Signs of the Time

The Myth, The Mystery, The Legend of Baseball's Greatest Innovation

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Macon Film Festival (MaGa)

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Home to the Allman Brothers, Otis Redding, & Little Richard, Macon GA has a long history of music and the arts.  Created 5 years ago, the Macon Film Festival is continuing that tradition by attracting filmmakers from around the state and country to 2 historic venues in downtown Macon.  The Captiol Theatre and the Douglass Theatre.

Featured at the festival were appearances by Macon natives, Jack McBrayer (Kenneth on 30th Rock) and Screen Actress Illeana Douglas. Signs played Friday evening 2/19/2010 in the Capitol Theatre, a beautiful old theater that has a full balcony, side boxes and a main floor has been converted to have sofas, dining tables and comfy chairs (with a full service bar).  Nice way to experience movies all day long!  Thanks to all that came out to support our film and all the nice comments and Q&A from the audience.  My wife and I enjoyed many of the films that played throughout Saturday as well.

Good luck to the Macon Film Festival I hope you continue to be a success and a beacon for the arts in Georgia.

Written by Don Casper

March 7, 2010 at 4:14 pm

Posted in Film Festivals

On the road again…

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We just returned from screening the film at the Utopia Film Festival in Greenbelt, MD.  Instead of the regular blog writeup, we interviewed each other during the drive back using my crappy cell phone microphone for something a little different.

Links of Interest:

Out in the Silence – Joe Wilson

Prayers for Peace – Dustin Grella

Starship Farragut – Farragut Films

The Fugue – Paul Awad

Fall Colors through Pennsylvania

Fall Colors through Pennsylvania

Annoying Windshield Wipers

Annoying Windshield Wipers

Written by Don Casper

October 26, 2009 at 2:28 pm

Posted in Film Festivals

Award winner in Cooperstown

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Don Casper at the Hall of Fame Exhibit for the History of Baseball and Movies

Don Casper at the Hall of Fame Exhibit for the History of Baseball and Movies

For the 4th year in a row, the Baseball Film Festival has presented newly-released films of any genre with a baseball component.  Stephen Light, the festival organizer, mentioned during his opening remarks that they had more submissions this year than ever and had tough choices to narrow the field down to the 13 films shown over 3 days in Cooperstown at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.  Signs of the Time was accepted as an official selection amongst other feature documentaries and shorts.

The opening night program consisted of a great film called “The Lost Son of Havana” which follows Luis Tiant’s life and career in baseball and as he returns to Cuba for the first time in 46 years.  Executive Producer Bobby Farrelly and Producer Kris Meyer were there to present and give a Q&A.

Our film played right after to a packed house starting around 8:15pm, including a father and son who told us they traveled from Maine to see the film because they knew Bill Werber and had visited with him before he passed away this past spring.  We also had a deaf gentleman from Brockport who came down to see the film for the first time!

Future Hall of Famer Jim Hughes found in Cooperstown!

Future Hall of Famer Jim Hughes found in Cooperstown!

The rest of the weekend was a mix of watching baseball films, meeting filmmakers from around the country, sharing stories and going in all the shops on Main Street.  If you’ve never been to Cooperstown, the fall is a real pretty time to go and the crowds are not huge so it’s easy to get around and see lots of stuff.

A couple noteworthy films that we saw are:

We Believe – a feature documentary about the century long love affair between the city of Chicago and the Cubs.  Although they haven’t won a World Series in over a hundred years, it stills remains one of the most devout fan bases and nicest ballparks in the major leagues.  Director/Writer John Scheinfeld was on hand to present the film.

A Shortstop in China – follows Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr. as he embarks on a 10-day tour of China for the State Department as an official representative of the United States and baseball.  The film was produced by Renegade Productions out of Baltimore.  It’s a very well put together film with alot of great moments.

Ghost Player – reveals the 18 year journey of a group of ballplayers that entertain crowds in Dyersville Iowa where they filmed the movie Field of Dreams.  This group that started as just something fun to do on a Sunday ended up touring throughout Europe and Japan and changing lives.  Filmmaker Joe Schermann presented the film.

Jim Hughes and Don Casper with Award outside the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown

Jim Hughes and Don Casper with Award outside the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown

The Festival culminated with the Awards Ceremony Sunday at 3pm.  Although we were hopeful, being up against the many worthy films we had seen made no guarantee to win something.  However… the film and baseball gods were smiling on us that weekend as we were selected for the 2009 Award for Baseball Excellence.  The Award for Baseball Excellence is given to the film that excels in one or all of the following categories: research, historical context, appreciation of the game, and the embodiment of the spirit of baseball.

2009 Award for Baseball Excellence

2009 Award for Baseball Excellence

Thanks to all the judges and audience that supported our film and to all the other filmmakers who participated.  It is real special to be part of a festival with such passion and achievement within the same genre.

It was extra special for me because my Wife, Mom Dad, Brother, and In-laws were all there to share it with us.

Written by Don Casper

October 5, 2009 at 5:20 pm

Spirit Quest Film Screening

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Caroline Manard, Don Casper, Greg Ropp, Anne Mills, Matthew Johnson, Jim Hughes

Caroline Manard, Don Casper, Greg Ropp, Anne Mills, Matthew Johnson, Jim Hughes

It was a homecoming of sorts.  It was my first return to Erie, PA since we shot part of the movie there in the Summer of 2007.  While planning the movie, we needed to find a location to shoot our Bill Klem re-enactment that could pass as a 1920’s era baseball field.  Ainsworth Field in Erie, PA fit the bill, but in addition the folks we met were excited about being part of the project.  That made a huge difference for us.

John Fette and the Glenwood Baseball League Players became 1920’s ballplayers and the residents of Erie donned period suits and hats, becoming fans at a 1921 ballgame in Boston.  In one long sunny day in August 2007 the shoot was complete.

Soon after, the film went into post-production and about a year and a half later the finishing touches were being put on the film for it’s first public showing.  This past weekend was our first opportunity to share the final product with the folks of Erie.  Spirit Quest Film Festival organizer Greg Ropp really welcomed us and featured our film along with it’s ties to the Erie area.

Although this festival is in it’s first year, it was run quite well, mostly due to Greg’s long experience in running the Eeerie Horror Festival.  The film screened in the historic Erie Playhouse and we had a great turnout including many of the folks who were in the film as actors and extras.

Ray Manard & Don Casper answering audience questions

Ray Manard & Don Casper answering audience questions

We shared in a Q&A with the audience right after the screening.  It was great to come back and share the film with the people who helped make it.  Thanks to Greg Ropp, Matthew Johnson and the many actors and extras of Erie, PA!

Written by Don Casper

September 9, 2009 at 4:50 pm

Posted in Film Festivals

Hardacre Film and Cinema Festival

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August 7-8, 2009

Iowa has lots of corn. It also has deep ties to the game of baseball and lots of movie fans. That’s what I experienced this past weekend while attending the Hardacre Film and Cinema Festival in Tipton, Iowa.

Don Casper in front of the Bob Feller Museum in Van Meter, Iowa

Don Casper in front of the Bob Feller Museum in Van Meter, Iowa

THE TRIP: Ray Manard and I arrived the night before the Festival and had a full day before the festivities were to kick off so we decided it would be appropriate to do a little baseball sightseeing. It was raining pretty hard so instead of driving up to Dyersville to see the baseball diamond where the movie Field of Dreams was shot, we drove west past Des Moines to Van Meter, Iowa, the birthplace of Bob Feller and home to a beautiful museum dedicated to his life and career both in the Navy and on the baseball diamond.

Hardacre_Marquee

The Marquee lit up at night!

Inside the Hardacre Theater

Inside the Hardacre Theater

WHAT IS A HARDACRE? All the films during the fest are screened at the Hardacre Theatre in a the very small and friendly town of Tipton. The theatre was built in 1916 with money donated by a rich dude from Tipton named.. Hardacre. The theatre first served as an opera house but within 3 years was converted to show films. Today it shows primarily second run movies and is open 6 days a week.

Will Valet, Louise Woehrle, Joe Wilson, Ray Manard, Don Casper, Tommy Haines

Will Valet, Louise Woehrle, Joe Wilson, Ray Manard, Don Casper, Tommy Haines

THE FILMMAKERS: We saw a bunch of great films over two days (see rays blog) and met a number of great filmmakers including Joe Wilson who presented his documentary OUT IN THE SILENCE. It is a moving story showing how a courageous teenage boy struggles with coming out about being gay in a small Pennsylvania town that torments him and his family. Also Louise Woehrle presented her doc PRIDE OF LIONS which is a story of hope and renewal in Sierra Leone where a community comes together in order to survive the atrocities of war.

I want to thank Will Valet, all the festival organizers and the great audiences that showed up to support the films. We had a short Q&A session after our film which was a real pleasure to talk with such a passionate and educated group of filmlovers. I would recommend this festival to any filmmaker in the years to come. It was really a great experience.

Written by Don Casper

August 13, 2009 at 1:31 am

Posted in Film Festivals

New Teaser Trailer

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So it’s been awhile since my last post.  We’ve been busy organizing festival screenings and developing some new promotional material.  Here is the world premiere of the new 60 second Teaser Trailer:

I plan to update the blog from every festival as we start to screen the film this summer and into the fall.  In addition we are hard at work editing special features and deleted scenes in preparation for a Home Video Release hopefully by the end of the year.. we’ll see…  Stay tuned to the email list and facebook for more festival announcements coming in the near future.  As always all up-to-date screening information is at http://www.signsofthetimemovie.com/screenings.html

Written by Don Casper

July 31, 2009 at 12:53 am

Posted in Film News

MANY LOOKS OF DON

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Signs of the Time is like many films and documentaries in particular by the fact that it was produced/shot/edited over a long period of time.  There were many times when we were shooting and spending all sorts of time working on it and other times when we were working for a living and not so much was happening.  Anyways in looking back through the pictures we took along the way it became interesting to me how often my hairdo changes.  It’s not so much on purpose, but the fact I’m lazy and don’t go to the hair cutting place on a regular schedule.  So the following is my best attempt to retrace my steps throughout the film and comment on my haircuts.  (This is a Blog exclusive by the way…if you are reading this you should be honored…and probably horrified)

WARNING: The following pictures are shocking.  If you are squemish in any way please stop now and burn your computer.

LOOK: "Full Dude"

FULL DUDE

DATE: Winter/Spring 2006
LOOK:  “Full Dude”

Here we are at the beginning. Pre-production has been going on for a few months and Jim and I have done alot of driving around. Cooperstown, Cincinnati, Cleveland. Lots of site surveys, pre-interviewing subjects for the film and researching photos. I think this photo was taken driving on the NYS Thruway en route to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. It’s my best Jeff Bridges impression and pretty much says to the world…”I don’t give a sh*t” Long hair sucks BTW, it blows around gets in your eyes and takes along time to dry. But everyone looks at you like you are a freak so it does have it’s advantages.
 

TRIMMED UP DUDE

TRIMMED UP DUDE

DATE: June 20, 2006
LOOK: “Trimmed Up Dude”

You know when you go to see your Grandfather and he says something like..”Go get your haircut you little punk!” ??  Well because of this, I figured I would clean myself up and cut my hair before we went to interview Bill Werber.  This was the first shoot of the whole film and we did it on his 98th birthday so I wanted everything to run like clockwork.  Well it didn’t really work.  Just about the first thing Werber said to me was that I needed a haircut.  At that point I kind of regretted not giving him the Full Dude, but even at 98 years old I didn’t want to piss him off so at least I made the attempt.

 
Is this exciting or what!  If you’ve made it this far without throwing up or threatening never to use the internet again, please continue…

THE VISOR

THE VISOR

DATE: July 2006
LOOK: “The Visor”

If you’ve ever grown your hair long before you know that there are the pain-in-the-ass stages.  The times when it’s to long to comb neatly and too short to put in a ponytail or do anything with.  I was starting to bring back the Full Dude, but the hair was too short.  This inspired my next look. This was really the only way of keeping the hair out of my face and I tended to wear it all the time. This picture was taken in Cincinnati after a shoot during dinner at a sushi restaurant.


 

COWBOY

COWBOY

DATE: February 2007
LOOK: “Cowboy”

This one really stumped me.  I truly don’t know what I was thinking.  Maybe I was just watching Tombstone on TBS, or thought…’When in Texas…”  But I went for the shaved chin and little tuft of hair under the lower lip for the 19th century cowboy saloon look.  Not my best effort.  This photo was taken right after interviewing Bobby Bragan in Fort Worth Texas.  It turned out to be a great interview, but we were stuck in airports with delays trying to get there, it was one of those brutal trips where you are sitting on the airplane waiting to takeoff and get de-iced for about 4 hours…we almost didn’t make it.


 

CLEANED UP

CLEANED UP

DATE: February 2008
LOOK: “Cleaned up”

Here I am standing with Ray Manard and Eric McMaster in front of the grip trailer at the loading dock of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.  This marked really the end of principal photography on the project…that’s why we are all smiling.  IAlso we knew in the near future there would be a cold beer in our hands.  We had driven through a snow storm to Cooperstown to shoot inside the Hall of Fame.  It was really a cool experience.  We were the only people amongst all the plaques at night during a blizzard….very surreal.  Anyways, it seems that I went GQ and cleaned it up..Bill Werber would have been proud.

DONO

DONO

DATE: Spring 2009
LOOK: “Dono”

Here I am with Michael Barreca (actor who plays Dummy Hoy) and Jim Hughes (Producer/Screenwriter).  This was taken during the Rochester High Falls International Film Festival right after the screening.  I’m sporting the month overdue dude-like do with the Dono glasses. Well that about takes up up to date…not sure what’s next maybe tattoos and a fu-man-chu???

Written by Don Casper

May 21, 2009 at 2:52 pm

Posted in Production Stories