For about as long as any living person can remember watching television, Betty White's been on it.
Now 97, the beloved actress has been in the living rooms of Americans in nine decades. So the title of the documentary by a Fox Cities native filmmaker, "Betty White: First Lady of Television," works on multiple levels.
Like a first lady, she commands respect and admiration. There's a touch of royalty there.
But also, long before "The Golden Girls" or even "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," White was one of the first ladies on television.
Her 80-plus year career — which began with an experimental TV shoot in Los Angeles in 1939 — and the life she's lived is at the heart of "Betty White: First Lady of Television," from Appleton native and 1978 Fox Valley Lutheran High School graduate Steve Boettcher.
The hour-long documentary will be shown at 7 p.m. Friday as part of the 18th annual Wildwood Film Festival at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center in downtown Appleton.
"Someone said in the film Betty's been around longer than sliced bread. I think it's Valerie Bertinelli," Boettcher said. "I went back and looked — when was sliced bread invented? It was 1928. Betty was born in 1922, so it's actually an accurate reference."
The film, which premiered on PBS in August, traces White's career from her variety show and first sitcom in the '50s to her many game show appearances to her Emmy Award-winning roles on "Mary Tyler Moore" and "Golden Girls." It's peppered with interviews from the likes of Carol Burnett, Mary Tyler Moore, Carl Reiner, Tina Fey, Ryan Reynolds and Georgia Engel, among others (including, of course, White herself).
It also highlights White the person, as told by those who've worked and befriended her over the years. Bertinelli, her "Hot in Cleveland" co-star, summed her up as follows: "One of the smartest, funniest, kindest, most generous women in a business that doesn't normally have that kind of people in it."
'She's been there since the beginning'
The 58-year-old Boettcher, a graduate of University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, launched Boettcher + Trinklein Television in Milwaukee with partner Michael Trinklein in 1996.
They produced an Emmy Award-nominated documentary series called "Pioneers of Television," which explores various aspects of TV history, that aired on PBS. It was during production of an episode about women in comedy that White won them over.
"Betty was one of the women in the show and we were talking to her ... I was just fascinated by Betty, her career, her life," Boettcher said. "Really, she is the first lady of television. In 1939, 80 years ago, she was in high school and and was brought downtown in her graduation dress and they were shooting and testing television and they needed somebody to shoot — just to put in front of the camera as a tester.
"So really, we joke, but TV was invented just for Betty. She's been there since the beginning."
Likely helping Boettcher and his team is the resurgence White has had in mainstream entertainment in the time since that initial interview 10 years ago. In 2010, a fan Facebook campaign to get White to host "Saturday Night Live" resulted in just that — the then-88-year-old became the oldest person to ever host "SNL." That same year she made a memorable appearance in a Super Bowl ad for Snickers.
In September, the month after "First Lady of Television" aired, she was recognized at the Emmy Awards for her decades of contributions to the medium. The eight-time Emmy winner also has been in the Television Hall of Fame since 1995 (a mere 40 years after earning the Mayor of Hollywood honor).
'She's the eternal optimist'
The Wildwood Film Festival is an annual celebration of Wisconsin filmmaking, so the "Betty White" documentary is a perfect fit. Boettcher plans to be in Appleton for the screening Friday and will take part in a Q&A.
For a festival that's often highlighting independent films with modest budgets and little name recognition, a high-profile inclusion changes things up a bit. It's not every day Deadpool is in the mix.
"A lot of the ideas with the interviews is we wanted to do people who knew Betty really well," Boettcher said. "Not just worked with her, but actually are close friends of hers. Ryan Reynolds is (one). They're really close and it became that way from 'The Proposal.' … When I called Ryan to do the interview, he literally said 'Hey, let me put the red suit away and I'll be over.'"
Of course, getting the close personal friends of a nonagenarian on camera isn't the easiest thing. As she said in her "SNL" monologue, "if I want to get in touch with old friends, I need an Ouija board." The rest of the "Golden Girls" core is gone, as is her husband of 18 years, "Password" host Allen Ludden.
There still was no shortage of people willing and able to talk about the magic White has brought to the screen and to their lives. From Carl Reiner to Jennifer Love Hewitt, she's touched generations.
And Boettcher can attest to that.
"Watching her and being with her, to me she's the eternal optimist," he said. "She's tenacious but she's very genuine. I think that's what I take from this film and hopefully the audience will see that.
"I think she really embraces what life has to offer and being kind for her has never gone out of fashion."
Wildwood Film Festival
This weekend marks the return of the Wildwood Film Festival in downtown Appleton. Now in its 18th year, the festival is a celebration of Wisconsin movie-making. It runs Friday and Saturday in the Kimberly-Clark Theater at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center.
The festival features more than two dozen films, each with some connection to Wisconsin. Friday offers two features, "Betty White: First Lady of Television" and "From the Furnace." Saturday includes four blocks of short films, plus a free morning panel discussion on the business of acting at the Appleton Public Library.
Tickets are $20 for Friday and $30 for Saturday. For tickets, the full schedule and more information, visit wildwoodfilmfestival.com.
OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY)- If you're a fan of the show "American Idol" which airs right here on WBAY-TV, you might catch an Oshkosh teenager competing in an upcoming episode. At just 17 years old, Franki Moscato has a big dream and a passion for singing that last fall caught the attention of producers for the show "American Idol."
"Idol flew me to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, to audition with some really talented contestants and in front of Katy Perry, Lionel Ritchie, and Luke Bryan, and today I can finally announce that I did get the gold ticket, so we'll be going to Hollywood and see where that takes us," said Moscato.
While Moscato is expected to appear in upcoming episodes, she's not allowed to reveal much about the competition or even when specifically she might be on. However, she did tell Action 2 News, the song she sings is Nancy Sinatra's "Bang Bang." She added, "It's always been my passion to sing, and I hope to do everything I can to inspire others, and hopefully that's through my music and through my words, and I feel like this 'American Idol' experience is a great opportunity to do that." For now she's using the platform locally to promote her very own "Be Kind" campaign.
"It really means a lot to me to raise awareness to be kind, and I'm all about trying to stop suicide and stop bullying, and it's great to see everybody get together and wear my 'Be Kind' T-shirts, and I hope I can inspire my community," Moscato said,
If you would like to see Moscato perform, she's singing on Saturday at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center as part of the Wildwood Film Festival.
Appleton: Wildwood Film Festival. Wisconsin film talent hits the big screen at the Fox Cities PAC March 22-23. The festival opens with a documentary on Betty White, followed by a world premiere screening, shorts and a panel discussion on the business of acting.
Wildwood Film Festival’s annual showing will feature a range of films in almost every genre, from comedy to documentary to action and even music videos. Founded in 2001, the film festival’s mission is to promote and showcase Wisconsin film talent. “We try to show people that just because you’re in Wisconsin, it doesn’t mean you can’t produce things at a professional level,” says festival co-founder Jason Buss. “When we started, it was the people around us that inspired us.” This inspiration from local talent laid the groundwork for the festival’s emphasis on Wisconsin talent. According to Buss, short films will “always have a place” at the festival due to the amazing quality and subject matter. For the majority of the festival’s history, it has only shown short films. However, they’ve expanded to include longer feature films as well. This year, the two feature-length films, both produced by Wisconsin filmmakers, will include a documentary about Betty White and a feature film shot entirely in the Fox Cities area. Boasting the tagline “Celebrating Wisconsin Film Talent,” the festival’s criteria for showing films is that one of the film’s top creative personnel (actor, director, writer, etc.) is or has been a Wisconsin native. “Our tongue-in-cheek version is, “If you’ve ever lived in Wisconsin and are proud enough to admit it, and made a movie, send it to us,” Buss says. “We feel Wisconsin is pretty special and we’d like to highlight that.” The Festival will take place March 22 and 23 in the Kimberly-Clark Theater at the Fox Cities PAC. Tickets and film information can be found on their website at wildwoodfilmfestival.com. -KY
by Pafoua Yang, FOX 11 News
Monday, February 12th 2018
APPLETON, Wis. (WLUK) -- A locally made short film is spotlighting human trafficking. A preview of "Innocence Sold" was shown Monday morning in the Outagamie County board room.
The full film will be shown at the 17th annual Wildwood Film Festival, which is set for Friday and Saturday at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center in Appleton.
Paul Evansen is the moderator for the Wildwood Film Festival. He told FOX 11 that human-trafficking is a personal topic for him.
"The topic of human trafficking became a very personal development in my life not that long ago when my paths crossed a young woman in distress," Evansen explained.
Evansen noticed that young woman was walking alone and under-dressed.
"Those simple fact alone and a gut reaction is what caused me to turn around and gave me a way to circle back and at least initiate a conversation with that lady. We were able to get this woman out of a potentially very dangerous situation," Evensen said.
The average age of a person coerced into the sex trade is between 8 and 14. Signs of human trafficking include drug and alcohol issues, unexplained absences from class, and signs of physical abuse.
"Any sort of having possessions that they may have not before, so like an increase of clothing, their hairs done, nails done, multiple cell phones," Abby Persons, a social worker with the Outagamie County Youth and Family Services, said.
According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline 4,460 human trafficking cases were reported last year. Forty-seven of those cases were in Wisconsin.
By showcasing this film, organizers of the Wildwood Film Festival hope it helps combat human trafficking.
"It touches on, engages and educates people and is currently used as a tool by various non-profits including 5-Stone," said Jason Buss, director of the Wildwood Film Festival.
The festival will have a community conversation revolving around the issue of human trafficking on Friday.
February 12, 2018 07:45 pm | Source: http://www.whby.com/2018/02/12/25180/
There will be a community conversation about human trafficking as part of the Wildwood Film Festival.
Moderator Paul Evansen says during the festival they’ll show three locally-made short films. He says they show human trafficking from three different perspectives. He says it’s from the point of view of the victim, their friend, and the perpetrator. He says it was meant to be a resource at schools to raise awareness.
Evansen says the three shorts come together to make a film called “Innocence Sold”.
The community conversation is from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Friday at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center. A scheduled of the festival and tickets can be found on the Wildwood Film Festival website.
Link to the Wildwood Film Festival site.
Shane Nyman, USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin Published 7:21 a.m. CT Feb. 11, 2018 | Updated 2:36 p.m. CT Feb. 14, 2018
Had they traveled to the year 2010, “Back to the Future” fans of the 1980s would’ve been horrified at the state of their beloved DeLorean.
The car, which first appeared on the big screen in the now-iconic blockbuster in 1985 and went on to become perhaps the most famous vehicle in Hollywood history, spent years in utter neglect.
Wild animals made it their home. It was warped and bleached by California sunlight and pounded by rain. Fans pulled off parts to keep as souvenirs.
As “Back to the Future” co-creator Bob Gale put it: “It was a wreck. An absolute wreck.”
But there’s good news further up the timeline: With the backing of Universal Pictures, a team of superfans and restoration experts came to the rescue. The year-long process that brought the dilapidated DeLorean back to its original condition was documented by Waukesha native filmmaker Steve Concotelli.
“OUTATIME: Saving the DeLorean Time Machine,” his first feature film, will be shown at 8 p.m. Saturday as part of the Wildwood Film Festival at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center in Appleton. The screening closes out the two-day celebration of movie-making with Wisconsin ties.
We don’t need roads
Wisconsin native filmmaker Steve Concotelli's "OUTATIME: Saving the DeLorean Time Machine" is one of the feature-length films getting a screening at the Wildwood Film Festival. (Photo: Photo courtesy of Steve Concotelli)
Concotelli graduated from Mukwonago High School and the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the 1990s and, in 2000 moved to Los Angeles. He’s spent the time since working as a television editor and producer, with jobs on “Attack of the Show!” (featuring Olivia Munn, before her ascension to movie star status), “Unsolved Mysteries” and “Street Science,” among dozens of others.
In that time, he made friends with folks in the industry big into the movies he’d loved since childhood.
“I thought I was a huge ‘Back to the Future’ fan and a huge ‘Ghostbusters’ fan,” he said. “Then I move out here and I start meeting these guys who’ve built their own time machines, built their own proton packs, own their own Ecto-1s. I’m just like holy s—t, these guys are on a fandom level I didn’t even know existed.”
Included in this group of movie prop fanatics Concotelli met was Joe Walser, the man Gale would enlist to steer the DeLorean restoration project. With their shared love for these movies from the ’80s, Walser asked Concotelli to get involved.
“The only problem was I didn’t have any skills to actually help restore the car,” he said. “I’m not a mechanic, I don’t own a DeLorean, I have no mechanical aptitude whatsoever. … So Joe (Walser) turns to me and says, ‘What is it that you can actually do for this project?’ And I said, ‘I’m a very good filmmaker. I can make a film about it.’”
And so it went. Concotelli became the official documentarian for the project, which took about a year of meticulous work. Walser, as “OUTATIME” is sure to point out, isn’t one to cut corners. Anything on the car that was able to be salvaged was cleaned or fixed. If it was ruined, an exact replacement was found — down to every last screw, regardless of whether or not anybody would ever lay eyes on it.
There was one goal: Get the DeLorean Time Machine to look exactly like it did when it rolled off the back of Doc Brown’s truck back in 1985.
“Everybody thinks that restoring the most famous film car in the world is fun and rainbows and it’s not,” said Concotelli, who spent countless nights and weekends with the restoration crew, all while still working a day job. “You have the pressure of all the ‘Back to the Future’ fans in the world, their expectations, on your shoulders. The car means just as much to them as it does to you and you need to make sure it’s done right. If there was any detail that we would have missed or that was wrong, we would have been raked over the coals for it.”
This is heavy
There were three cars used in the “Back to the Future” movies: the A car, the B car and the C car. The A car is the one most prominent. The B car was used for stunts and the C car was mostly for internal shots, and both were destroyed — the B car, quite famously, which was obliterated by a train in “Back to the Future Part III.”
As the restoration team’s Sean Bishop says in “OUTATIME,” “Every time you think of the DeLorean Time Machine, you’re thinking of the A car.”
And it’s the A car that wound up being a pretty serious focus of Concotelli’s life.
After the year’s worth of work in the garage was complete, he spent another year doing interviews and other shooting, then another two years of editing and other post-production. When it all came together, though, the 100-minute film earned him approval from fans around the world — as well as from the man he called “the godfather of ‘Back to the Future.’”
“I sent Bob (Gale) a copy of the film when it was done … and I’m thinking, 'Oh my God, what’s he going to say?' He said, 'Steve, it’s fantastic.' He said, 'I love it.'
“Getting an endorsement from the guy who created Doc and Marty, the guy who created the time machine, having him like my film about his film, it’s the highest honor I could possibly get.”
Gale and the other bigwigs at Universal liked the film enough that, when it came time to release the 30th anniversary “Back to the Future” Blu-ray in 2015, a 15-minute version of the documentary was included in the bonus features. That’s about as official an endorsement as possible.
“It was surreal,” Concotelli said. “Especially my favorite film of all time, it was a tremendously cool honor to have that.”
The DeLorean Time Machine, in all its restored glory, is now on permanent display at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles — well protected, away from the elements. It looks as good as it did — if not better — than when it made its debut in the parking lot of the Twin Pines Mall.
Aside from continuing promotion for “OUTATIME” — and coming back to Wisconsin this week to show it at Wildwood — Concotelli continues his day job as TV editor and producer. He’s on the lookout for whatever’s next as far as features go, but the grueling nature of the DeLorean project has him thinking he’ll be a one-and-done as a car restoration documentarian.
"I guess you could say I'm always looking for my next fascinating story to tell. If they want to restore the Ecto-1 A and they want to call me, that's fine,” he said with a laugh. “I would certainly consider it.”
WILDWOOD FILM FESTIVALThe 17th annual Wildwood Film Festival is Friday and Saturday at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center in downtown Appleton. All film screenings are in the Kimberly-Clark Theater.
The event is a celebration of filmmaking with Wisconsin ties. Showcasing 32 shorts and three full features, each of the festival's selections have a connection to Wisconsin. Some are directed or produced by Wisconsin natives. Some might star Wisconsin actors or feature music from a Wisconsin artist. Some were shot somewhere in the state. Whatever it might be, the selections each have some link to the state.
3 to 5 p.m.: Community Conversation: Exploring Human Trafficking, with Paul Evansen
7 p.m.: "The Rocket" (feature)
9 p.m.: "Wraith" (feature)
9 to 11 a.m.: Workshop: "The Business of Filmmaking," with Richard Blake, Michael O. Sajbel and Brian Murray (McIntosh Room of the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel)
1, 3, 6 and 8 p.m.: Short film sessions
8 p.m.: "OUTATIME: Saving the DeLorean Time Machine" (feature)
10 p.m.: Official Stella Artois Wrap Party (Fox Cities PAC lobby)
Tickets: $50 for complete festival package. Friday double feature tickets are $20. Saturday all-day tickets are $30. Single-session tickets are $12.
February 12, 2018 10:20 am
Franki is appearing in 3 videos or films coming up this weekend in Appleton at the Film Festival.
Making a message with movies
By: John Domol Posted: Feb 13, 2018 06:17 PM CST
Updated: Feb 13, 2018 06:17 PM CST
APPLETON, Wis. - The Wildwood Film Festival normally puts a premium on local talent.
But this year, it is going a step further--It is putting the spotlight on the battle against sex trafficking.
The movie on everyone's radar this year puts an abusive crime into perspective.
It is called "Innocence Sold," and it takes the seedy business of sex trafficking head on.
"She moved here with a boyfriend," says Paul Evansen, the moderator for Friday's conversation about sex trafficking. "Her mother lives out of the area. All she has is in the bag that she's carrying. She doesn't have a phone--it was taken from her."
He says any of these can be a red flag...a warning.
Except that was not Hollywood. It was real life.
"I was fortunate enough in that opportunity to be able to direct this young woman to the Appleton Police Department," said Evansen.
Lt. Jeff Miller from the Appleton Police Department tells me that sex trafficking in Northeast Wisconsin has increased in the past 5-to-10 years, with hundreds of cases hitting our area yearly.
One sex trafficking arrest was made in the Fox Cities just last week.
And that is what the locally shot "Innocence Sold" is all about--identifying the crime and showing us the mental toll it can create.
It is a crime that hinges on fooled emotions.
"An adult, male or female, taking interest in a younger child," says Abby Persons of Outagamie Youth and Family Services. "Making them think that they are in a relationship with them--a boyfriend, girlfriend. They capitalize on that relationship."
The film festival opens with a conversation on what the community can do to minimize this crime in our community, and we can work on a large part of it right away by simply paying attention.
"Parents, friends, other professionals, people in school, teachers--they play a huge part in recognizing the signs and then offering help," says persons.
You can join the conversation at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center in Appleton this Friday at 3pm.