Sunday, September 3, 2017

Greetings (once again) from the Alaska State Fair!

We're celebrating our seventh consecutive year of sharing Matanuska Colony history in the historic Wineck Barn at the Alaska State Fair. Each day throughout the Fair we show our films Alaska Far Away and Where the River Matanuska Flows, as well as vintage newsreels from the early days of the Colony in the 1930s. Since 2014, the Palmer Historical Society has shared the Wineck Barn with us, presenting wonderful displays of historical items from their vast collection of Colony memorabilia. (This year's display honors the Colony's military veterans - it's a must-see.) 
The historic Wineck Barn, right inside the Red Gate at the Alaska State Fair. 

Audiences enjoying a screening of "Alaska Far Away"

Come see the World War II items donated by Colony veterans.

One of the main draws for our visitors, particularly the children, is the models of Colony buildings. These models were built by Colony kids from the Loyer family as part of a float in the Colony's 75th Anniversary parade in 2010. The display includes the Loyer's original colony house and barn (fully decorated inside), a barnyard, canvas tents like the ones the colonists lived in when they arrived in 1935, the Colony's Trading Post, and even the Palmer water tower. 

Many visitors enjoy reading the history of the Colony on our informational display, and browsing through the books and reference materials we have on display. 

But the best part of all is the fact that every single day during the Fair, history walks in the door of the Wineck Barn. People come in to learn about the local history, but also to share their own stories. We love meeting our visitors and swapping stories, and every day in the Barn is a new adventure. 

Come join us!

(Below: On August 28th we celebrated Earl Wineck's 90th birthday in the Wineck Barn. Earl's dad, Ed Wineck, built the barn in 1936. Several Colony families dropped by to wish him a happy birthday, and Earl got up and shared some of his stories about coming to Alaska, and growing up in the barn. It was a very special day.)

Friday, May 19, 2017

You "Like" us! You really "Like" us!

Something fascinating happened this month. Well, WE find it fascinating.

On May 10th we commemorated the 82nd anniversary of the arrival of the first Matanuska colonists in Palmer, Alaska with a post on our Facebook page. We posted a couple of photos, and a link to our trailer. A few people "liked" the post. A few commented. And then a few more. And then more, and more, and more, and....

As of today, 61 people have shared that post, and it has been seen by 3,648 people. Wow! For us, that's the equivalent of going viral.

But wait, there's more. The post we shared one year BEFORE, for the 81st anniversary, suddenly went viral, too. Out of the blue, it has been shared 872 times, reaching over 57,945 people!

What does this mean? Well, in simple terms, of course, Facebook's algorithm is set up so, literally, the more times your post is seen, the more it spreads, and the more people see it. But we think something else is going on.

When we filmed the interviews for Alaska Far Away and Where the River Matanuska Flows, we were interviewing primarily the original colonists (36 of them) and many of the "colony kids." Most of those interviews were filmed in 1994-1997 - over 20 years ago. By now, all of the original colonists are gone, as well as many of the colony kids. But a whole new generation is now discovering our films, and discovering that their families were part of a unique part of our country's history. They are proud that their grandparents, or great-grandparents, or great-great-grandparents, were part of the Matanuska Colony, and they are sharing that pride in the ultimate 21st-century manner - on social media.

We welcome all our new "friends" on Facebook, and encourage you to share this wonderful story with your family and friends. Thanks for "Liking" us!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Small Business Saturday (or every day)

As a real live small business (really, it's just the two of us, Paul and Joanie), we applaud the concept of Small Business Saturday. In fact, we encourage people to support small businesses EVERY day. For example, you can purchase our films from Amazon, or you can purchase them directly from us. Either way, you are happy; you get our films. Yay! But when a customer purchases our films from Amazon, they keep a large chunk of the purchase price. When you purchase directly from us, on the other hand, you are supporting a pair of real live filmmakers, and you get friendly, personal service (Paul packages up and mails every single film; he's really good at that). That way, we're ALL happy. 

If you are lucky enough to live in the Matanuska Valley, you can also purchase our films in person from some wonderful local sources: the Palmer Historical Society (at the Colony House Museum); the Palmer Museum and Visitor Center; and at our favorite Alaska bookstore, Fireside Books

Thank you for supporting small businesses, and thank you for supporting our films!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

At Last: Alaska Far Away Comes to the Bay Area!

It has been a long time coming, but within the past month Alaska Far Away finally debuted in the San Francisco Bay Area - both in a live screening AND on public television!

Thank you to everyone who came to our free screening at the Letterman Digital Arts Center on July 15th. We are grateful to our friends at LDAC for allowing us to use their beautiful theatre, and everyone enjoyed spending some quality time with Yoda, Darth Vader, and the Imperial Storm Trooper before the show.
Paul and Joanie greeting an Imperial Storm Trooper

Our enthusiastic audience!

Everyone seemed to enjoy the screening, including a lively question-and-answer session afterwards. It is always a pleasure to show our film to a live audience, but holding a screening in our home town in front of family and friends was especially sweet.

And then on Sunday, August 7, we received more good news: Alaska Far Away received its public television broadcast premiere on KRCB-TV. We hadn't received advance notice, but that night several of our friends and family started texting the good news to us - our film was on the air. Many thanks to KRCB, which broadcasts from Rohnert Park down through San Francisco. Let's hope the other Bay Area stations pick it up as well. If we get advance notice of any broadcasts, we will post them on our Facebook page, on Twitter, and, if possible, by sending out an email to our followers.

Next stop: We're heading back to the Alaska State Fair in a couple of weeks. Stay tuned for more news!