Saturday, January 17, 2015

On the air again: More broadcasts

There are few things more gratifying to a filmmaker than to show your film to a live audience. We've been blessed with many opportunities for live screenings: film festivals from Alaska to Northern Ireland; community screenings from coast to coast in theatres, schools, colleges, churches, libraries, and historical societies; and, of course, our repeated visits to the Alaska State Fair, where we are honored to show our films several times a day in an historic Matanuska Colony barn. Nothing compares with being able to watch an audience become engrossed in your film, and to answer their questions and discuss it with them afterwards. 

But films can also be shown on television, and Alaska Far Away has developed a life of its own on the public television circuit. Thanks to the good folks at KAKM/Alaska Public Media and American Public Television, Alaska Far Away has now been shown from Miami to Fairbanks, from Maine to Los Angeles, from Bemidji to Austin. Some stations show it over and over again (thank you, ThinkTV in Ohio!), and when we sat down to crunch the numbers, they looked like this:

- 55 public television stations
- in 29 states
- for a total of 335 broadcasts
- to a potential audience of 107,665,518

Those numbers blew us away. That means that a whole lot of people we've never met have been watching Alaska Far Away in the comfort of their own homes. 

Now, remember that "potential audience" means every person in a household with a television set within range of those 55 stations. And, of course, no one show - not even the Superbowl or the Oscars - is watched by absolutely everyone. However, if even 1% of that potential audience has seen our film, that would be well over one million people. We'd be pretty happy with a number like that.

And if you haven't seen it on your local station yet, there are a few more chances coming up in the next week:

Idaho Public Television
Sunday, January 18
11:00 a.m.
Additional broadcast 1/19 at 1:00 a.m.

Oregon Public Television

Sunday, January 18
7:30 p.m.

Colorado Public Television
Saturday, January 24
9:00 p.m.

A full house for the screening at the Moose Lake Public Library in Moose Lake, Minnesota
Glamorous marquee for our film festival debut in Muskegon,, Michigan

Daily screenings in the Wineck Barn at the Alaska State Fair

An overflow audience at Nicolet Technical College in Rhinelander, Wisconsin

Saturday, September 27, 2014


Now that we're home from the Alaska State Fair and (mostly) unpacked, we wanted to take a moment to bask in the afterglow, remember the beauty of the Matanuska Valley, and reflect on what it all meant. 

For us, the Alaska State Fair is about more than just the fabulous food, fun, and heart-stoppingly beautiful scenery. As a filmmaker, it gives us a rare and precious opportunity to show our films all day for 12 straight days to live audiences, and watch the audiences as they are moved, entertained, informed, and changed by what they see. We get to talk to our guests and teach them, and learn from them. We are part of the process of preserving and passing along history, and introducing children to the fun and excitement of learning about people who came before them. We are honored to listen to the stories of Alaskans who walk through the door and share their remarkable histories with us. It is a tremendous opportunity that most filmmakers don't get, and we treasure it.

Thank you to the good folks at the Alaska State Fair for bringing us back each year, and for giving us the opportunity to share this history in the magnificent Wineck Barn.
Thank you to the schools who send their third-grade classes to learn about Matanuska Colony history each day during the Fair, and to the students who are so eager to learn.
Thank you to the Palmer Historical Society for doing such a wonderful job of decorating the Barn this year, creating fun and informative exhibits, and providing such great docents to help welcome our guests.
Thank you to Helen Hegener and her family for helping out in the Barn, and for providing vintage farm implements to help bring the story of the colonists to life.
Thank you to Janet Kincaid, Sheri Hamming, Earl and Rebecca Wineck, Wayne Bouwens, Roy Hoskins, and everyone else who helped make our stay at the Fair both possible, and successful. 

And, of course, warm thanks to everyone who came by the Wineck Barn during the Fair to watch our films, share their stories, admire the Barn, and help us keep this community going.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Come to the Fair!

We're back at the Alaska State Fair through September 1st. Stop by to visit us at the Wineck Barn - right inside the Red Gate - to watch our films, view our wonderful exhibits, or just get off your feet for awhile and enjoy a chat. The Wineck Barn is open from 12-8 weekdays, 10-8 on weekends and Labor Day. Here's a sneak peek at what goes on at the Fair:

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Going to Alaska? Come to the Matanuska Valley

While there may still be snow on the ground in Alaska - and in Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, and many other parts of the country - this is the time many start planning a summer visit to Alaska. And we'd like to suggest: if you're coming to Alaska, you shouldn't miss the Matanuska Valley.

We love the valley, of course, because its rich colony history inspired us to make Alaska Far Away. But we also keep coming back because of the valley's breathtaking beauty, small-town charm, and friendly people - and, of course, the Alaska State Fair!

Last year at the Fair, visitors from all over the country stopped by to visit us in the historic Wineck Barn to tell us that their trip to the Matanuska Valley was inspired by watching Alaska Far Away on their local public television station. They loved visiting the Wineck Barn at the Fair, and the Colony House Museum in downtown Palmer. We heard over and over again that knowing the history of the valley made their visit to Alaska richer and more enjoyable for the entire family.

Last year we wrote in this blog:
"If you've never been to Alaska in the summer, GO! And if you have, GO AGAIN! And if you're going, don't miss the beautiful Matanuska Valley. Every time we return, it takes our breath away. Majestic mountains, glaciers, rivers, rolling farmland, friendly people, intriguing history, and the most delicious produce you're ever going to taste make it a wonderful place to visit."  

And we still mean it. If you're planning a trip to Alaska, visit the Matanuska Valley. Like us, you might just keep coming back again and again.

Traditional native blanket toss at Alaska State Fair
Third grade students having fun with Matanuska Colony history in the Wineck Barn
Be sure to try the salmon quesadillas at the Alaska State Fair!
You have to come to the Fair to see Matanuska's world-famous Giant Vegetables.