Press Release Details

Independent film ‘North Passage’ directed by art professor to screen

January 16, 2014

An independent film directed by a UW-Stout art professor and filmed in Dunn County will screen in Menomonie.

Kevin Pontuti"North Passage" by Popple Creek Pictures can be seen during a special cast, crew and community event from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 29, at the Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts. Tickets are sold out.

The director is Kevin Pontuti, an associate professor in the School of Art and Design at UW-Stout. He oversees the entertainment design program.

"North Passage" is a 60-minute film about a fragmented suburban family that flees a cultural meltdown, seeking refuge on their survivalist grandfather's farm. Part north woods fairytale, part psychological thriller, it explores a young girl's psyche as she seeks peace and redemption. Learn more at the film website.

An essay, "Lullaby of the ApocalypseWisconsin's Frontier from the 19th Century to North Passage"by Menomonie writer Devin Corbin, links the film historically with two classic children's stories also set in west-central Wisconsin, the Laura Ingalls Wilder series of pioneer tales and "Caddie Woodlawn." Another essay by Portland writer Brandon Thornburg, "When Going Back is the Only Way Forward," cites the mood of the film as reminiscent of the 1970's film "Aplocalypse Now." The essays can be found on the film website.

The filmmakers had a small budget, partially crowd-funded. They worked with the Menomonie Theater Guild and used regional actors and production volunteers. UW-Stout media specialist Ed Jakober was director of photography.

This is Pontuti's first feature-length film. From 1999-2009, he oversaw Studio P, a Los Angeles art production studio and lab, which created projects for artists and photographers such as Paul McCarthy, Mike Kelly, Annie Leibovitz, Steven Klein, Charlie White, Sharon Lockhart, Vanessa Beecroft and Richard Misrach, as well as commercial clients such as HBO Television, Showtime, NIKE, PUMA, Pepsi and Acura.

The filmmakers are exploring film festival opportunities and hope to hold a world premiere in the spring.



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