Over the course of the 2017 spring session, JuiceMedia students have had the opportunity to meet some successful and very talented folks from the Twin Cities’ independent filmmaking world. Our guests included Dawn Mikkelson, Alisha Mueller, Jesse Roesler, Xiaolu Wang, Melody Gilbert and Michael Forstein. Having filmmakers like this come in and share their work is awesome because it shows how expansive the field of filmmaking really is. Below is a little snippet about each talented filmmaker.
Mikkelson has completed four award-winning independent feature documentaries, The Red Tail, Green Green Water, THIS obedience, and Treading Water: a documentary, which illuminate larger societal issues while creating understanding through the intimate stories of individuals. When she visited juiceMedia, she talked about crowd-sourcing, grants, and other ways one can kick start their independent film project.
Alicia Mueller and Michael Forstein
Alisha and Michael came together on the same day. Alisha was a script supervisor, which necessitated some clarification. On a film set, Alisha will follow the script and make sure that the scene is set up exactly the same way it was left from a previous take (water bottle is upright, pillow is flat on the couch, etc). Moreover, she makes sure that shooting happens in a way that makes it easier for the editor.
Michael is an independent filmmaker. He has filmed everything from thriller to comedy. He gave the juiceMedia folks some insight about how a narrative film is constructed and how to distribute it for screening.
As an Emmy and James Beard award winning filmmaker, Jesse has become very successful in the Twin Cities film scene. His film Starfish Throwers is a critically acclaimed documentary and has screened in several places globally. Seven years ago, he started Bolster/Credo, a creative brand management and non-fiction cinema production company that has clients all over the world.
Xiaolu is a filmmaker from the Twin Cities who came in to show a powerful piece about her name. The film was a very poetic piece that paired images with her own narration about her name and how the film was an attempt to reject her American name and reclaim her original name. She was also looking for potential interns who wanted to expand their video portfolio and help her with an interactive art exhibit. Now partnered with JuiceMedia alumni Melissa, Xiaolu is currently documenting local artist Marcus Young’s collaborative dance project, Don’t You Feel It Too?.
Melody is an established documentary filmmaker in the Twin Cities who is known for her small crew, run-and-gun style filmmaking. She produced Jesse Roesler’s Starfish Throwers, and has directed The Summer Help, Steps in the Fire, and A Life Without Pain. She teaches workshops at IFP and came in to talk to students about the multidimensional process of beginning a documentary film. Most students were surprised when they found out how complex the formation of even a simple documentary can be.