Appleton-based film debuts in Midwest

Since it was filmed in Appleton and heavily involved Lawrence students, there was a reception and movie premiere of “Bucky and the Squirrels,” written by Los Angeles-based filmmaker Alan Katz. The reception and premiere took place at Valley Grand Cinema in Appleton, Wisc. on Saturday, Jan. 27. The reception started at 6 p.m. and the movie was shown at 7:15 p.m. with a shuttle leaving from the Wriston turnaround at 5:45 p.m. and returning at 9 p.m.

“Bucky and the Squirrels” is a mockumentary about a one-hit wonder rock band that crashed in the Swiss Alps in 1968. Fifty years later, the crashed plane was found with the band frozen alive inside. The film tells the story of the four band members as they attempt to start life again through a series of news reports. The film was released in theaters in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Kansas and Missouri on Friday, Jan. 26, and will open in theaters in Arizona and California on Friday, Feb. 2.

Alumnus Nathan Lawrence ‘15, who was a personal assistant (PA) when the film was being produced at Lawrence produced a documentary about the making of “Bucky and the Squirrels.” “[The film] was conceived to be filmed here in the Lawrence community and the broader Appleton area, to show off this area as the really cool place that it is,” said Lawrence in his documentary, “Bucky and the Squirrels: Behind the Scenes”.

Many other students worked on the movie such as production designer Jonathan Vanko ’13 and choreographer Victoria Chung ’14. Zach Ben-Amots ‘16 and Maisha Rahman ‘14 were also PAs. All found it to be an enriching experience that gave them insight into the world of film production.

Rahman ‘14 said in “Bucky and the Squirrels: Behind the Scenes” that while her job as a PA mostly involved basic tasks, such as getting materials, there were opportunities to do more. There was an instance when the director was not there, so the assistant director (AD) took charge and needed someone to take over the role of AD. “I was AD for the day and it was amazing” said Rahman.

Other Lawrence community members were involved in making the film such as former Film Studies Director Catherine Tatge ’72 who has a producer credit on the film. In the documentary of the film, Tatge states that alumni Julie ’61 and Tom Hurvis ‘60, who were instrumental in donating to create the Hurvis Center for Film Studies, thought that it would be good for students to have an experience working on a feature film.

Just recently, Dauntless Studios acquired the film and agreed to release it to a forty-five theater run. “Bucky and the Squirrels” will also be released on DVD later in spring 2018. Katz stated in an announcement of the film’s release: “I was thrilled when Mark Sonoda of Dauntless Studios approached me and loved and understood the film. So, we agreed to go into business with him to distribute it.”