Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Behind-the-scenes on the set of PBS Director’s Cut

In late October 2008, we appeared on the Wisconsin Public Television show Director’s Cut. We talked about our documentary, Mad City Chickens, showed clips from the film and even had live chickens on set. The episode is still online at the Director’s Cut website.

Before and during the taping of the program, a member of the PBS crew shot some “home video” type footage of the set, the show and the chickens. WPT has now uploaded this footage on youtube so you can get a behind-the-scenes look as Director’s Cut goes to the birds, err, chickens. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Deconstructing Dinner interview now online

Catch the Jon Steinman interview about the Mad City Chickens documentary on his British Columbia-based radio show, Deconstructing Dinner 

Listen to the mp3 audio file of the show.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mad City Chickens Interview on British Columbia Radio Today

Produced and recorded in the studios of Kootenay Co-op Radio in Nelson, British Columbia, Deconstructing Dinner is a Canadian radio program created to dispense and discuss current food issues. The show’s host, Jon Steinman, interviewed us by phone today from his Nelson office.

Currently broadcast on 32 radio stations across Canada, Deconstructing Dinner also appears on over a dozen stations around the world. The show is set to air in a few days. We’ll post links when it’s available.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Mad City Chickens accepted into 2009 Victoria Film Festival!

We recently learned that the Mad City Chickens documentary has been accepted into the 2009 Victoria Film Festival in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. The festival takes place January 30th-February 8th.

VFF attracted 16,500 attendees in 2007 including film directors, producers, distributors and TV programmers. This year’s festival schedule is still being organized; we'll announce the exact screening date and time as soon as it is known.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Madison gets sneak peak at the Making of Mad City Chickens

The Making of Mad City Chickens is a 25 minute behind-the-scenes documentary on the feature-length doc. It's just one of the many extras that will be included on the DVD when released.

If you have cable in Madison and in surrounding Dane County, you'll get a first sneak peak. For the entire month of December, The Making of Mad City Chickens will be airing Mondays at 9:30pm, Wednesdays 5:30pm, Saturdays 3:00pm, and Sundays 10:00pm. WYOU is analog channel 95 and digital channel 991.

Monday, December 1, 2008

MCC interview on CW Network

Emmy Fink, the feature story reporter for the CW Network recently interviewed longtime Madison backyard chicken owner Amy Liem, along with both Tashai & Robert. The subject matter was, of course, Mad City Chickens.

The TV segment will air on the Madison CW channel, this Tuesday December 2nd, 2008 at 6:50am, 7:50am and 8:50am.

Friday, November 28, 2008

New Mad City Chickens vids up on Youtube!

As we draw closer to the spring 2009 DVD release of the Mad City Chickens documentary, we’re also nearing completion on the many DVD extras that will accompany the film. Two sneak peaks have been uploaded today to our Tarazod Films youtube page.

The first clip (shot by our friend Joe Fleischhacker) is behind-the-scenes footage of the MCC premiere at the 2008 Wisconsin Film Festival. We had help firing up the sold out crowd in the form of free goodies including buttons, chocolate eggs and boxes of peeps.

The second youtube vid is one of the many deleted scene extras. With over 40 hours of raw footage from the original tapes, there was just no way to fit it all into the final 80 minute film. So DVD viewers will be treated to a plethora of never-before-seen chicken stories. Hear Elizabeth Arth’s tale of how her pullet named Dolly suddenly turned into a rooster in her backyard.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Mad City Chickens screens in BC Fest TODAY!

The 3rd Annual Urban Issues Film Festival starts today in Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada, and Mad City Chickens is one of the headliner films. The fest takes place at Vancouver Island University. The focus is focused on urban planning and the issues associated with it. With the immense popularity now of the backyard city chicken movement, it’s a subject matter whose time has come.

Monday, November 10, 2008

BC Film Fest nears: MCC gets blogged by the City Farmer

Michael Levenston of the Vancouver-based City Farmer News blog did a write-up on our recent Wisconsin Public Television appearance with a plug for Mad City Chickens which will screen in the upcoming Urban Issues Film Festival in Nanaimo, British Columbia.

Where: Vancouver Island University
When: November 21, 2008.

Friday, October 24, 2008

PBS chicken interview to air October 25th

We were interviewed back in August by Charles Monroe-Kane, host of the Wisconsin Public Television show Director’s Cut. We talked about our documentary, Mad City Chickens, showed clips from the film and even had live chickens on set.

WPT has informed us that the show is scheduled to be aired on their analog channel this Saturday evening October 25th at 10:00 pm. It will also be airing five times on their digital Wisconsin Channel from 10/24-10/27. And for anyone outside of the WPT viewing area, the show will soon be uploaded to their website.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Emmy Fink interview for the CW Network

The new expanded Madison chicken ordinance has garnered a bit of attention. Earlier today Emmy Fink, the feature story reporter for the CW Network interviewed longtime Madison chicken owner Amy Liem along with the both of us. Amy, who appears in our Mad City Chickens documentary, spoke about how she first got into chickens. We talked about the new city ordinance and how our film helped influence its authoring.

Emmy Fink interviews Amy Liem

Tashai, Mallory Wagman (intern), Emmy Fink, Cory Udler (camera), Robert

The interview piece will air in November during The Daily Buzz show on the Madison CW Network, broadcast channel 57, cable channel 2. We’ll post more details when we have them.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Kelley Baker - The Angry Filmmaker comes to town

We spent the weekend at a fantastic filmmaking workshop presented by the Wisconsin Film School and featured Portland-based Angry Filmmaker--Kelley Baker. Two solid days of instruction in the art of low-budget movie-making. Everything from pre-production planning to independent distribution, Kelly knows his stuff. He’s a veteran industry sound designer on such films as MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO, GOOD WILL HUNTING, and FINDING FORRESTER.
Jim Carrier (WFS Director), Robert, Tashai, Kelley Baker (The Angry Filmmaker)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Final Episode of Not Docs airs this month

Not Docs is a television show for the lover of independent short films. Produced by Robert, it has run for the last two seasons on WYOU Madison’s channel 4 (now digital 991). Each episode showcases the work of one or more independent filmmakers with a focus on narratives, experimental and art films rather than documentary…hence the name of the show. But after two years, Robert is ready to move onto new film projects so this month will be the final airing of Not Docs before it goes into repeats.

And it’ll be ending with a bang!

Indie filmmaker Eric Lim’s sci-fi, action-packed, monster invading Zero Trooper-F premiered to a pumped up crowd at the 2008 Wisconsin Film Festival. Now you can see it this month on Not Docs! The film features an appearance by Matt Sloan of youtube’s Chad Vader fame.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Mad City Chickens invited to screen at BC film festival

Our film Mad City Chickens was recently invited to screen at the Urban Issues Film Festival in British Columbia. In it’s third year, the festival links the World Town Planning Day with such issues as food security, hence the backyard chickens theme. This year’s fest is scheduled for November 21st in Nanaimo, B.C.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Tashai interviewed by W.O.R.T Radio about new Madison chicken ordinance

The Madison City Council passed a new chicken ordinance Tuesday night. The previous ordinance first initiated back in 2004 only allowed for single family homeowners to have chickens in Madison. The new law now includes apartment dwellers as well.

The ordinance sponsor, Alderperson Marsha Rummel, first got the idea for changing the laws last spring after interest in backyard chickens grew from the premiere of our film Mad City Chickens at Madison’s Wisconsin Film Festival. Because of this, local W.O.R.T. radio personality Gordon Heingartner gave Tashai a call yesterday and did a short interview with her for the popular news program In Our Backyard.

Listen to the mp3 file of the interview with Tashai and other local chicken experts.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Available Now: T-Shirts with “Egghead” Logo from Mad City Chickens film

In our continuing efforts to raise money for the distribution of the Mad City Chickens documentary, we are now offering T-shirts for sale. They are being sold through our printfection webpage. After printfection fees, we net $10 per shirt. All proceeds will be used towards professional DVD replication, promotion and distribution of the film. Thank you for your support of true independent filmmaking.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Public Television interview on Mad City Chickens film

We were interviewed today at the Madison studios of Wisconsin Public Television. Charles Monroe-Kane, host of the show Director’s Cut, talked with us about our documentary, Mad City Chickens. We brought along a few clips from the film, as well as two of its stars, our former backyard hens Ricka and Flicka (previously known to us as T2 and Red). Their new owners, Jen and Evie Lynch also joined us in the studio and appeared on camera near the end of the show.

The episode will air on Public Television in the near future.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Mad City Chickens film in Backyard Poultry Magazine

Elaine Belanger, the editor of the popular Backyard Poultry periodical, makes an appearance in our Mad City Chickens documentary. Read what she has to say about it and the film in this month’s editorial, Passionate About Poultry.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Ann Arbor the latest city to go Pro-Chicken

While the Mad City Chickens documentary is currently being submitted to festivals across the U.S., Canada, and Australia, there is a fascinating occurrence happening in these countries. The interest in backyard chickens is exploding! It’s an international phenomenon. From Seattle to New York, Vancouver to Toronto, and London to Sydney, urbanites are taking a keen interest in keeping backyard poultry.

We have been contacted by people in communities all across the US and Canada. Old zoning laws are falling by the wayside as cities become more chicken-friendly. Ann Arbor is the latest community to pass pro-chicken laws, allowing hens to be kept in backyards. Others municipalities like Fort Collins and Lawrence are currently in the heat of the battle. One thing is for sure, the city chicken isn’t going away.

Read an article by Judy McGovern from the Ann Arbor News written prior to their city council vote. Mad City Chickens gets a mention.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

International Chicken Stories

The chicken is a cultural universal. Practically every society keeps chickens. In one segment of the Mad City Chickens documentary, we hear poultry tales from Mexico, Gambia, France, and Sri Lanka…everyone has a chicken story.

Woven African tapestry from the Gambia depicting chickens as a form of wealth

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Wisconsin Public Television invites us to talk about Mad City Chickens

We have been invited by Mary Pokorney-Donelan, the producer of a new series at Wisconsin Public Television titled The Director’s Cut . The program will focus on Wisconsin films and filmmakers and will be a combination of running clips of the films and discussions with host Charles Monroe-Kane.

The Director’s Cut will air on WPT’s digital channel, The Wisconsin Channel, and Saturday nights on the analog channel. The episode on Mad City Chickens will be taped later this summer.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Associated Press picks up on Mad City Chickens again

“Madison Alder Marcia Rummel, hopes to change Madison’s 4-year-old chicken ordinance to allow people living in multi-family dwellings to keep chickens. Currently, the law enables only people living in single-family residences to have the fowl.”

The reason given:

“Backyard chickens have become popular in Madison, boosted this year by a documentary on the phenomenon, Mad City Chickens, which debuted at the Madison Film Festival in March.”

The piece was authored by reporter Lynn Welch of the Capital Times, then picked up nationwide by the Associated Press.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Blog Melt

We were having some routine maintenance done to our blog site, when it experienced a meltdown. The result was a loss of all content from the last year! Luckily, 24 hours later, it has now mostly been recovered, although we are still without our blogroll and sidebar links. We hope to have them restored shortly.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

MCC Update: Film Festival Submissions Continue

There are over 80,000 film festivals worldwide. The top 15 or 20 are the most difficult to get into, but they of course offer the best exposure and chances of selling a film.

As the season progresses, more festivals are opening up their “call for entries”. We are continuing to submit Mad City Chickens to film fests across the U.S. and Canada, first to some of the major venues to be followed shortly by numerous others in well chosen cities. Unfortunately, it can take months to hear back as to whether a film has been accepted or not.

Hurry up and wait.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Not All Producer Reps are Created Equal!

A Producer Rep can become attached to a film at any stage in the project, from development, during production, or simply at the distribution phase. For filmmakers, the best Producer Rep is someone who feels just as strongly about the film as they do.

So what is a Producer Rep? The person with the connections…connections with the major festivals, connections with the major distribution companies…the person who can make the deal.

The problem is…are they telling you the truth? Do they actually have these connections with people in high places? Or do they just want a large (non-refundable) chunk of money up front, without caring whether the film is sold or not?

We are currently fielding calls from Producer Reps for Mad City Chickens. And it has been a very interesting stroll into the art business of filmmaking.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Wisconsin Trails Magazine write-up on Mad City Chickens film

The backyard chicken craze is really catching on and the media is picking up on it. Mad City Chickens gets noticed by writer Elizabeth Wegner in the June 2008 issue of Wisconsin Trails Magazine.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Photoshop Workshop

Today we attended a Photoshop CS3 workshop with Bert Monroy in Milwaukee. Monroy is one of the pioneers of digital art and the photo realist genius of our times.

In the Golden Age of Hollywood, studios used to employ a host of matte painters to create backdrops for sets. In the Digital Age, matte painters still “paint”, but they often do it in programs like Photoshop.

Damen by Bert Monroy (A digital painting…not a photograph…of the Blue Line at Damen Station in Chicago, the image contains over 15,000 Photoshop layers.)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Avid Workstation

We visited our friend Valerie yesterday to check out her state-of-the-art Avid editing workstation. It’s called Edit Envy!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Pixelation Fixed! All Systems Go for MAD CITY CHICKENS

The re-edit of the Mad City Chickens film is complete, and the pixelation problems that we’d been experiencing (on and off over the course of several months) are finally resolved.



Submissions to film festivals across Canada and the U.S. are now back on track.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Pixelation Delay

Mad City Chickens was shot mainly in the SD (Standard Definition) format but not entirely. We did mix a number of HD (High Definition) clips into the final edit, and this has caused a slight delay in our film festival submission process. We’ve encountered some pixelation issues when compressing the film onto a standard DVD…too much information, not enough disc space. The problem will be resolved shortly, however, and festival submissions will continue.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


We were thrilled with the enthusiastic audience reaction to Mad City Chickens during the recent screening at the Wisconsin Film Festival.

However, standing in the back of the room, we noticed a couple secondary pieces that didn’t quite work as we’d envisioned. (There’s nothing like a public screening to help iron out the kinks.) So we’ve spent the last two weeks re-editing those segments to bring them up to par with the rest of the film.

Word of the film is getting out! We’ve been contacted by a Los Angeles Producer Rep who might be interested in assisting us in the film’s distribution. And in the meantime, Chickens continues to get invites from backyard poultry groups from across the U.S. and Canada. From Nova Scotia to British Columbia and Boston to San Francisco, people are looking for filmic support in their quest to keep chickens in the city, support that we’d gladly give.

However and unfortunately, some of the major film festivals have strict restrictions on where and how many times a film can screen before they get it. So at the moment, we are limited on our public showings until we hear back from these top festivals. But rest assured, we’re planning on Mad City Chickens screening from coast-to-coast!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

La Fée Rouge gets invite from Underground Film

Our docu-fantasy short La Fée Rouge has recently been invited by UndergroundFilm.com to be included in their anthology of online films.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The 2 Elizabeths of Mad City Chickens

Elizabeth Arth and Liz Perry (at the film fest premiere of MCC)

The tales and events in Mad City Chickens are all woven around the two main stories presented in the film. These are the experiences of Elizabeth’s family raising their first flock, and Liz’s rescue of a discarded factory farm bird she found at a landfill.

Photo by Colin Cameron

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Friday, April 4, 2008

Mad City Chickens PREMIERES at 2008 Wisconsin Film Festival! Read the Reviews

We were blown away by the turnout for the premiere of Mad City Chickens! It was an absolute pleasure to interact with the crowd before the show as our crew handed out MCC buttons, chocolate eggs, and boxes of peeps. The line of people included many of the chicken owners featured in the film as well as Madison’s own Mayor Dave Cieslewicz.

Read the reviews by Kristian Knutsen of the Isthmus Daily Page and those of Jane Burns & Katie Dean in the Capital Times.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Mad City Chickens in the WFF makes FRONT PAGE News!

OMG! With the premiere of Mad City Chickens happening tonight at the Wisconsin Film Festival, the documentary is making some headline news.

Wisconsin State Journal offers up some tasty morsels on the film with a front page spread. Read page 1 and page 2.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Onion writes about MCC

Check out the Mad City Chickens article written by Katjusa Cisar in this week’s local section of the Onion.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Dane 101 interview on Mad City Chickens

Erin Rasmussen, a writer for the online publication Dane 101, sat down with us the other day (over a cup of chai) and asked a whole lotta questions about Mad City Chickens. Here’s what she wrote.