagels

fantasy. 4:28

A man in search of the perfect breakfast.

 A short film by Kathy Swanson starring Vince O’Connell. Shot in Athens, Ohio.

Sleepyhead

Comedy 2:43

Short exercise with a fun premise by Kathy and Vince to demonstrate ability to acquire “clean” and accurate sound. No post processing.

Being Billy

Dark comedy, drama 15:09

Billy doesn’t speak, is hounded by bullies and wants a dog. His mother doesn’t so Billy has to get creative.

A short film by Vince O’Connell starring Xav Miller. Craftsbury Common, Vermont.

Hundred Mile Diet

Dark comedy, drama 14:38

What happens when someone interprets a benign idea too conveniently and literally?

A short film by Vince O’Connell starring Martin DeGues and Christopher Colt. Shot in Craftsbury Common, Vermont.

This is the first use of a drone for one of our films.

Gas Money

Comedy, drama 5:11

If he lost his wallet…well, that’s his problem.

A short film by Vince O’Connell. Shot on black and white reversal film without sound on a vintage 1957 ARRI S, it was an exercise in maintaining good exposure. Starring Heidi Wilhelm and Tess Wilhelm. Shot in Athens, Ohio.

Milk Run

Dark comedy, action, drama 5:30

It started out as a trip to the grocery store.

A short film by Vince O’Connell starring Jake Washburn. Shot in Athens, Ohio.

You’re Not Cindy

Comedy, drama 22:23

Brian brings Kathy home for Christmas to meet his family. They are expecting his girlfriend of 6 years that they like a lot. She thinks he told them.

A film by Kathy Swanson and Vince O’Connell. This is what happens when your first film has a cast of sixteen with kids and animals. Shot in Colville, Washington and Ymir, British Columbia.

Blog.

Blizzards, Farmers and Free Roast Beef

Bev (her name in the film and in real life) came down from Minneapolis for the scene. Her granddaughter (middle) and daughter (right) joined her as extras. A three generation adventure!

I wanted to share a couple of short, sort of recent film related adventures.

The Sedona Festival director called to invite us to their festival (yep-an old fashioned phone call) while we were in the car driving from Vermont to Minnesota in a blizzard to shoot another scene. (who does that?) Even though our film was complete (pretty much…) we wanted a stronger ending so we pulled everything together one more time.

Six of our actors and our ‘regular’ sound person came down from Minneapolis. We found and rented an Alexa camera and Optica Elite S35 lenses (Zero Dark Thirty, Robin Hood) from an interesting guy with a magic company in Sioux Falls who uses the equipment to shoot magic videos. Also from Sioux Falls, we were lucky enough to find a wonderful hair and makeup person. Rob our DP flew in from New York.

40 extras. We needed farmers. I figured recruiting farmer extras in the winter would be easy since they would all be at home doing nothing, but no…turns out, we were competing with the local lumberyard who was having their annual FREE customer appreciation beef commercial dinner (in Minnesota the noon meal is dinner) followed by ‘must be present to win’ door prizes.

Farmer of the YearThe gangs all here.

Food. I was freaking out about meals until I remembered I could do the cooking. (dah) My cousin Susi came up from Iowa to help. A few people asked where the meat was but that was the closest thing we got to a complaint. It was actually really good food if I do say so myself 🙂

We shot at one of the Lutheran churches in town. We borrowed plates and silverware from one of the other Lutheran churches in town. We got a 30 cup coffee pot and mismatched coffee mugs (that we labeled with masking tape and people’s names for the day) from Carol, the once Tyler High School home ec teacher that married the once Tyler High School math teacher. We composted (or would have if there had been scraps to compost). Good green indie film making at is finest as usual.

Mind you, this is all for a 46 second spot in the film. Satisfying with a bit of a twist. Was it worth it? YES! YES! YES! And you’ll have to see the movie to see why!

March 20th, 2018|

(almost) WINNING THE POPULAR VOTE

A bunch of people WE DON’T KNOW filing in to see our film in Sedona.

We just premiered at the Sedona International Film Festival.

We didn’t win the ‘Audience Choice Award’..but we were RUNNER-UP! “A fraction of a percent” (festival director quote) behind the Dutch film, Adios Amigos but ahead of The Insult, an Oscar nominee. Crap. Vince is kicking himself now for giving Adios Amigos a ‘5’ vote. I’m (Kathy) kicking him too, but I guess that means that we won the ‘US Film Audience Choice Award’…or would have if that had been a category 🙂 I nearly choked when I heard our name called! I knew I loved our film, but was surprised that everyone else did too. Vince, of course, figured we’d win.

We’re used to being judged with a stop watch and are still getting used to a world where the judging is subjective. Obviously Sedona was a good audience for the film (one Q and A lasted over half an hour and no one left!) and we may never show the film to an audience as receptive again. But it doesn’t matter because having this much fun at least once is good.

The film screened twice and both screenings were sold out. We’re wondering if we should just bag the rest of the festival circuit so we can end on a high note!

We’re just starting our festival year and we’ve been accepted to a couple of other festivals but have to keep them a secret until they announce their line-ups.

‘Hap and Ashley’ had always been the working-title. Sometime last fall we changed it to ‘Farmer Of The Year’. We half-planned to change it again but didn’t get around to it and now I don’t think we should.

We’ll be posting screening opportunities (or try to) when (and if) there are more, so keep checking back for a screening in the theater near you!

More later but now I’ll shut up so you can watch our trailer…
https://vimeo.com/257288956/e6ad6b0e5c

PS I wish I had better pictures…but I don’t.

March 8th, 2018|

Now Hear This!

Another film-associated trip to Minnesota.  Minneapolis this time.

Bad sound can bump a viewer out of a film much more easily than bad picture and why we just spent 3 days in Minneapolis working with an audio engineer. Another thing we’ve never before done!

In the last post I told you about sending off the whole film on that little tiny drive to the audio engineer. Having received it, he and his group of sound editors spent a month* doing their stuff. Stuff like, reducing or eliminating noise that shouldn’t be there, laying in ambience**, recording and/or placing foley***, smoothing out rough dialogue, blending in voice-over (VO) and the list goes on…

Then, it was our turn.

He buzzed us in from the landing at the top of the stairs and before we knew it, we were watching our film on a 13′ foot screen in a Dolby-certified dub stage and taking notes. Then coffee, followed by going through the film frame by frame, addressing the notes. After that, we watched the film again. More notes. Then we addressed those notes. Then, watched it again. Took a 4 hour break and watched it, again. 3 long days, seven screenings and amazingly enough, we still enjoy watching it.

*during that month, we worked on the score (60 music cues) with our composer, a music licensing company and some voice-over artists. Again…all things we’ve never done.

**also known as ‘atmosphere’. Unique and subtle sound found in the location’s environment. Sounds like,
wind, rain, running water, subtle radio and TV, thunder, rustling leaves, distant traffic, barking dogs, an air conditioner, a lawn mower…

***reproduction of everyday sound effects to create a sense of reality within the film. Generally unnoticed by the audience. Often recorded specifically for a scene in post-production. Swishing of clothing, footsteps, squeaky doors, creaky stairs, breaking glass….

Even though we have plenty of work left to do, the film was done enough after those 3 days for us to feel OK about submitting to our first festival.

FYI. With credits the film is just under 1:44.

September 28th, 2017|

Breaktime

An ocean break during a mountain bike ride.

 

A collarbone break after a mountain bike ride. (not pictured: 3 broken ribs and a broken finger).

 

Isn’t there some saying about how most accidents happen within 50 feet of the house?  Riding up to the house at the end of a mountain bike ride, a piece of the driveway sloughed off under my (Kathy’s) tire resulting in the broken collarbone et al.  So much for being that amazing First Assistant Camera I’d hoped to be for our pickups.  But, even with handing off my first AC duties to Vince* we got all of our shots.  More on that in my next post.

From the Cape, we’d zipped off to Vermont for an overnight to pick up the trailer, more equipment and props.  We’d scheduled our Vermont arrival time to be able to fit in a bike ride…but not a trip to the emergency room.  The best laid plans…. Then, we drove to Athens (another overnight), where we picked up the Red Scarlet (camera) and Zeiss prime lenses graciously loaned to us from the Ohio University MFA Film department.

We don’t physically edit during road trips (wouldn’t that be interesting?) instead, we have one long film meeting.  I have a big thick 3-ring binder divided into categories (titles, ADR**, voiceover, pickups, music queues, special effects…) and an agenda.  We start with roll-call and when everyone (both) is present, we start.  Sometimes it takes a while for both of us to be present even though we’re both sitting there .

And when we are understandably tired of talking about the film (after 3 years, that happens) we have a deck of well used Trivial Pursuit cards for fun.

*kidding…Vince was always going to be our first AC

**automated dialogue replacement (ADR): re-recording dialogue (with original actor) after the original film shoot to reflect dialogue changes or improve audio quality.
ADR may add new character or interpretation to a shot. Just by altering a few key words or phrases an actor can change the emotional direction of a scene.  Also known as looping.

Looking from our editing bay out onto Cape Cod Bay.  A pretty inspirational setting.  Lucky us.

 

Film status report: A month of Cape Cod sun and salt air saw our film briefly dipping into the 1:41s before creeping back up to the high 1:42s.

July 21st, 2017|

The Difference Between A Pickup And A Pickup

One kind of pickup.

For the record, our film is hovering around 1 hour 44 minutes.

We just moved our portable editing suite (which isn’t really all the portable) from the yellow house in Athens, Ohio to a weathered cedar (not yellow) house on Cape Cod to see what effect a little sun and salt air has on the ol’ 1-44.  Our next stop will be back on location in southwest Minnesota … spreading out across South Dakota and maybe a little Wyoming… for pickups*.  Thankfully we won’t have to re-shoot any of the scenes with our actors but nonetheless, each pickup shot has to be planned and scheduled.  One example of a ‘pickup’ on our list is a boom shot of a tractor pulling a manure spreader into town, past the town line sign.  Why isn’t anything ever easy!?

We shot this on location somewhere around Tyler last summer and for our pickups, we have to wait until the countryside looks like this so the shots we get this year will match the shots we got last year. 

*in filmmaking, a pickup is a shot filmed after principle photography has ended.   It enhances the narrative and may be used for a transition, to fill in gaps, smooth or join cuts.  The need for a pickup often becomes obvious during the editing process.

p.s. Kathy’s Dad Howard (Barry’s stunt double) says he gets asked all the time when the film will be ‘out’ in fact the other morning at coffee he heard it was already out.

 

June 4th, 2017|

Lock Down


The film is down to 1 hour 48 minutes. That’s 12 minutes (a lot of frames (17,280) shorter than last time we talked) and we still have all the scenes except the one casualty from last month. In 3 to 4 weeks we should be able to lock the picture (‘picture lock’ in film speak).* This doesn’t mean the editor would have to break something to get in to a make a change but at that point changes would be time consuming and expensive. For instance, the film score (composed after ‘picture lock’) is written to coincide to specific movement and emotions of the film…something you don’t want to mess with once it’s done.

*’Picture lock’ is a stage during the film edit. It occurs after which all revisions that change time or selected shots are done. ‘Picture lock’ is essential so sound, visual effects and color editing can be proceed without having to be redone.

May 1st, 2017|

News & Events.

FORMER METALINE FALLS RESIDENTS SCREEN NEW FILM ‘FARMER OF THE YEAR’ AT CUTTER THEATRE

– September 28th, 2018, by Spokesman-Review

Filmmakers Kathy Swanson and Vince O’Connell call their film “Farmer of the Year” a “coming of aging adventure.”

After selling his farm, widowed 83-year-old veteran Hap Anderson (Barry Corbin) is looking for some excitement.

And at first, a trip to a 65th World War II reunion seems to be just what he’s after.

But he can’t show up to the reunion without a date, “like some kind of loser,” so he, joined by his unemployed granddaughter Ashley (Mackinlee Waddell), decides to drive from Minnesota to California in his 1973 Winnebago, planning to pick up a former flame on the way.

Despite their impending deadline to make the reunion, Anderson and, reluctantly, Ashley throw their agenda to the wayside to stop at a handful of oddball tourist attractions, like the Corn Palace in South Dakota (“Corn I help you?” an employee asks Anderson).

During the trip, and with the help of a few eccentric characters, Anderson realizes he doesn’t have to be defined by his age.

The film will have its Pacific Northwest premiere Saturday at the Cutter Theatre in Metaline Falls, where Swanson and O’Connell once lived.

“Farmer of the Year” is Swanson and O’Connell’s first feature film, though the pair has made several shorts through their Yellow House Films since attending a yearlong film program in Nelson, British Columbia, in 2009.

It was during this time that the pair split their time between Nelson and Metaline Falls.

“We had always liked film. It wasn’t like we were born with a camera in our hands,” Swanson said. “If there was an indie filmmaker showing a film within 100 miles and there was going to be a Q&A, we would always go because they were really interesting.”

The story of Anderson and Ashley was personal for both Swanson and O’Connell.

A few years ago, O’Connell’s uncle lost his wife of 60 years. Around the same time, that uncle’s grandson graduated from college and was a little confused as to his next step.

“They moved in together and supported each other as buddies and helped each other get through that tough time,” Swanson said. “We were visiting, and I could see all that. It was such a wonderful situation, the two generations supporting each other like that.”

When creating the character of Anderson, Swanson also took characteristics from her father.

“People will ask ‘How did you nail aging so well?’ ” she said. “ ‘I have a bigger than life example right in front of me.’ ”

The pair shot “Farmer of the Year” in Minnesota and South Dakota in 28 days during the summer of 2016, following five months of pre-production work that found the pair staying with Swanson’s father in Tyler, Minnesota, where she grew up.

Swanson grew up on the farm that doubled as Anderson’s farm (her brother still works the land), and the pair used Swanson’s father’s home as Anderson’s home.

The pair filmed a new opening sequence during the summer of 2017, and filmed a new ending in January.

“It was blowing snow, but we made it look like summer,” O’Connell said.

“Farmer of the Year” star Corbin is best known for roles in “Northern Exposure,” “WarGames” and “One Tree Hill.”

The pair believes Corbin was interested in the role of Anderson because it was unlike the military or law enforcement characters he typically portrays.

“He’s a real pro,” O’Connell said. “We had a limited amount of time, and we had 37 locations, so the fact that he could nail it in one or two takes really helped.”

The pair estimates they had about about 60 actors and 25 crew members, a majority of whom came from the graduate film program at Ohio University they attended after their time in Nelson.

“It was a huge undertaking but there was a huge amount of community involvement,” O’Connell said.

For instance, the town’s electrician, who Swanson attended school with, let the crew use their boom truck for overhead shots, and the mailman in the film was played by the town’s mailman.

Swanson estimates about 18 members of her extended family appear somewhere in the film.

“What’s interesting is the film has that small town, local soul, but it has Hollywood production values so it’s a really nice combination, I think, of homegrown and Hollywood,” she said. “Audiences really are enjoying it.”

Some audience members, O’Connell said, think the film is a documentary because the acting and story seem so natural.

Critics are clearly enjoying it too, as the film has garnered a number of awards and nominations from several film festivals, including the Lady Filmmakers Film Festival in Beverly Hills, the Woods Hole Film Festival in Massachusetts and the Breckenridge Film Festival in Colorado.

Swanson and O’Connell are happy to see that no matter where they screen “Farmer of the Year,” audiences have taken to the film’s Midwestern sensibility.

They’ve been approached by a few distributors but are waiting to find the right fit. In the meantime, they’re screening the film theatrically, hoping to make it to as many screens as they can.

“We want as many people to see it as possible and we really believe in the project so it’s not that hard to sell,” Swanson said.

FILM FEATURES “SLEEPY EYE” AS ITS HOMETOWN NAME

– April 11th, 2018, by Sleepy Eye Online

The directors of the Film “Farmer of the Year” liked the name “Sleepy Eye” so much they used it as the fictional hometown name for the character in their movie.

Kathy Swanson, originally from Tyler, MN and Vince O’Connell wrote, directed and produced the feature film.  Although none of the footage was filmed in Sleepy Eye, the name seemed to fit the story.

“I’ve always loved that name and it’s pretty specific to Minnesota,” said Kathy. “If you do an internet search on ‘Sleepy Eye’ you get the Minnesota ‘Sleepy Eye’ on Hwy 14. The name is charming, memorable, interesting and right down the road (from Tyler where many of the scenes were shot).”

“We are screening the film in Minneapolis at St Anthony Main Theater as part of the Minneapolis St Paul International Film Festival April 13, April 24 and in Rochester April 27,” continued Kathy. “Yes, SLEEPY EYE (in name only) on the big screen.”

The film performed well at the Sedona International Film Festival held in Arizona earlier this year.

DESCRIPTON

When Hap Anderson, a widowed 83-year-old Minnesota farmer that thinks he’s still quite the ladies’ man, sells his family farm, he finds himself adrift and staring a short future in the face. Driven by the possibility of showing up with an old flame and impressing his old army buddies, he sets out to attend his 65th WWII reunion in California with his directionless and unreasonably self-confident granddaughter, Ashley. Each with their own issues and agendas, they head west in a dilapidated Winnebago. Encountering oddball tourist attractions and eccentric characters, they find themselves in seemingly impossible situations with only each other for support. As the journey progresses so does their relationship and they begin to understand and appreciate each other as individuals while discovering that being young and being old, aren’t all that different.

View Trailer

ALLEN, BILL AND ALL OF TYLER WELCOME FILM CREW

– August 16th, 2016, by Karin Elton, Marshall Independent

‘Hap and Ashley’ crew, along with star Barry Corbin, makes its way to small town

TYLER – Allen Lund and Bill Furan, both of Tyler, are bracing themselves for the fame that is sure to come once the movie, “Hap and Ashley,” which filmed a scene Friday in Tyler, premieres.

Allen Lund and Bill Furan embrace their new found fame.

Their parts were comprised of sitting in chairs parked against the wall at the Tyler American Legion.

“We do pretend talking and pointing a little,” Lund said.

No makeup was required for their roles.

“They figured we were handsome enough – we didn’t need any,” Lund said.

Lund figures he’ll soon be vying for parts that would otherwise go to Robert Redford. Not that Lund is a complete novice – he performed in a school play in the 1940s after all.

Yes, Furan said, this is their first time appearing in a movie.

“They don’t come to Tyler too often,” he said.

The film is about a Minnesota farmer, played by Barry Corbin, an actor notable for the “Northern Exposure” TV series and from the movie,”WarGames,” and his granddaughter, Ashley, played by Mackinlee Waddell, who was in the series, “Good Christian Belles.” The two venture to California in a Winnebago to attend a World War II veterans reunion. The reunion takes place at an American Legion which was filmed at the A. C. Hansen Post 185 in Tyler. Tyler native Kathy Swanson and her husband, Vince O’Connell, now of Vermont, are filming their movie this month in Marshall, Lake Benton and Tyler.

Lund and Furan said they were able to rearrange their schedules to fit the filming in. All joking aside, the pair found the behind-the-scenes look at how movies are made fascinating, as did Frank Jorgensen and Sandy Hanson, both of Tyler. Jorgensen and Hanson also were holding down seats next to a wall. For a while, Jorgensen got to get up and get drinks for himself and Hanson during filming, but that was eliminated probably since the buffet table was getting too crowded for the actors.

Jorgensen said even though he is sitting in a seat for most of the day, it’s been “very interesting” to watch how a movie is created.

Hanson said she hadn’t know how many times the same scene has to be filmed to get all the camera angles.

Jorgensen has known Swanson, the film’s writer and director, since she was a young girl. Hanson said her neighbor is Swanson’s brother. Hanson’s farmhouse was filmed for an outside shot.

Teresa Schreurs of Tyler spent the day Friday at the Legion waiting for her cue to step out on the dance floor and serve drinks to reunion attendees. After her character, Marlene, delivers the drinks, one of the Legionnaires asks her to dance. The two-piece old-time band plays a few bars of music so the dancers can get the beat. Schreurs and her partner on the dance floor, George Ruhmann of Tyler, another couple and a lone dancer must keep dancing in silence until they hear the “cut” signal.

Ruhmann said he hasn’t danced in years, and “hasn’t fast-danced ever.”

Schreurs was familiar with jitterbugging, so she came up with a few steps for her and Ruhmann to repeat for the camera.

Schreurs didn’t wake up that morning thinking she was going to be in a movie. She had seen a Facebook post announcing a casting call for background players who are older than 60. She doesn’t fall into that age category, but since she has acted in Lake Benton Opera House productions, she replied to the post saying she would like to help out or just watch. Friday morning she was asked to come in and play a waitress at the American Legion. When she is not delivering drinks and dancing, Schreurs has been watching the crew.
“This is exciting,” Schreurs said. “It’s so fun to see how this all goes together.”

Schreurs said the assistant directors are doing a good job giving direction to people who have no experience in acting in movies.

“The entire crew having been nothing but polite and extremely accommodating to us,” she said.

PLENTY OF ‘ACTION!’ IN DOWNTOWN MARSHALL, AS ‘HAP AND ASHLEY’ IS FILMED

– August 5th, 2016, by Karin Elton, Marshall Independent

MARSHALL – People driving by on Main Street or shopping in downtown Marshall might have wondered what was going on Thursday. Cameras, a boom microphone, people yelling “rolling” and “quiet please” could be seen and heard.

Tyler native Kathy Swanson and her husband, Vince O’Connell, now of Vermont, are filming their movie, “Hap and Ashley,” in the area through Aug. 16.

Marshall was filling in for Mitchell, S.D., Thursday morning because of the logistics of filming in busier Mitchell and also Marshall was more conveniently located to crew members driving from Minneapolis, said the film’s unit production manager, Michael Arter.

Arter, who is from Ohio, but is now based in Los Angeles, said they are filming in Tyler, Lake Benton and Marshall and they were recently at the Corn Palace in Mitchell for two days.

The film is about an elderly farmer, played by Barry Corbin of “Northern Exposure” and “War Games” fame, and his teenaged granddaughter, Ashley, played by Mackinlee Waddell of Austin, Texas. The two head to California in a rundown Winnebago to attend a World War II veterans reunion.

The cast and crew are from all over the United States including actor Terry Kiser, who played the title role in “Weekend at Bernie’s.”

A few locals are working on the film such as key grip Joel Hamilton, who recently moved back to Marshall after living in Minneapolis. He attended Southwest (Minnesota) State University before starting his film production career, which includes working on the major motion picture, “The Purge,” and the Academy award-winning movie, “Whiplash.” A key grip works with the camera equipment.

Swanson’s niece, Tashauna Swanson, of Marshall, designed and developed the film’s website, yellowhousefilms.com where people can find more information about the movie.

The crew filmed in front of Marshall businesses including Coco Avenue, the Daily Grind, Bursch Travel and Mr. Cool’s.

Based in Tyler, the cast and crew are eating and shopping in Marshall including at Hunan Lion and Caribou Coffee.

The city personnel and townspeople have been “super-friendly,” said location manager Cory Pratt, who is in charge of procuring permits and scouting locations. Pratt is from east Tennessee but met Swanson and O’Connell in film school in Ohio.

Pratt said post-production takes about a year, after which the two plan to enter “Hap and Ashley” in various film festivals.

“After it kind of lives on the festival circuit for awhile, there’s a good chance a film of this size could get on Netflix or Amazon,” Pratt said. “There’s not a huge chance it would get released in theaters, but it could be released in larger cities.”

They plan to have a premiere event in Tyler or Marshall sometime in 2017.

“Everyone in the area has been so kind to us,” said Pratt.

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION AT THE CORN PALACE

– August 2nd, 2016, by Katherine Clayton, Mitchell Daily Republic

The Corn Palace parking lot was a movie set Tuesday.

Cast and crew members watched as a white RV pulled into the parking lot north of the Corn Palace for a scene of a film on Tuesday.
According to co-director Kathy Swanson, “Hap and Ashley” is the working title of the movie about a grandfather and granddaughter who go on a roadtrip in a RV from Tyler, Minnesota, to California.

“It’s kind of a transition roadtrip,” Swanson said.

The grandfather, Hap, recently sold his farm in Tyler, and his granddaughter, Ashley, recently finished college. The film highlights their adventures as they commute cross country.

In the film, Hap and Ashley stop in Mitchell to visit the Corn Palace.

“It’s a Midwestern icon. It’s important to have that authentic Midwestern (feel),” said Swanson about the Corn Palace.

Swanson wanted to highlight the Midwest and her childhood home of Tyler. During her time in Minnesota, she is staying with her 84-year-old father.

The cast and crew is comprised of approximately 85 people from Minneapolis, Ohio University and other areas.

Main character roles for the film are filled by Barry Corbin as Hap and Mackinlee Waddell as Ashley. Terry Kiser, known for his role in “Weekend at Bernie’s,” fills the role of Virgil; one of the characters in the movie.

Swanson and her husband, Vince O’Connell, are film MFA students at Ohio University School of Media Arts and Studies and they are producing the film as thesis project. Swanson wrote the script, and both individuals are directing and producing.

Swanson and O’Connell started preproduction for the film in 2014, and they expect the film to be completed by next summer.

“It blends the comedy and drama of life,” Swanson said.

The film’s cast and crew began filming the middle of July and will end the middle of August. A majority of the film has been done in Tyler and other portions of southwestern Minnesota.

For Swanson, it has been a dream to return to the Midwest and her hometown to film the movie.

ON LOCATION

May 14, 2016 By Karin Elton, Marshall Independent

Tyler native Kathy Swanson is returning to her roots to put together an independent film.

They say writers should write what they know. For Tyler native Kathy Swanson, what she knows is the Tyler area.

Swanson, who now lives in Vermont with her husband, Vince O’Connell, is returning to her roots this summer to shoot a feature film based on a screenplay she wrote.

The two are producing and directing the “ultra low-budget” independent film, O’Connell said. Swanson wrote the script, which has a working title of “Hap and Ashley.”

The film’s principal photography will be shot in and around Tyler between July 17 and Aug. 16. The two were in Marshall last week to hold auditions for the two lead roles and will have auditions in June for about 30 other roles including featured extras, extras and background actors. Additional auditions will take place in Minneapolis and Sioux Falls, S.D.

The film will serve as Swanson’s and O’Connell’s master of fine arts thesis. After selling a successful manufacturing business 10 years ago, the two decided to attend film school and make movies as a creative outlet.

O’Connell said running a business is a good background for overseeing a film set.

“The production and business aspect, in that we know how to organize a big project,” he said. “That’s something that you do not get in film school.”

The two will employ 24 crew members – “a standard crew, but condensed,” he said.<

“Hap and Ashley” tells the story of a farmer who, after selling his farm, rebels against old age by road tripping across the country with his exasperated granddaughter.

“The film has universal themes – a lot of layers,” Swanson said. “It’s a dramatic comedy.”

The film’s characters aren’t based on anyone in particular, O’Connell said, but are an “amalgamation of traits and behaviors of people – some more than others.”

Swanson is looking forward to the prospect of spending a greater amount of time in Tyler this summer. Her father, Howard, still lives in Tyler. Usually the visits are two or three days long two or three times a year.

The main characters have 25 days of filming, while the 21 other roles will have one day to film. The actors and crew will stay at Danebod in Tyler during filming – except for one week which was already booked. During that week the Tyler hotel will be filled as well as other hotels in the area.

Craft services will be from Danebod as well.

“If we’re out filming a couple miles from Tyler, the food will be brought to us,” Swanson said. “We’ll be having lots of picnics.”

When not in Tyler, the pair and their crew will also venture to South Dakota for additional filming.

They will comply with green standards – leaving as small a footprint as possible, which is important to them.

“We will recycle and compost,” said O’Connell. “With the 20 short films we have made, we had the carbon footprint almost down to zero.”

After the film is all wrapped up, the two plan on taking the movie as far as it can go.

“We’ll submit it to the festivals – Sundance, Tribeca, Cannes,” said O’Connell. “Plus, there are other venues such as streaming, direct sales. We’ll travel with it.”

One of the hallmarks of being a film student is ambition. No matter who you are or where you are, if you’re a film student then chances are you dream big. Now, two of Ohio University Film’s own are about to make their big dreams into reality.

MFA candidates, Kathy Swanson and Vince O’Connell are currently preparing to shoot an independent feature film for their final, thesis project here at OU. The film, Hap and Ashley (working title), tells the story of an aging farmer who, after selling his farm, struggles to maintain his youth by road tripping across the country with his granddaughter.

Taking place over a thirty day window this summer (July 17th – August 16th), the film’s principle photography will be shot in and around Southwestern Minnesota in Tyler, a small town of about one thousand people which also happens to be where Swanson herself grew up. When not in Tyler, the pair and their crew will also venture to scenic South Dakota for additional filming.

Earlier this month, Swanson and O’Connell gave presentations to OU students interested in crewing on the film. Not only are there internship credits available for students, the pair explained, this opportunity will grant some aspiring filmmakers the chance to gain some necessary but often hard to come by experience working on a feature set.

Not only will students be able to add that all too important feature credit onto their resume, the opportunity affords the chance to gain a multitude of professional connections created by working side-by-side with experiences pros.

Unlike the classic LA experience of being a PA on a feature set where aspiring men and women often find themselves directing traffic three blocks away from the actual set, here they will be up close, right in the middle of the action.

And the cherry on top? It doesn’t cost you anything. Students who agree to crew on Swanson and O’Connell’s set will receive both food an lodging free of charge as well as a two-hundred dollar travel stipend. Experience on an actual feature set where you’ll be fed and housed? It’s hard to beat a deal that good.

Swanson and O’Connell begin rolling out their PR campaign starting today, April 9th, to start the one hundred day countdown to their day of shooting. It’s an incredibly exciting opportunity for students here at OU and an endeavor of which we in the OU Film Division are extremely proud and eager to see come to fruition.

If you are interested in Swanson and O’Connell’s film, Hap and Ashley, or would simply like for information about the project, you can contact them at kathy@kathyandvince.org. And stayed tuned to OU Film blog for periodic updates on the project.

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