Category Archives: News

March montly networking event

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

The Nebraska Film Association is happy to invite Omaha Film Festival Program Directory Marc Longbrake back to give us a great preview of what to expect at the upcoming (March 10-15) festival!

There will be prizes, making this a networking meeting you will not want to miss! The Omaha Film Festival, now in its 10th year, features 97 films this year.

Check out the schedule on the website:
Share on Twitter using hashtag #omafilmfest

Join us Wednesday, March 4 at Clancy’s (114th and Dodge) at 5:30 p.m. (Cost is FREE for members, $5 for non-members)

See you there!

UPDATE: Legislative watch

LB45 -Eliminate film vehicle provisions under the Motor Vehicle Registration Act

UPDATE: The bill, with an amendment, was passed with a vote of 26-1 on Feb. 10 to the next round of debate.

On Jan. 26, Sen. Colby Coash (D-27), NFA President Mark Hoeger and Robert Christofferson spoke before the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee regarding the bill.

Read the full transcript on pages 8-17 of the transcript.


Click  – here – to find out who represents your legislative district and get their contact information.




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.

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.

Small Nebraska Town Is Expected To Be Used In Feature Film

News, Weather and Sports for Sioux City, IA:



By: Diana Johnsen

Hartington, Nebraska has been told it will be one of the towns used in Oscar-winning director Alexander Payne’s new feature film “Nebraska”.

Robert Nelson, the man who wrote the film’s screenplay based the film on childhood memories to Hartington growing up; however, in the movie, the town will get the fictitious name of Hawthorne.

Hartington was notified a couple weeks ago that the film is looking for an old motel to shoot at, and the town said there would be no problem in finding an old hotel or old buildings in Hartington.

“We have a lot of old buildings here in town as far as that goes if they’re looking to film old buildings. We have a vacant hotel up here that comes from the early 1900s or late 1800s,” said Cedar County Historical Society President Karen Bonneau.

With the film planning to shoot in Hartington, the town said hopefully in the future, folks will swing through the town to visit locations where the movie was once filmed.

“People are going to be going to all these different communities after they’ve already left and the films been released. They’re going to be coming back and going, ‘you know, we went through Hartington and that’s where part of this film was filmed,” said Peggy Year with the Cedar County News.

Shooting is expected to begin in October and casting for extras is still underway in and across the state of Nebraska with Norfolk being one of its main casting offices.

If you are interested in auditioning, send a photo, or a recent snapshot, and phone number to the John Jackson at

Alexander Payne to shoot ‘Nebraska’ movie around Norfolk


Movie director Alexander Payne said Wednesday that Norfolk, Neb., will be a production hub for filming his next movie, “Nebraska.”

Payne, an Oscar winner and Omaha native, said filming locations were still being chosen, but he was “pretty sure” he’d be shooting in nearby Plainview and Stanton, Neb., once the seven-week shoot begins Oct. 15. Those towns would serve as the movie’s fictional town of Hawthorne, Neb.

“We’ll be going back and forth between Norfolk and Omaha until Labor Day, then pretty much be located in northeastern Nebraska,” he told The World-Herald.

Payne said he expected to shoot for a day or two in Lincoln, a couple days in Norfolk “and the rest in small towns orbiting Norfolk.” Former city offices in the Norfolk City Auditorium will become the film crew’s headquarters.

Dennis Houston, president of the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber intends to throw a welcoming party soon after Labor Day as the film crew moves into town.

The black-and-white film will star Bruce Dern as a cantankerous father who wants his estranged son, played by Will Forte, to take him from Montana to Lincoln to claim a sweepstakes prize. Bob Odenkiirk plays Dern’s older son, and Stacy Keach will appear as an old colleague of Dern’s character, Payne said.

Payne said casting was going well and might be completed by mid-September. Casting director John Jackson said about 24 speaking roles remain to be filled.

Payne will preside over auditions Aug. 28 in Omaha for 20 or more people chosen for callbacks after they were videotaped reading for Jackson. More than 3,800 have applied on the Internet to play roles or be extras.

Not all the roles will be cast on the 28th, Jackson said. Residents of the Norfolk area who are interested in appearing as extras or in speaking roles can still email a recent photo and contact information to

Jackson said Payne has also expressed interest in actress June Squibb, who played Jack Nicholson’s wife in “About Schmidt,” to play Dern’s wife in “Nebraska.” A contract has not been finalized.

“The whole process of casting continues,” Jackson said, “and people here will still very much be a part of that.”

Payne said things are coming together steadily as the shooting date approaches.

“All I’m doing now is locations and casting — harvesting the items to put in front of the camera — and having a lot of fun,” he said.

Payne filmed his first three features in his home state: “Citizen Ruth,” “Election” and “About Schmidt.” His last two films, “Sideways” and “The Descendants,” were filmed in California wine country and in Hawaii, respectively.

At a press conference in Norfolk on Wednesday, Payne said he was proud to return to Nebraska.

“There was just something very important to me about the feeling of Nebraska, and just being here,” Payne said.