In case you missed it: NFA November meeting recap

Wednesday’s meeting had some real excitement and good conversation going on!  If you weren’t there, you really missed out!


The 10th Omaha Film Festival is fast approaching. Marc Longbrake, who just returned from the Austin Film Festival, reminds members the Fall Mixer is Nov. 21. The Late deadline to enter films and screenplays for the OFF is Nov. 17 and volunteers are always needed, just email

The NFA sent surveys to candidates in the recent election. While there wasn’t a lot of response, the two gubernatorial candidates did answer positively, and others that responded expressed interest in learning more! The Nebraska Secretary of State’s Office has election results:

The NFA has in the works a quarterly program for Omaha’s cable access network KPOA. A sign-up sheet was passed around, but volunteers are still being accepted for all positions: Cam op, floor director, audio tech, writer/producer and others. Look for more about this coming up soon! This will be a showcase of Nebraska projects and talent and we’ll need you to make it happen – think PROMOTION!


Some production gear on the film location for a locally shot film.

NFA members talked about their recent experience supporting a film shot locally and written by Omaha Native Erich Hover – It Snows All the Time. Some members were extras and another was a location manager!

Independent filmmaker and new Nebraskan Alex Ward shared details about his upcoming project and need to fill crew and talent positions. It was his first visit at a NFA networking meeting and we look forward to many more! There were other first-timers there, too! Hope to see them again at future NFA meetings!


Speaking of future meetings, Margie would like NFA members (and other filmmakers) to send her testimonials to be used to help us inform lawmakers about the film industry here in Nebraska. Just write out a few paragraphs describing projects that you’ve worked on and your experience here in the state when it comes to filmmaking! Email The legislature starts back up on Jan. 7!

Candidates respond to NFA survey

On Thursday, NFA sent a short survey to candidates for Nebraska Legislature (Read it here).  You can click on the name of the candidate or scroll all the way down to read responses in the order they were received.


Pete Ricketts
Chuck Hassebrook
Mark G. Elworth Jr.

District 2

Ron Nolte
Bill Kintner

District 3

Tommy L. Garrett

District 4

Robert Bob Hilkemann
Stacy Ryan

District 6

John Stalnaker
Joni Craighead

District 8

Burke Harr
Gwenn Aspen

District 10

Bob Krist

District 12

Merv Riepe
Greg Hosch

District 14

Jim Smith

District 16

Lydia Brasch
Scott Japp

District 18

J. Michael Tesar
Brett Lindstrom

District 20

John S. McCollister
Matt Lathrop

District 22

Paul Schumacher
Douglas J. Liewer

District 24

Mark A. Kolterman
Kirk Tesar

District 26

Matt Hansen
Brint SMoyer

District 28

Dallas Jones
Patty Pansing Brooks

District 30

Roy Baker
Bob Tiemann

District 32

Laura Ebke
Phil Hardenburger

District 34

Curt Friesen

District 36

Matt Williams
Luis Sotelo

District 38

John L. Kuehn

District 40

Tyson Rope Larson
Keith Kube

District 42

Roric R. Paulman
Michael Groene

District 44

Dan Hughs
Steve Stroup

District 46

Adam Morefeld
James Michael Bowers

District 48

Mike Meister
John P. Stinner Sr.

Responses in the order they were received:

Mark Elworth Jr. (Candidate for Governor)

1. No I do not. I support the private sector being in charge of this. We are trying to cut government spending and cut taxes. the government doesn’t know what’s best for your industry, you do.
2. No, I’m for minimum government, I see this as a issue for the private sector. Politicians are good actors and all, but I can’t support spending tax dollars on this.


Robert Hilkemann (Candidate for District 4)

In regard to setting up a committee to recommend incentives for film makers, I believe we need to expand any industry, including the film industry, that will bring economic benefit to our state and we need to make ourselves competitive with other states.

As to a film liaison, I would need to know more about projected costs of such a liaison and if that function could be performed by an existing agency as effectively.
Thank you for seeking my opinion.


Roy Baker (Candidate for District 30)

We could not go wrong with creating a committee to study the matter of promoting the film industry in Nebraska.  Over the years, there have been some movies made using Nebraska locales, and I was always proud when that happened.  I am sure many other Nebraskans feel the same way.  I am unfamiliar with how promotion is handled in other states, but I am more than willing to learn.


Roric Paulman (Candidate for District 42)

I know little of this subject. If elected would be glad to sit down and learn more.

John Stinner (Candidate for District 48)

1.  Yes, I would support the formation of a committee, as I am always for the promotion and growth of economic development.
2.  It appears to be reasonable, but I would need more research.

Chuck Hassebrook (Candidate for Governor)

I strongly support bringing the film liaison position up to industry standards and forming a Committee to conduct a study on how Nebraska could best structure incentives to support film making in Nebraska in the most cost effective and effective manner.  Nebraska has already demonstrated its potential for the film industry.  But just as in every other industry, we must work to make ourselves competitive.  The money spent in film making provides an economic shot in the arm to our communities.  And supporting a vibrant creative community in our state helps us draw and keep the creative young people that all of our businesses need to thrive in the 21st century.

Pete Ricketts (Candidate for Governor)

1.  I am interested in learning more about the formation of such a committee. It seems reasonable to pool resources in a structured effort to examine how best we can promote Nebraska as an inviting and welcoming place for film production.

2. Again, I would appreciate the benefit of your perspective about the ways we best position Nebraska for more filmmaking opportunities, including any changes recommended in this position.

Candidate survey for the Nebraska Film Association

The Nebraska Film Association has reached out to candidates for the Nebraska Legislature with a survey of interest to our mission.

As each candidate responds, we’ll share their answers here on the website and in the Facebook group.

Below is the email we sent Thursday afternoon:

Below is information about the Nebraska Film Association and a two-question survey for which we’d like to share your answers with the rest of our membership through our website:

We appreciate your time in reading this and writing a response, and look forward to seeing what you have to say as we consider who to vote for this Election Day!

From the NFA:

Expanding and diversifying Nebraska’s economy is crucial to the state’s growth and success. Economists have consistently identified two growth factors that Nebraska needs to develop: 1) Retention and attraction of young talent, especially in the creative classes and 2) create a worldwide recognized identity and brand for Nebraska.
The multi-billion dollar film and media industry is an proven tool in achieving these goals.  In the past, Nebraska has had several large studio driven projects that have resulted in millions of dollars in economic impact and helped make Nebraska a cooler place to hail from.
However, in the past 20 years the competition for location filming outside of Hollywood has become extremely competitive.  Local economic incentives have become essential to producers when making location decisions. Nebraska is one of several states that does not offer any type of incentive at this time, and is not taken seriously as a location for film and media projects.
The opportunity is not just feature films and television. Larry the Cable Guy fought hard to bring Prilosec commercial production to Nebraska, but despite the positive environment the producers found in Nebraska, they could not responsibly serve their clients when incentives are available in other states.
Nebraska is blessed with scores of successful national and international brand companies that spend millions in commercial advertising production nearly all of which leaves Nebraska.
Around the world, film incentives have been tailored to meet local economic objectives. Hawaii has incentives to encourage tourism. Michigan, job creation. Texas, training young people.
The Nebraska Film Association advocates that a committee be formed including the Department of Economic Development and the Legislature to determine Nebraska’s economic goals for film incentives, the amount of reasonable investment and expected return, and then propose a package of Nebraska tailored incentives.
1. Do you support the formation of this Committee?
Every state in the US has a film liaison that helps and encourages producers utilize their state as a production location. Currently, Nebraska’s film liaison is an ad-hoc part-time contractor.
2.Do you support bringing the Nebraska liaison position up to industry standards?
Please elaborate your general outlook on the potential for the motion picture industry in Nebraska and the roll of state government to promote it.

In case you missed it: Guest speaker Jack Young talks indie filmmaking

“Care about what you’re doing and think outside the box.”

That’s just some of the advice Jack Young, the man behind multiple books and films, gave out at the August networking meeting for the Nebraska Film Association Wednesday.

Young, who manages Young Films and Publishing LLC., shared some of his expertise on making an independent film.

His credits include directing, screenwriting, producing and editing.
He has also written multiple books, including “How to write a Screenplay in 3 Days” and “Indie Filmmaker Producer’s Guide: The Nuts and Bolts of Independent Film Production.”

Young focused on how to avoid mistakes that will impact the quality of the film and how it is distributed.

He talked about getting started and evaluating screenplays, actors and locations.

“Small towns are great,” he said, describing a set he used in Freeport, Illinois, where filming for “The Darkening” took place in a reportedly real haunted house.

“Always, always get room tone,” Young stressed as he finished his presentation, which started off by taking about sound quality and automated dialogue replacement.

Those present at the meeting got a special discount code to buy one Young’s books.

Next month, plans are in the works to tour Omaha’s new public access studio KPAO. Stay tuned for details.




Welcome to the newly redesigned Nebraska Film Association website!

New features include:

Submit an event page – We want to know about your film premiere, casting call, or any other events you think filmmakers and others should know about!

Legislative Watch – NFA is working to lobby lawmakers to help improve filmmaking in Nebraska. We’ll keep you updated on those efforts on this new page!

Meet the Board – Get to know the folks behind the Nebraska Film Association.

Meet the Members - As members, these people are committed to the goals of the NFA and filmmaking in Nebraska.  Check them out!

Be sure to come to tonight’s networking event – more info here.

City of Lincoln – A Better Fit For Filmmakers

See link here:

A better fit for filmmakers?

City officials are working to streamline the permit process for filming in Lincoln just in time to make it easier for Alexander Payne to use Capital City locations in his new movie, titled “Nebraska.”

But Payne was not the specific impetus for the changes, said Laurie Richards, Nebraska film officer.

Work on simplifying the system began before the director announced his plans to shoot a movie in the state this fall, and is the result of suggestions from other local producers, Richards said.

Several Nebraska companies called her with concerns that Lincoln’s film application process was much more “laborious” than those in other communities, Richards said, so she passed on the concerns to Mayor Chris Beutler’s staff.

The proposed changes are on Monday’s City Council agenda for the first time, and a public hearing will be held at the Sept. 24 council meeting.

One change would eliminate the requirement of a $5,000 assurity bond intended to protect the city from property damage such as broken street signs or cracks in the street, said Rick Hoppe, Beutler’s chief of staff. He said the bond is expensive, and getting it is a time-consuming process.

The city would be required to have coverage under a $1 million public liability insurance policy.

The mayor’s office also is eyeing a new, $45 permit specifically for filming, an alternative to the more generic special use permits the city requires now, Hoppe said.

Companies filming in Lincoln are required to get permits to use any public property, including parks, streets and sidewalks, or if they will be asking for city assistance, such as having streets closed or parking meters hooded.

Companies will continue to be charged for the cost of services provided by police, public works or other city departments.

Lincoln does not want to be at a competitive disadvantage, said Mike Lang, an economic development aide to the mayor. Filming in Lincoln brings money to local businesses, but it’s also a marketing opportunity for the city when its locations are pictured in movies and commercials, he said.

Lang helped craft the proposed changes as part of a special committee. He said their ideas also were presented to several producers.

The permit application would go from 14 pages to four.

“That’s a start,” said Jamie Vesay, a Nebraska producer who has filmed two commercials in Lincoln.

There are no specific statewide regulations on the filming industry, so it is up to individual communities to work with production companies.

Lincoln’s process might be cumbersome for now, but Vesay said a pair of city employees — Greg Topil with public works and Dave Norris with the mayor’s office — “stand out as champions” and have gone out of their way to help filmmakers.

Reach Nancy Hicks at 402-473-7250 or

Omaha filmmakers compete in smartphone challenge

Omaha filmmakers compete in smartphone challenge


September 5th, 2012

Omaha, NE – 48 hours to make a movie using only your smartphone. That was the challenge for a group of Omaha filmmakers this weekend as Omaha Creative Week swung into motion.

In the artsy digs of the downtown Image Arts Building, publisher of The Reader, John Heaston, kicked off Omaha Creative Week on Friday. The Reader helped sponsor the week, which sought to celebrate and unite Omaha’s creative community. “We’re going into the Creative Age,” Heaston told dozens of people gathered to welcome the 36-event, 10-day lineup.

John Heaston, center left, at a planning meeting for Omaha Creative Week. (Photo credit Leigh Ellis/OCW)

“Creativity is not just the providence of entrepreneurs and artists,” Heaston said. “We have a great creative economy growing and emerging in Omaha.”

The week of events, which runs the gamut from fashion-focused to technology-centric, began with a creative challenge for some of those creative minds. Omaha’s film community was challenged to put a five minute film together — in 48 hours, using only their smartphones to get the footage.

“Each filmmaker will get a genre, they will get a location in the city that they have to shoot at least one scene,” explained Jason Levering, executive director of the Omaha Film Festival. “There is a line of dialogue and a prop and all kinds of different things that we’re kind of throwing at them. So we’re actually going to get a variety because they’re going to be forced in whichever genre they get.”

As 17 filmmakers awaited their instructions, Levering said the limitations will force them to really get creative, and it’s another way to get new names in the spotlight.

“There are so many great filmmakers here,” Levering said. “There are a lot of Alexander Paynes waiting to break out and they just haven’t had their shot yet.” Alexander Payne, of course, is Omaha’s own Oscar-winning director and the city’s most famous filmmaking export. But as Levering said, Omaha has a growing film scene with many directors looking for a break. Enter Chris Zech. Zech is an amateur filmmaker who has been making movies for about six years, and now has a few shorts under his belt.

Chris Zech (2nd far right) of Echo Factory Productions with his crew on the set of [Blocked]. (Photo credit Echo Factory)

“Just starting out, there’s nothing wrong with starting out small,” Zech said. “This is a prime example of the perfect opportunity for people to come out. If you have a smart phone, come out. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have the best equipment; it doesn’t matter if it’s just you and a few friends. It’s all about the passion and just creating the project.”

“That’s sometimes what it takes to start,” he said. “That’s what it took for me to get started.”

Zech said he has slowly put together a team of different talents that he can call on. And Friday night, he had a crew of about ten waiting directions. But first, they needed the details.

“All right, so…. the first person I’ve got here is Scott Hertz.” In the back of the building, Jason Levering handed out sealed envelopes to the filmmakers with their genres, location and prop details.

“Chris Zech…”

Zech grabbed the envelope, and headed to the back of the room to open it up. “So our prop are sunglasses. Our line is ‘Get off.’ Our location is the Bob Kerrey Bridge. And our genre is mystery…”

“That’ll be interesting,” he said. “It’s definitely not the first choice, but it’s definitely one we can work with.”

The next day, under a blazing hot sun, the crew filmed all the scenes they needed at three locations or a hastily-put-together story. “So we pick up our packet, and we bolt out the door,” Zech said. “We have a planning meeting already started. We meet up… and we just hit the ground running.”

Using the mystery genre, the team went with a series of mysterious murders, the clues of which are sent to the main character by text message from an unknown number. “Oh my God.” On set, Zech’s lead actress takes a sharp intake of breath as she reads the message on her phone. It’s the address of her boyfriend, and a foreboding image of a knife.

“When you have such a small amount of time to cram that much in, to try and get that type of emotion out of an audience with that short of time, you have to bring up almost ten times as much emotion and energy into the production itself,” Zech said. “Needless to say at the end of the day, everyone was pretty much exhausted, but had a good time.”

Zech and his crew handed in their five-minute film on time for the Sunday night deadline. This week, the Omaha Film Festival judges will review all the pieces and choose the winners. All the entries will be shown at the awards ceremony at the Omaha Film Festival offices on Saturday at 3 pm.

Omaha Creative Week continues with events throughout the week, through Sunday. Click here for a full schedule.