It Came From Lake Michigan…Again! – By Brian Morton

 Last October, something rose from Lake Michigan, something large and unstoppable. Something so unstoppable that, this year, as it rises again from the murky deep, it will be moving from the humble hamlet of Racine, Wisconsin to the grounds of the Wisconsin State Fair! I’m sure that the move is in response to the tremendous crowds that last years event drew and, so that it will be easier to contain the beast!

If you didn’t attend last years It Came From Lake Michigan Film Festival, then you really missed something special. It Came is a festival directed more at film makers than at fans, and, while fans are more than welcome (and will enjoy It Came just as much), the idea that independent film makers from the entire region gather in one spot to exchange ideas, show each other movies and just generally have some fun for a weekend, is one of the best ideas ever. Last year, I was at the first ICFLM and had one of the best times I can remember having at a festival, I met people who I’ve staying in touch with, I saw some great movies and even met some film makers who I’m sure are on only the first rung of a long, long career ladder. This year, ICFLM isn’t just changing venues, it’s also growing a little. There will be no less than three red carpet premieres, the gala party will be bigger and better than last years (which was super), and the special guests are bigger names!

I recently contacted festival director Wayne Clingman to find out what’s different about this year’s ICFLM, what we can all expect to see, and let him tell you, in his own words, why you should make the trek from October 26th thru the 28th to be in West Allis, Wisconsin for this years It Came From Lake Michigan.

BM – Last years ICFLM was great, what will be different this year?

WC – We have more films, movies and workshops! A nice up to date building to hold it all in. As well we have TWO Hollywood types here with Mr. Boll and Mr. Kaufman being on board.

BM – How many movies will people be able to see at this years ICFLM?

WC – Well, we are not done with judging yet but I believe you could easily see 25 films in the three days. More if you don’t need to sleep.

BM – There seem to be more classes and seminars this year than last, is that intentional, was there a good response to last years classes?

WC – Yes there was. We are quite pleased to note that last years classes went over very well! So much so that many stars/directors have asked to teach this year. Part of this springs from the workshops we did in the winter and spring this year in the area.

BM – I saw that Uwe Boll will be attending this years ICFLM, he doesn’t attend many festivals or conventions, how hard was it to get him to commit to you?

WC – Very easy! This man is a saint on earth, not only is he coming, we are planning to show both Postal and Seed. As well, Mr. Boll is teaching a class and judging a contest that our game sponsor (Generation: Gamerz) is hosting. In fact, by the time you read this the winners should have already been named, drop in to the ICFLM web site to see tham all! .

BM – Why the venue change from downtown Racine to the state fair grounds?

WC – Let me list just a few:

1) A bigger area, last year was nice, this year we’ll have more room for everything!

2) A better food area, again, last year there were no real problems, but we’ll be able to offer more variety and more room for more people to relax and have a little refreshment between movies and workshops.

3) A more up to date sound system. This may have been the biggest problem we had last year (technically) and this year that problem won’t exist at all!

4) A better building staff. Again, last year was fine, but at the fair grounds, they’re set up better to accommodate the amount of people we expect to attend this year.

5) Free parking for up to 125 cars! Really! It’s free! (BM – Speaking personally, there wasn’t any issue with parking last year, except that all the parking in downtown Racine is metered, so if you didn’t have change you pretty much had to find some, it wasn’t a problem, just a minor inconvenience.)

6) This year, we’re on the bus line. Now, that might not seem like an issue, but if you’re staying at a hotel off site, you don’t have to bring your car if you don’t want to, it’ll be more convenient to just hop on the bus and ride it over to the fest!

BM – I noticed at your website, It Came From Lake, that there seem to be a lot more special guests than there were last year, is that an indication that this year’s ICFLM is that much bigger altogether?

WC – Yes! It will be the biggest Horror Fest in Wisconsin. Our goal is to make this much more fan friendly festival than your “Fangoria” type of cons that we feel rip off the fans. It Came From Lake Michigan is a chance for fans to interact with filmmakers in a much less structured environment. (BM – That’s true, having been to other conventions and fests, ICFLM is much less structured than others. The filmmakers are more accessible and the general vibe was much more relaxed it was a very positive experience for both attendees and convention guests!)

BM – What part of this year’s ICFLM are you most looking forward to personally?

WC – I swear, it is only by chance that most of the actresses attending this year have red hair! Chance, I tell you!!!!

BM – In addition to the listed special guests, last year there were quite a few local film makers, will that be the case this year too?

WC – Very much so. Over the winter and spring It Came From Lake Michigan ran film making workshops to get the word out that Milwaukee is a great place for film making and film makers. We should see that pay off here. One person I would like to give bonus points to is Bryan Bloodsoaker, he’s a really great guy. Get to know him, he is going places fast! Look for him at the 6th St. Entertainment booth. Talk to the guys at Rusty Robot too, Kelly, Jim, and Dale, ROCK HARD!!! Another guy to watch out for is Jason Knuth, put him in your films and he will simply steal the show and, God, he must do the 100 yard dash in fewer than 4.5!

BM – Any last words for our readers?

WC – Just this, please, everyone out there, take the opportunity to come to Wisconsin’s Funfest, It Came From Lake Michigan! I promise you’ll have see some great movies, learn a little bit about film making and meet a bunch of really great people!

BM – Thanks, Wayne, I’m looking forward to seeing you there.

WC – Thanks, me too.

If you were at last years ICFLM, then you’ll remember Wayne as the man with the beard who never stopped moving! If you weren’t at last years ICFLM, then you should find a way to get to this year’s! It was one of the best times I’ve had at a film festival in years, the people were great, the movies are always excellent and the chance to meet and hang around with guys like Lloyd Kaufman and Uwe Boll is a chance any film buff shouldn’t miss. There’s a ton more info on all the particulars at It Came From Lake, and, if you’re in the mood for something a little different, our own fearless editor, Duane Martin and myself will be doing a little seminar about the Journalistic Side Of Things, it’ll be a chance for you to see how two of us Rogue Reviewers see indie film and what we look for in a great independent movie…it will also be a chance to watch one or both of us dissolve into a sweaty, mumbling mess (I’ll let you guess which one), it should be fun no matter how you slice it! One way or another, It Came From Lake Michigan is a ton of fun with some great people, I’m looking forward to it, and you should get there any way you can!