Film Festival Schedule

This year’s White Light City Film Festival received over 60 submissions from filmmakers in 9 countries — and a record number of submissions from Nebraska filmmakers. The talent and passion for storytelling that all the submissions exhibit is impressive and inspiring!

The schedule for the films selected for this year’s 2019 White Light City Film Festival is detailed below. Please note that specific film screening times will be added after judging has been completed.

A downloadable and printable PDF of the schedule will be available soon.


Workshops • Film Screenings • Festivities • and a Special Feature

Join us for a day of fun, festivities, and film commUNITY building!

Location: Swanson Hall at Midland University in Eppley Auditorium, E 8th St, Fremont, NE 68025

Please note: This schedule is subject to change without notice.


12:00pm - 1:30pm

Workshop: From Storyboard to Edit

Instructor: David M. Weiss

David will break down his approach to storyboarding, shot selection, and editing. Tying the boards directly to the final edit. The workshop should give you a better understanding of basic storytelling within the language of cinema.


David M. Weiss is an accomplished editor, director, and producer. His approach to film and production is rooted in art and design. He uses color, light, and movement to evoke emotion within the audience. His work has appeared on award winning commercials for the NCAA, First National Bank, Ace Hardware, HBO, and Boys Town to name a few. His documentary and narrative films have garnered awards and critical acclaim at numerous festivals from Hollywood to Montreal bringing a fresh perspective on filmmaking and production.


1:30pm - 2:30pm

Workshop: Film Shop—Breaking the Barrier

Instructor: Lucis Sheridan

This workshop will cut to the heart of getting you prepared and in front of investors and studio heads. You’ll learn how to take a script and formulate a proper pitch for your film, including how to build a pitch packet, and how to contact the right people to help get your project made. When stifled by red tape or barriers, filmmakers often give up on the idea of going big. This class will take the fear out of figuring out where to go next with your idea or script. 
Lucis Sheridan is a filmmaker based out of Lincoln, Nebraska who works as a producer and director. He has a deep knowledge of the film industry and has worked with Cadillac, Ford, and NBCUniversal on national film projects, as well as produced and directed music videos for Grammy Award-winning artists. These experiences have allowed Lucis to foster relationships with some of best and brightest in Hollywood including: Deepak Nayar (producer of “Bend it like Beckham”), Sandy Gurshow (former president of FOX), Thomas Augsberger (executive producer of “Mr. Brooks”), Bill Pullman (executive producer/actor of “Lost Highway” abd “Independence Day”), and Colin Firth (executive producer/actor of “Kings Speech”).
Lucis was born and raised in Lincoln, Nebraska and found a love for filmmaking early on. As a true devotee of film, he took advantage of every opportunity to make movies. By high school graduation, Lucis’s command of film was beyond contemporaries many years his senior. In order to continue growing, he moved to California and began work for Filmaka Productions and Cypress House Productions. It was in this capacity that Lucis spearheaded the production and shooting of a wide range of feature films, commercials, and other industry short form products.

2:30pm - 3:30pm

Workshop: Idea to Outline

Instructor: Ehren Parks

“Idea to outline” is a screenwriting workshop designed to take an idea to logline to act structure to outline. This step is often left out by beginning writers and leaves them scratching their head and given up 40 to 50 pages through the first draft. We’ll talk about the essential elements that turn an idea into a story that can be told on screen. Participants will have a chance to pitch their ideas, receive feedback, and figure out their film’s act structure. 


Ehren Parks has written and produced for ESPN, Fox Sports, PBS, TruTV, Endeavor, IMAX, and The Gates Foundation among others. He produced the horror films Fields of the Dead, Demon, and Monster X along with the documentary My Life in China. La Flamme Rouge, the film he produced in Fremont this summer, is slated for a festival release in 2020.

Ehren graduated from University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a Bachelor of Journalism in Broadcasting and holds MFA degrees from UCLA (Screenwriting) and The New School (Fiction). He’s taught screenwriting at University of Nebraska-Omaha, The New York Film Academy-Burbank, and Midland University. Ehren currently serves as adjunct faculty at UNO and runs his production company, Long Tale, which is incorporated in Fremont.


3:30pm - 4:30pm

Workshop: Q&A with Mid-America Artists — The Midwest’s Newest Artists Agency

Instructors: Mary Douglass and Michael Semrad, Jr.

Mary and Michael will present what their agency has to offer everyone involved in the film industry, from talent to production. In addition to the topics presented below, there will be plenty of time for Q&A.

Topics covered for actors will include:

  • Auditioning for Film: Tips & Things to Avoid
  • Photos, Headshots, and Resumes
  • Experience: Who can audition? How much experience is required?
  • What to expect on a shoot — the details!

Topics presented for musicians will include:

  • Electronic Press Kits: Website, photos, videos
  • Social Media Presence
  • Get out there and do it!
  • Gear: Questions & Answers
  • Making money as a professional musician



Mary Douglass has extensive experience teaching, directing and acting for the camera as well as on stage. Mary is a member of SAG/AFTRA and AEA and her credits are extensive and varied. Mary decided, along with her partner Michael Semrad, to forge together their experience as artists and producer/directors to create a talent agency for actors, musicians and comedians – Mid America Artists or MAA. Mary has a solid reputation and credibility in all aspects of the business and is constantly seeking new talent as well as honing the skills of the more experienced through workshops, private acting lessons and consultations.

Mary has been working with actors and directors of all ages and backgrounds for as long as she can remember. She made a decision many years ago to be compensated for her time and talent and has never looked back. In addition to acting and casting, Mary has also directed over 60 theatrical productions, many of which were highly successful. Mary was named by The Chicago Sun Times as one of the top ten directors in Chicago, Illinois during her tenure there.

Mary firmly believes that artists should be recognized for their talent and showcased appropriately, Mary has lived, worked and toured all over the U.S. and is excited to use her education, experience to help other artists achieve success.


Michael Semrad, Jr. has been working in the industry of entertainment for nearly 30 plus years. As a childhood entertainer, his career started while performing alongside his Father and uncles at State and County fairs. He has continued to grow as a singer / songwriter, producer, talent agent, philanthropist, and advocate for fair publishing rights.

Being a musician and artist in Lincoln, Nebraska has been life changing for Semrad. He and his wife Kerry head The Bottle Tops, one of the midwest’s premiere honky tonk groups. Upon moving back to Nebraska from Chicago, Semrad quickly realized how a communal and thriving arts scene was the answer. Nebraska became a fertile ground to plant ideas, become activists, and watch an already thriving arts scene grow to offer so much more. Semrad started a record label called Sower Records, in which they just released their 26th album on vinyl. In 2017, he helped organize a famed concert, ‘Harvest the Hope, to stop the Keystone XL pipeline, bringing Willie Nelson, Lukas Nelson, Neil Young and tribal leaders together in Nebraska. Michael Semrad continues to organize groups of creative minds to make positive change all across the nation.


5:00pm - 7:00pm

Film Festival Festivities

Omaha Virtual Reality will have two virtual reality games for you to experience. Ride an elevator to the top floor of a skyscraper and “walk the plank” to view the sky above and the street below, or transform into a space pirate and fight the bad guys! This is a don’t-miss experience, and we’re thrilled to welcome Omaha Virtual Reality back to the White Light City Film Festival!

Food Trucks! Details coming soon about which food trucks will be available.

Friday Film Screenings

5:00pm – 7:00pm:  This two-hour block will feature the following film festival submissions. Please note all start times are approximate.

5:00pm  Tough Love Show

Filmmaker: Tommy Tucker
Category: Short—Documentary

In 2017, Tommy Tucker’s son was struggling in school. Tucker went viral in 2017 for holding up a sign at an NBA game with a message to his son: “Thomas, get your grades back up and next time you’ll be here. Love, Dad.”

Tucker put this movie together in hopes of motivating other families who might be going through similar situations. He wants people to leave the film feeling inspired to never give up on a struggling child.

5:42pm  Believables

Filmmaker: Joe Lombard
Category: Short—Documentary

Three young adults share important insights on how they dealt with and coped with being on the receiving end of unwanted sexual advances. Adult theme, parental guidance/judgment recommended for those under 18 years of age.

6:00pm  Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows

Filmmaker: Elaine Zhang
Category: Short—Drama/Socially Conscious

In an upper-middle class family in Los Angeles, tensions between a Jewish mother-in-law and her black daughter-in-law come to a head following the death of a family member.

6:15pm  Snake River Rising

Filmmaker: Jay Pickett
Category: Short—Drama/Socially Conscious

A stranger appears in a small town during Christmastime and helps a weary mother and her son by repaying a debt from long ago.

6:40pm  Your Reality

Filmmaker: Tatjana Anders
Category: Short—Drama/Socially Conscious

Your Reality film tackles the current topic of Gaslighting, with the goal to raise awareness of this dangerous mental abuse and help the victims recognize its signs.

The film follows a successful young marketing executive, who after moving in with her charming photographer boyfriend is in danger of losing everything, as she becomes increasingly unsure of her ability to trust her own memory.


7:00pm - 9:00pm

Guest Speakers & Special Feature Film

Stacy Heatherly, Founder of The Digg Site Productions and Distribution and Development Director with the Eastern Nebraska Film Office, will present a look at two exciting film industry projects already underway in Fremont: The renovation and reopening of the historic Empress Theatre and the development of an equestrian training facility and film studio.

Special Feature Film Screening — “And the Floods Came: Nebraska 2019”
This is the story of the worst natural disaster in modern Nebraska history. In a day-by-day, and at times minute-by-minute account of the March flooding, NET News documents the stories of survivors, first responders, and local communities. While the film looks back at the disaster, it also looks forward — hearing from those in both urban and rural areas who are unsure about their future, but determined to rebuild their lives and communities.

Q&A with Bill Kelly and John Haxby, part of the team behind NET’s “And the Floods Came” film.

Bill KellyBill Kelly
Director/Writer: And the Floods Came

As Senior Producer at NET News, Bill Kelly develops, researches, and writes television documentaries and radio news stories for NET’s statewide network of television and radio stations as well as preparing online content. “And the Floods Came” is the 20th documentary he has produced over his 40 years in broadcast journalism.

Notable documentaries produced feature aspects of the criminal justice system. Among them is CSI On Trial probed a controversial case of evidence-planting, earning Kelly a Heartland EMMY award and the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Awards from the Society of Professional Journalists.

Others include Small Town Cops, Marijuana Crossroads and, his very first documentary, Charles + Caril: Starkweather 30 years later.

As a storyteller, Kelly has been drawn to a wide range of topics in his documentaries, including serial killers, treating patients with the Ebola virus, surprising ties between Nebraska and Cuba, binge drinking, restoring steam-powered locomotives, and the early days of television in the Midwest.

As a contributing radio reporter for NET News, Kelly’s concentration has been coverage of the state and federal courts and justice issues. He has reported on death penalty cases, legal challenges to same-sex marriage, the impact of legalized marijuana on Nebraska, and land rights issues related to the Keystone XL Pipeline. He serves on the Bench/Media Committee formed by the Judicial Branch of the State of Nebraska, advocating for expanded availability of audio and video in courtrooms for journalists.

Kelly previously worked at WOWT-TV in Omaha, Nebraska, and television stations in Kansas and Indiana. He grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and graduated from Purdue University.

John HaxbyJohn C. Haxby
Contributing Photographer: And the Floods Came

After 40-plus years as a photojournalist and storm-chaser, John Haxby became to be known as a consummate professional in providing quality video capturing the heart of stories like the fatal crash of Air Wisconsin flight to the tornados that wiped out Pilger, Nebraska.

For 29 years, he worked as a videographer with KMTV-3 in Omaha, covering many of the biggest stories in the Midwest. His freelance work includes providing news footage and setting up live remotes for CBS, ABC, CNN, and Fox News. His first big story was the explosion and fire at the Pathfinder Hotel in Fremont, which he covered as a freshman at Midland College.

Combining his skills as a trained weather spotter, Haxby has been both a photographer and on-air resource for the Weather Channel and Weather National. During the Nebraska floods of 2019, Haxby was one of the few journalists who elected to stick it out on the “Island of Fremont” when that community was cut off from the rest of the state by high water.


Festival Film Screenings

Location: Swanson Hall at Midland University in Eppley Auditorium, E 8th St, Fremont, NE 68025

Please note: This schedule is subject to change without notice.


9:00am - 11:00am

Saturday Film Screenings

9:00am  A Girl Like Me

Filmmaker: Melissa Glasscock
Category: Short—Family/Animation

This animated short highlights accomplishments of women in the fields of science, engineering, technology, math, the arts, sports and humanitarian work.

9:10am  A Congo’s Journey: A Film to Reconnect Humans with Nature

Filmmaker: Marco Gomez Lerin
Category: Short—Documentary

This is the first documentary-film in the world in which a baby monkey tells its own story addressing the human being.

A Congo’s Journey, is a non-profit documentary film that has been created by Marco G. Lerin for the Jaguar Rescue Center, located in the South Caribbean of Costa Rica, in order to give a voice to the animals and motivate the human beings towards the protection of the natural environment in which they live.

9:30am  Ripped Pages

Filmmaker: Landon Fiscus
Category: Short—Drama/Socially Conscious

A mother and son deal with their faulted relationship.

9:42am  Focus

Filmmaker: Landon Fiscus
Category: Short—Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Innovative

Pay attention … you might miss it.

9:45am  Prologue

Filmmaker: Mark Tardi
Category: Short—Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Innovative

It could be Chernobyl, Chicago, or a dystopian near future; and it could be a world more wolf than lion, more hyena than either. “Prologue,” a video poem, is based on an excerpt from book The Circus of Trust by Mark Tardi.

9:50am  Parricide

Filmmaker: Faustus McGreeves
Category: Short—Family/Animation

When a boy and his father’s friend both get ditched, they join forces to have bonding time without him.

10:10am  Chatter Box — Cornhusker Hero

Filmmaker: Donnie Dodge
Category: Short—Documentary

Bob Chatt grew up in Northeast Nebraska in the 1920’s. After college a recommendation by his uncle put the wheels of fate in motion. He would meet the fight of his life in the South Pacific in the form of a 1500 ton Japanese Destroyer named “Rough Tide” behind the controls of a B-25 bomber that he nicknamed, “Chatter Box.”

10:30am  Catching Up

Filmmaker: Brandon Fiscus
Category: Short—Drama/Socially Conscious

Old friends go on one last road trip before life really shows them their path.

10:50am  It’s OK

Filmmaker: Aaron Daniel Annas
Category: Short—Drama/Socially Conscious

It’s OK is the story of a man’s triumphant journey from life to death.


11:00am - 1:00pm

11:00am  The Birds of Heaven

Filmmaker: Paul Andrew Schreck
Category: Short—Documentary

Exploring the mating, migration, mythology surrounding, and dangers to Cranes, with a focus on Sandhill Cranes and their springtime siege in Nebraska – an annual gathering of more than half a million birds.

11:15am  American Mullet: Legend of the Silver Fox

Filmmaker: Ryne Hastings
Category: Feature—Documentary

The film chronicles events of The Fort Wayne Mullet Man, Patrick Kopacz, and his evolution into a Facebook folk hero over the past three decades. Two best friends turn the city of Fort Wayne, Indiana upside down to unlock the mystery of what draws strangers to the Silver Fox and to understand how he became a local legend. Garnering a cult-like following for his nonchalant showmanship and immaculate silver mullet, Patrick serves as a representation of the freedom we rarely experience ourselves. Utilizing a combination of zany re-enactments, internet memes, archival footage and featuring interview subjects ranging from family/close friends to bar patrons, media personalities and intellectuals, AMERICAN MULLET: LEGEND OF THE SILVER FOX is the folktale of the 21st century.

12:25pm  garage

Filmmaker: Phil E. Eichinger
Category: Short—Drama/Socially Conscious

When you don’t want to, but know you have to. A son’s father is gone… in more ways than one. Now Eugene, a grown man, is bounded by an entire life of what has been left behind in a garage teeming with sentimental and unforeseen memories.

12:40pm  Together

Filmmaker: Tony Scott
Category: Short—Drama/Socially Conscious

Carver and Ella have just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary and are trying to decide where to go on their “trip of a lifetime”. But then the unexpected happens, and a decision must be made that will change their lives forever.


1:00pm - 3:00pm

1:00pm  UmoNhoN Iye The Omaha Speaking / Q&A after the film

Filmmaker: Brigitte Timmerman
Category: Feature—Documentary

“Our Language is Sacred, no one can take it from us.”–Omaha Elder. Only a handful of Native American fluent speakers remain of the Omaha Tribe. Fluent speaking elders reflect on growing up speaking their native language, the efforts that was taken from the government to phase it out and why it is so important to preserve it. Hopefulness is expressed by the elders and a dedicated group of educators attempts to keep their language alive.

2:30pm  Aksarben: Nebraska’s Racetrack

Filmmaker: Ehren Parks
Category: Short—Documentary

A brief telling of the rise and fall of the Aksarben racetrack, one of the Midwest’s greatest institutions that is no more.

2:45pm  Misfit M.

Filmmaker: Paige Locke
Category: Short—Documentary

Who can you trust when you’re the most famous woman in the world? The year is 1961. The woman is Marilyn Monroe. The words are her own.

Documenting four days in 1961 in which Marilyn Monroe was unknowingly admitted to the psychiatric ward of a New York clinic by her own female psychiatrist, only managing to escape thanks to threats made by ex-husband Joe DiMaggio. Shortly thereafter while recovering in New York Hospital, Monroe wrote a letter. With 100% of the films screenplay taken directly from it, ‘Misfit M.’ sheds light on a chapter of Monroe’s life from a completely untampered point-of-view.

The film lives in a trance; a mirror of Monroe’s health at the time. At moments scattered, nostalgic and bitter, Marilyn’s words portray a woman who was incredibly misunderstood, lonely and abused but also incredibly smart, insightful, thoughtful and at times playful.

In addition to the never-ending intrigue of Miss Monroe, ‘Misfit M.’ is also a window into the abuse and mistreatment of both mental health and of power in a corrupt system. Thanks to the cooperation of Julien’s Auctions in Los Angeles and the blessing of the current owner of Marilyn’s letter, this story has now been taken off the page.


3:00pm - 4:30pm

3:00pm  Felis Catus

Filmmaker: Bill Hedges
Category: Short—Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Will and his space cat Penny explore the cosmos in their salvaged spaceship. Unfortunately on this planet the space travelers find themselves as part of an exhibit in an alien zoo.

3:30pm  American Glass

Filmmaker: Cameron Logsdon
Category: Short—Drama/Socially Conscious


An employee at a local comedy club experiences first-hand American values in spite of hardship during trying American times.

3:35pm  Just Me

Filmmaker: Darcy Lueking Bahensky
Category: Short—Drama/Socially Conscious

A young mother interviews for her dream job, but she struggles to overcome the pitfalls of intergenerational poverty.

3:50pm  Extra Innings

Filmmaker: John Gray
Category: Short—Drama/Socially Conscious


A reporter interviews a major league baseball manager in an attempt to uncover secrets from his past.

4:00pm  Lizzy

Filmmaker: Elijah Watson
Category: Short—Drama/Socially Conscious


While trying to cope with her father’s Alzheimers disease, a woman returns to her childhood home and finds an old memory.

4:11pm  Anne

Filmmaker: Vijay Renga
Category: Short—Drama/Socially Conscious

A modern musical take on a holocaust love story, inspired by Anne Frank.

4:20pm  The Rural Road

Filmmaker: Steve Radley
Category: Short—Drama/Socially Conscious


A mysterious man wakes up on a rural hillside. As he tries to orient himself to his surroundings and predicament, another man suddenly appears and admonishes him to go save the town.


4:30pm - 5:30pm

Film It! Camps Student Films & the 2019 WLCFF Awards Presentations

Join us as we celebrate the talent and ingenuity of The Digg Site Production’s Film Camp students and this year’s White Light City Film Festival Award winners.

The Nebraska Arts Council, a state agency, has supported our student Film It Camp programs through its matching grants program funded by the Nebraska Legislature, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Nebraska Cultural Endowment. The grant we received in 2019 made it possible for us to offer these camps to area youth. We are so grateful for their support!

Visit artscouncil.nebraska.org for information on how the Nebraska Arts Council can assist your organization, or how you can support the Nebraska Cultural Endowment.


5:30pm - 10:30pm (approx.)

Saturday Film Screenings, continued

5:30pm  Burgers, Fries & Family Ties

Filmmaker: David W. King
Category: Feature—Documentary

This tasty slice of Americana profiles the rich, nearly 60 years-in-the-making Richwine’s Burgerville family legacy of serving great food and providing unrivaled customer service in Polson, Montana. Generations of loyal, appreciative customers make it all worthwhile for Marcia Richwine Moen and Co. “They don’t make ’em like they used to.” doesn’t apply here. They DO make ’em like they used to at Richwine’s Burgerville.

7:00pm  Silence / Q&A after the film

Filmmaker: Julie Hudson
Category: Short—Drama/Socially Conscious

22 U.S. Veterans take their own lives everyday. Silence is based on true stories performed by military veterans and their families in attempts to spread awareness of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD.)

7:45pm  Now Serving

Filmmaker: Faustus McGreeves
Category: Short—Family/Animation

Tempers are flared when a customer that his favorite ice cream shoppe is also serving hot dogs.

7:55pm  Say Goodbye, Grace

Filmmaker: Ryan N. Olsen
Category: Short—Drama/Socially Conscious

On the day of a missing girl turning up murdered, Grace Crawford, a police officer now turned a private eye, returns to her office and discovers her ex-police partner, Jonas Lee, dying at her desk. With his last breaths, he informs her of foul play within the department and a mystery he regrets coming across. What follows is a brutal story of deceit, loss, and retribution as Grace follows the clues of the case through the seedy city of Black Bay. In the end, Grace will have to decide what’s most important: her career or her life.

8:25pm  Zombie

Filmmaker: Ewa Habdas
Category: Short—Horror/Suspense


Two young brothers find a dead body while walking through the forest.

8:31pm  The Desecrated

Filmmaker: John Gray
Category: Short—Horror/Suspense

A young morgue attendant encounters an unwelcome visitor.

8:40pm  Suicide Painter

Filmmaker: Faustus McGreeves
Category: Short—Horror/Suspense

An artist walks around her city to find inspiration.

9:00pm  Running Through Darkness

Filmmaker: Peter O’Brien
Category: Feature—Horror/Suspense

While going for a routine morning run, Calvin Jacobs (Landon Beard) discovers the body of a young woman who has been beaten and left for dead. He recognizes her as Robin (Lillian Bornstein), a college crush from his undergraduate years. Unknowingly, Calvin has just taken his first steps into a dark and dangerous world. It is not long before Robin returns to Calvin with a bold request -– she wants him to kill the man that victimized her. Reluctantly, Calvin agrees to look into the situation.

Karl Screase (Eric Moyer) is a man who is as spontaneous as he is dangerous. His moral compass is shattered and as Robin puts it, “he thrives on control and requires vengeance.” Calvin doesn’t make it one day before he winds up on Karl’s radar, and that’s when the game begins. Karl’s persistent psychological torment pushes Calvin to a moral breaking point that ends with the ultimatum: kill Robin, or Karl is going to kill him. In effect, Calvin has become the rope in a homicidal tug of war.

Amidst all this, Calvin is paid a visit by his father (Corkey Ford – Platoon (1986), Born on the Fourth of July (1989)), who offers him some sage advice that resonates with Calvin through the rest of the story. Calvin resolves to withdraw from Karl and Robin’s game of death, a naïve optimism that only pulls him in deeper. His attempts to walk away are met with swift brutality. Ultimately, Calvin finds that the only way back to the light is through the darkness.

RUNNING THROUGH DARKNESS stands to show that people don’t always get what they deserve, but sometimes they sure do earn it.

We Love Our Sponsors & Donors!

The White Light City Film Festival would not be possible without the generosity of our sponsors and donors.
We are grateful beyond measure for their support!

2019 Sponsors

Welcome to The White Light City Film Festival!

The White Light City Film Festival (WLCFF) is a unique film festival held in Fremont, Nebraska that celebrates film professionals as well as filmmakers and films connected to Nebraska. Produced by The Digg Site Productions, the festival focuses on supporting and contributing to a growing film industry and culture of filmmaking in Nebraska.