It all started in an airport cocktail lounge in Phoenix, Arizona. I was waiting out another plane delay due to all the bad weather that was ahead of me on my way back from Sundance in 2000.
I had spent a week in Utah by myself seeing the festival for the first time. It was exciting, fun and like nowhere else I have ever visited. I have been to many festivals but never one with so much energy and talent.
The films were great, the parties were better and the people I met were terrific. The week I was there alone was a long one and I was very anxious to get back home and back to reality. But, getting home was not going to be easy to do, due to the weather.
So in between flights and re-routes and one to many airport lounges, I started to convince myself that Lake Geneva would be the perfect place to start up yet another film festival. I figured that the more blockbusters Hollywood keeps putting out, the more there was a need for independent film festivals. So why not do one right here in Wisconsin?
Maybe I was overtired, maybe I was a little more drunk that I thought, or maybe, damn it! This might just work! Either way, I was obsessed with the idea and I was just waiting to talk myself out of it like I’ve done so many times before.
When I finally made it home, I gave the pitch to my wife, Lisa. There was a stack of bar napkins with notes, drawings, stains, last will and testament, shopping list and scribbles. I tried to make sense of it all, my delirium was infectious.
The next day, I sought out my friend, Rich who was on the board the second I uttered the words. We have always been on the same page with most things and this idea was no different. From there, Lisa got more involved and then we stumbled across this sassy little redhead, Jo Anna. She fought her best to not get involved with us but soon found her spot amongst us. Just like that a trio became a quartet.
In the two plus years since, we’ve laughed hysterically, screamed at each other incessantly, drank lots of coffee, smoked many cigarettes, failed miserably, won a few, agreed to disagree, and slowly became a foursome with one brain aiming at one goal.
I couldn’t have done any of this without my three dear friends and I will forever be in awe and indebted to them until the day I die for making this crazy thing work.
So have fun this week…goe see some really terrific films, check lotus some amazing works of art, and listen to some really cool music. Eat lots of food, drink even more, schmooze a little or just plan out your festival.