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THE
BILL REBANE
FILM FESTIVAL

On May 7th, 2005, along with Eric Ott, from Headsville Roll and noted Rebane Scholar, and Dave Kosanke, editor of Liquid Cheese,  traveled north to the land of cheese, to Madison Wisconsin, to witness something that I never would have thought would happen....The Bill Rebane Film Festival.  Now the reason for this doubt wasn't that I didn't think that Rebane's work would deserve such a festival.  On the contrary.  I just couldn't believe that there were that many other people out there that enjoyed this cult director as much as I do.  And unfortunately, I was right.

The event was being hosted by Mike Nelson and Kevin Murphy from Mystery Science Theater.  At 4:00, the reception was suppose to start.  At that time, there were maybe 30 people there....and I think 24 of them were there to see Murphy and Nelson.  Once WISCONSIN MOVIE SCRAPBOOK, the new documentary started, there was maybe 70 people in the theater.  But at the last movie the night, NIGHTMARE (aka BLOOD HARVEST), there was around 20.  It was pretty embarrassing.

BUT...for those who did stick it out for the whole night, it was a great time.  First of all the Orpheum Theatre was awesome.  This is an old theatre, my friends.  One that you are not going to see too many others like it.  It could hold up to 1800 people, and had 2 balconies.  There was even a small restaurant right inside the lobby.  It's a real shame that these types of theatres are a dying breed.

Mr. Rebane and the MST guys where down by the stage signing autographs for a bit before the start of the first movie.  We didn't bother with the MST guys, and went straight to Mr. Rebane to have him sign our GIANT SPIDER INVASION one-sheet.  Of course, he wasn't as impressed with that as he was with my buddy Eric's Turkish poster for SPIDER.  But still, he was more than happy to sign whatever we could put in front of him.  Some of the items we had, like the Turkish poster, he had never seen before.  Once again, it just amazes me how directors never seemed to see a lot of the promotional items that are made to promote their movies.

Then it was time for the premier screening of WISCONSIN MOVIE SCRAPBOOK.  This was a documentary covering Rebane's career.  While most of the footage was just clips from his movies, there were a few interviews, behind-the-scene clips, and such to give you a feel of what this filmmaker was going through.  For those who hadn't seen Rebane's work, this was a great look at the films, including a hilarious British TV pilot that was never picked up about a private detective and his bear....not a real bear mind you, but a guy in a bear costume....walking around in a suit and tie.  It had to be seen to believed.  Can't figure out why it was never picked up....But overall, it was an entertaining 2 hours.

There was a short break before GIANT SPIDER INVASION was to start.  At this time, Murphy and Nelson brought out Rebane to do a little Q&A with the audience.  Joining him were some of the cast members from his movies: Paul Bentzen from GIANT SPIDER INVASION, Jim Iaquinta from RANA: THE LEGEND OF SHADOW LAKE, and Lori Minnetti from NIGHTMARE (aka BLOOD HARVEST).  They also answered a few questions about working with Rebane and on low budgets.

I have seen SPIDER many times before, and I still find it more entertaining every time.  Unfortunately, the movies were shown with a DVD projection, so the quality wasn't as sharp as if it was actual film.  But it was still great to see.  After the movie, there was another Q&A with Rebane and the cast.

Next up was NIGHTMARE, which was called the director's cut of BLOOD HARVEST.  It was actually missing some footage from the original version.  Not really sure why it was cut down, other than maybe some legal reason on ownership perhaps?  But if you're not familiar with this movie, if it wasn't for one of the main cast, it would be your standard 80's slasher film.  But what sets it apart from that is the one and only Tiny Tim, playing the Marvelous Mervo.  Mervo apparently used to be a clown, though we're never really sure.  But none the less, he's running around through the whole movie is his clown makeup and clothes.  Now whether or not, Tiny Tim was really acting, reading the script or just going on his own, he was one strange character.  And that fits perfectly in this film.  So for his performance alone is worth seeking this movie out.

After NIGHTMARE ended, it was time to call it a night.  After being there for about 9 hours, we were more than tired, and still had a 2 hour drive to go.  There were going to play another 5 or 6 films on Sunday, which we did debate coming back for.  But we didn't want to have a Rebane-overdose.  Which, we did learn that we've been mispronouncing his name after all of these years.  It's pronounced re-BANE, not RE-bane.  See...learn something new everyday....even in Wisconsin!

So all in all, we had a great time.  While it was a little depressing to see the small turnout (hopefully on Sunday it was better), like we mentioned earlier, it was well worth my 4 hour trip to Madison.  Plus, I do have to mention, that after parking in a parking garage for about 9 hours, my fee was a whopping $2.00.  If that would have been in Chicago, I probably would have had to taken out a second mortgage on my house to cover it.

As usual, we took a lot pics for everyone to enjoy....even at the expensive of Mr. Rebane's eyes.  Enjoy!


BILL REBANE

        

 

MIKE NELSON, KEVIN MURPHY, & BILL REBANE

 

BILL REBANE AND PAUL BENTZEN

  

 

MIKE NELSON, KEVIN MURPHY, BILL REBANE, & PAUL BENTZEN

        

 

LORI MINNETTI