Rick Schmidt's Filmography


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"Thirty-plus years after his 1975 feature filmmaking debut, American Independent Rick Schmidt remains a free-wheeling derring-do filmmaker holding fast to the notion that people's real lives are more truly dramatic, hilarious, exciting and as exasperating as those manufactured by Hollywood's minions. Most everyone falls in and out of love, rejects and gets rejected, contends with failure and success, hatred, ambition, the death of loved ones...It's all there.

To capture real life on film, Schmidt fashions a creative weave out of the threads of narrative, documentary, and docu-drama film forms. His actors draw on their own experience enabling him to create a unique blend of fact and fiction. In the end, Schmidt makes art and life intermingle and imitate each other.

Aware that the American Dream factory financiers would never fund his films, Schmidt, undeterred, remains the maven of low, low-budget feature filmmaking."


A Man, A Woman, And A Killer
A Man, A Woman, And A Killer

(75 min., B&W/Color, © 1975)

Directed by Rick Schmidt and Wayne Wang (JOY LUCK CLUB, SMOKE, CHAN IS MISSING, etc.).

DIRECTOR'S CHOICE — Ann Arbor Film Festival, 1975.

A MAN, A WOMAN, AND A KILLER is the story of a small-time gangster (Dick Richardson) writing his journal in a Mendocino, California, farmhouse, as he awaits a hit man who is coming to kill him. In this first part of a trilogy, realities continue to shift between the story, and the actual making of the film, as seen through unscripted scenes, real-life narrations by lead actors, and the real relationship that developed on the set between Richardson and the actress (Carolyn Zaremba) who played his girlfriend. A bumbling, local librarian (Ed Nylund) is mistaken for the "killer" and plays along with the game.

“A MAN, A WOMAN, AND A KILLER is a tragic epic, a love story, a documentary about drug addicts, a comedy, a portrait, a commentary and a tapestry. Mostly, however, it’s a film about violence. Not Peckinpah spleen-punching violence or Coppola bleeding-horse’s-heads violence —by comparison these are cartoons, embarrassingly vapid, self indulgent and boring.”
— Linda Taylor

“An extremely intriguing first feature by filmmakers Rick Schmidt and Wayne Wang. Beautifully shot in the Mendocino, California landscape, the film flows back and forth between the fiction of the script and the half-submerged reality of the actual writing of the script.”
— Marc Weiss

“For lovers of weird movies, independent director Rick Schmidt is the king. A MAN, A WOMAN, AND A KILLER is one of the weirdest films you’ll see this or any other year.”
— Robert W. Butler Entertainment Editor, KANSAS CITY STAR

“If someone asked me, in conversation, what I thought of A MAN, A WOMAN, AND A KILLER” I’d say it was interesting and stop at that. I’d be afraid of shortchanging the film by describing it too much. For one thing, it is in part a film about the making of the film. This is an idea that has endless appeal for young filmmakers who are obsessed with what they call “process” — that is, the hardware of their craft. By calling attention to the artfice of the film, they are aiming to seem artless. But artlessness is artifice, too, so the technique defeats itself. For another, the film uses English subtitles at certain moments to ‘translate’ its English dialogue, a technique I dreaded when I read the publicity material because it seems just too cute. But because of these devices, rather than in spite of them, A MAN, A WOMAN, AND A KILLER works in a way that makes it one of the most absorbing films I’ve seen of what is generally called the independent filmmaking movement.”
— Jerry Oster, NY DAILY NEWS

1988—The Remake
1988—The Remake

(91 1/2 minutes, B&W/Color, © 1978)

Directed by Rick Schmidt. Script by Rick Schmidt, Bill Farley (OF MEN AND ANGELS), Nick Kazan (AT CLOSE RANGE, REVERSAL OF FORTUNE, DREAM LOVER, etc.), and Henry Bean (INTERNAL AFFAIRS, etc.).

FIRST PRIZE, Ann Arbor Film Festival, 1978.
Three stars (***) -"Movies on TV" / Steven H. Scheuer.
Village Voice Choice of the Week / J. Hoberman.

Featuring performances by rock star Sylvester, J.C. Burris, Jesus Christ Satan, others.

1988—THE REMAKE, the second film of the trilogy, is about a huge audition for the remake of the classic American musical "Showboat." For three nights, July 22-24, 1975, hundreds of San Francisco’s most bizarre talent turned up, while actor Ed Nylund, a real-life librarian and musicologist, tried to enact his dream of bringing "the stench of death" to the musical comedy form. As he narrates real-life stories of his childhood failures, the viewer can better understand any auditioner’s leap for glory. Actors Richardson and Zaremba again fulfilled pivotal roles.

“1988 recounts the fictitious tale of a middle-aged librarian’s attempts to finance and remake the film musical “Showboat” in contemporary terms. The auditions are arranged on a San Francisco stage, and range from incredible to merely bizarre.”

“1988 in its culminative preposterous flummery is a spirited outcry for people to throw off the covert and overt forms of oppression and be themselves. Beneath the film’s Quixotic humor and surprisingly touching pathos stands the surrealist belief that art is never more important than life. An outrageous tour-de-force.”

“Laugh more than you’ve ever laughed before…one of the hits of the festival."
— Rotterdam International Film Festival

“The big hit of the Ann Arbor Film Festival, it’s easy to see why. The film has carved a unique nitch for itself, somewhere between FREAKS and Fellini’s 8 1/2. It’s as though someone forgot to lock the studio door and Luis Bunuel and William Burroughs sneaked in and began a hatchet job on Hollywood."

Emerald Cities
Emerald Cities

(90 min., Color, Dolby, © 1983)

Directed, shot, edited, and produced by Rick Schmidt. Script by Rick Schmidt and Dick Richardson.

Selected for Rotterdam International Film Festival, Everyman Theatre (London), Florence Film Festival (Italy), VISIONS OF INDEPENDENTS - the 1984 Australian Film Institute seven city tour of "The Cutting Edge of Cinema " from USA, Great Britan, and Australia, etc.

EMERALD CITIES, completing the trilogy, is a story about a young woman (Carolyn Zaremba) who runs off from her Death Valley home to seek her fortune. Her drunken old dad (Nylund), still stuck in his Santa suit from the local Christmas pagent, follows and soon comes in contact with the "new dark ages" of 1984. Juxtapositions of "on-the street" interviews (by Willie Boy Walker), punk performances by bands FLIPPER and THE MUTANTS, TV shows of past-life hypnotism and nuclear destruction, and a crazed ex-con (Richardson, who had actually just been released from prison in real-life), all finally intermix with the characters’ own sagas.

"Featuring punk bands FLIPPER and THE MUTANTS, this is one of the best films of the year."
— L.A. Weekly

EMERALD CITIES features Ed Nylund as an alcoholic, part-time Santa who runs a cafe in Death Valley with his actress daughter (Carolyn Zaremba). When the daughter runs off to San Francisco with a punk (Ted Falconi of FLIPPER), Ed follows. He encounters a politician who wants the country to be one big National Park with himself as head ranger (Lowell Darling), an ex-con in a Martian mask (Dick Richardson), punk rock bands FLIPPER and THE MUTANTS, politicians and priests justifying limited nuclear war as manifested on TV, including street interviews (by Willie Boy Walker) about the death of Santa Claus. Although the more bizarre components make this film excellent late night fare, with its allusions to mass media and the health of the nation, it’s much more than just a freak show. Or is it?

The film is Rick Schmidt’s provocative, and compassionate 'howl' at the gathering tide of nuclear lunacy as the mass media adjusts us to the 'new dark ages' of limited nuclear war. Schmidt’s film style is blending the mad-cap humor of the Marx Brothers, a heady version of American surrealism, and iconoclastic inspiration, perhaps from Jean Luc Godard.

As film makers go, Rick Schmidt is right out there on the edge. Average Midwestern movie fans, if confronted by one of Mr. Schmidt’s cinematic visions of lunacy, would no doubt be prompted to ask questions such as, 'What’s it mean?' Such questions are pointless. The best thing to do is sit back and let Mr. Schmidt’s films do what they will. The director likes to slap his audiences around, amuse them, confuse them, toy with them, and leave them with indelible images. Mr. Schmidt’s 1983 film, EMERALD CITIES, mixes images of nuclear destruction, the death of Santa Claus, desert isolation, real and fictional politicians (who all seem equally deranged in the film’s context) and punk rock despair in a strange pop-cultural odyssey. It’s all held together by a satirical narrative that savages most of the conventions of American life.
—Robert C. Trussel, KANSAS CITY STAR

Morgan's Cake

(87 min., B&W/Color, © 1988)

Written/Directed by Rick Schmidt. Associate Producer and lead actor— Morgan Schmidt-Feng.

Selected for the Dramatic Competition, SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL, 1989

MORGAN’S CAKE is the story of a young man (Morgan Schmidt-Feng) about to turn 18, and all the problems that are set to befall him. His girlfriend is pregnant, he’s just lost his job, his mother is deserting him for a career move to New York City, and his divorced dad (Willie Boy Walker) can barely afford the small office space in which they live. Morgan’s most pressing problem is whether or not to register for the draft, and Walker, in a bravura performance, shares a real-life story of how he avoided military service in the late 1960’s. After a series of fateful encounters, Morgan finally saves his sanity by baking a cake.

"Made on a shoestring - and a very small shoestring at that, the $15,000 budget recommended by Rick Schmidt in his book ''Feature Filmmaking at Used Car Prices'' - Mr. Schmidt's ''Morgan's Cake'' is a deadpan, unpretentious delight. The title character, played by the film maker's son, Morgan Schmidt-Feng, is no less comically out of sync with the world around him than the gorilla-suited David Warner character in the 1966 movie for which Morgan was named. ''Morgan's Cake'' adopts his point of view and reflects his bewilderment in sly, fresh, unexpectedly comic ways.

Watch the Morgan's Cake trailer

The film observes this younger Morgan as he grapples with the problems of being 18 in America and, more specifically, California. ''I wish we could be here before any kind of civilization,'' someone says when Morgan and his surfer friends visit the beach one day, and in a way, they are. Morgan wanders through the film registering vague disbelief at the odd situations in which he finds himself, even those - especially those -that involve his immediate family and closest friends. he becomes the film's only character to break out of what Mr. Schmidt seems to regard as an all-encompassing, culturewide daze.

How does Mr. Schmidt work so cheaply? ''Morgan's Cake'' is shot in black and white and made up of very long scenes, most of which have the unpredictability of first takes. A lot of the cast apparently consist of relatives and friends, and the film uses real houses and beaches and backyards for its sets. The result is a fine, quirky spontaneity that perfectly suits Morgan's mild bewilderment with the people and places he encounters. The film is dryly funny in simply letting the camera roll, recording the little absurdities that, to Morgan, have suddenly begun to seem immense. His parents are divorced, both struggling artists, each so wholly self-absorbed that neither has much time for Morgan's problems. His father (Willie Boy Walker), who sometimes works as a cook, does take the trouble to deliver a long lesson on how to fail an Army physical, since his draft status at 18 is one of Morgan's main worries. (As for the intelligence test, his father advises that Morgan claim to see some link between a chicken, a rubber band and a light bulb.) Morgan's girlfriend, Rachel (Rachel Pond), is just as diffident, hovering outside the frame of the film as Morgan explains what he likes about her. One of the film's best extended scenes has Morgan explaining to Rachel's parents that their daughter may be pregnant. It's consistent to the film that no one reacts too dramatically to this news, although Rachel's parents do insist that the backyard fountain be turned off so they can absorb this news and tell Morgan he needs more of an education. ''Who's Albert Schweitzer?'' Rachel's mother asks him.

The film takes its title both from Morgan's figurative desire to have his cake and eat it too, and from his highly original scheme for outwitting his draft board. ''Morgan's Cake,'' one of the most promising films in this year's New Films/New Directors series, will be shown tonight at 9 o'clock and tomorrow at 1".


American Orpheus
American Orpheus

(91 1/2 min., Color, © 1992)

Written/Directed by Rick Schmidt.

Winner of GOLD AWARD, for Best Low-Budget Theatrical Feature of the Year, HOUSTON INTL. FILM FESTIVAL.

AMERICAN ORPHEUS is the story of an unmarried single-parent, Fay, and the difficulties she has raising her small daughter, Eury, as they hide out in a small coastal town after fleeing from the girl’s father. Fay (Jody Esther) is thrown off by the unexpected visit of her sister’s boyfriend (Curtis Imrie) whose carnal desires seem to push her over the edge into psychotic musings and unwanted dreams. She comes close to a reconciliation with Eury’s father (Willie Boy Walker), when the daughter’s sudden death plunges Fay into a world of delusions, convincing her that retrieval of her child from the underworld is possible.

Blues For the Avatar
Blues For the Avatar

(73 1/2 min., B&W, © 1995)

A Feature Workshops Production.

A collaborative feature written/directed by Rick Schmidt, Kyle Bergersen, Trudie Dearinger, Barry Norman, Eric Magun, Anthony Pesce, Michelle Kulstad.

Premiered at SLAMDANCE INTL. (Park City) and FIGUEIRA DA FOZ INTL. (Portugal).

Winner of SILVER AWARD as "One of the Best Low-Budget/Experimental Features of the Year," HOUSTON INTL. FILM FESTIVAL, 1996.

BLUES FOR THE AVATAR is a comedy about two oddball characters, a man Cheyenne, and a woman, Mary Jane, caught in the circumstances of being unwanted guests in other people's lives. His propensity for women has landed him in the middle of a horrendous breakup, while her quest for self-discovery leads her into what might be direct contact with an avatar ('...a spiritual being sent to earth to teach us enlightenment'). Their friends appear throughout the film, offering real-life stories of irony, outrageousness, and late 20th century angst.

someone like me
someone like me

(80 min., Color, © 1997)

A collaborative feature written/directed by Doreen Alexander, Ned Barth, Mark Fogarty, Greg Gerson, Steve Heffner, Andrew Hettinger, Virginia Saenz McCarthy, James O'Brien, Rick Schmidt, Mark Toscani, and Robert J. Weythman. Produced by Morgan Schmidt-Feng and Rick Schmidt.

someone like me is a love story unlike any most of us can understand. We can all experience the love of a mother, father, friend, spouse, brother or sister. Few of us can know the love of a twin—it is a truly spiritual experience. Mary and Margaret share this special bond. Craig (Craig Strong) and Finn (Finn Curtin), their respective boyfriends, are privileged guests in this world. When the identical twins suspect each other's boyfriends of infidelities and disinterest they hatch a plot to test the men. Switching identities becomes the ultimate test of their twinship.

Welcome To Serendipity
Welcome To Serendipity

(70 min., Color, © 1998)

A Feature Workshop Production.

A collaborative feature written/directed by Irene Barnett, Robert Black, Morgan Schmidt-Feng, Karen Gloyd, Barry Green, and Rick Schmidt.

Produced by Morgan Schmidt-Feng, Karen Gloyd, Barry Green, and Rick Schmidt. Director of Photography - Morgan Schmidt-Feng www.filmsight.com.

An "A-Type" business woman, Maya (Irene Barnett) hitchhikes her way to a ghost town in Death Valley after a fatal car crash, and grows more impatient by the day as the repair of her VW "Bug" drags on. During this forced vacation she gets to know the town's few inhabitants, mostly childless women (like herself), a desk clerk Lori who believes in ghosts, and a seemingly incompetent fixit-man named Robbie (Barry Green). Eventually the desert slows down her pace, lures her to the point where she decides to make a major change in her life, and stay on for eternity.

Loneliness Is Soul

(94 MIN., Color, © 1998)

A Feature Workshops Production

A collaborative feature written/directed by John Balquist, James J. Coakley, Hal Croasmun, Morgan Schmidt-Feng, Alexander Marchand, Michael Rogers and Rick Schmidt.

Produced by Morgan Schmidt-Feng and Rick Schmidt.

Director of Photography - Morgan Schmidt-Feng www.filmsight.com.

Two young women (Meeka Schmalle and Jessica Heidt) rent an Oakland apartment where an itinerate musician (John Balquist) occasionally crashes. His presence in the household acts like a truth serum, somehow suddenly prompting everyone, including a strange "gift-giver" (Alexander Marchand) and prying landlord (Hal Croasmun) to tell their strangest real-life stories. His own hilarious tale about taking magic mushrooms on the beach helps convince the viewer that the only really "safe" path in life is to go directly for one's dream "full out," holding nothing back.

Maisy's Garden

(94 MIN., Color, © 1998)

A Feature Workshops Production

World Premier—28th International Film Festival of Figueira da Foz (Portugal, 1999)

Written/Directed by Carlos R. Acuna, Peter Aris, Michael Bolgatz, Grace Eng, Morgan Schmidt-Feng, Todd Horrisberger, Jon Jennings, Mike Rogers, Rick Schmidt, yahn soon, Kira Stoll, and Whit Wagner.

Produced by Morgan Schmidt-Feng and Rick Schmidt.

Director of Photography - Morgan Schmidt-Feng www.filmsight.com.

In MAISY’S GARDEN an over-achieving lawyer (played by Michael Bolgatz) is given the opportunity to retreat to his small garden and take a pause...examine his hectic life and the collapse of his marriage. During the six-day shoot he had the opportunity to replay his real-life breakup and exorcise some of his real-life emotions. The improvisational movie scenes were not the same exact marital issues that ended his real marriage, but similiar feelings of anger and frustration were expressed. His movie-wife (Jill Pixley) was able to stand up to her movie-husband Mike, help create scenes where her rights as a modern woman and mother (she’s not a mother in real-life) were infringed upon. Mike’s lawyerly abilities only put more pressure on the personal confrontations, made him seem colder, too rational, distanced from a situation where all that was required was some tenderness and the ability to express love.

Crash My Funeral
Crash My Funeral

(75 MIN., Color, © 1999)

A Feature Workshops Production

World Premier—28th International Film Festival of Figueira da Foz (Portugal, 1999)

Written/Directed by Paul Baker, Morgan Schmidt-Feng, Mandeep Khera, Dave Nold, Michael Rogers, Meeka Schmalle, yahn soon, Michael Trzaskowski and Rick Schmidt.

Produced by Morgan Schmidt-Feng and Rick Schmidt.

Director of Photography - Morgan Schmidt-Feng www.filmsight.com.

CRASH MY FUNERAL is a surreal comedy about a scriptwriter's block. In an attempt to pull his movie back on track he employs drastic measures; trying out impossible dialog on a pizza delivery man, wandering around the neighborhood to scare up new characters and scenes, hoping for inspiration from every pretty girl that passes his way. In the end he realizes that the creation of art, for him, isn't fictional at all, but merely a collage of real-life moments in which he finds meaning and delight.

Sun And Moon
Sun And Moon

(91MIN., Color, © 1999)

A Feature Workshops Production

Written/Directed by Brittnell Anderson, Jeff Belton, Dave Braukman, Morgan Schmidt-Feng, Jared Finkelstein, Christopher McKee, Rick Schmidt and yahn soon

Produced by Morgan Schmidt-Feng and Rick Schmidt.

Director of Photography - Morgan Schmidt-Feng www.filmsight.com.

Thrown out of his crash pad after traveling the West Coast, a young man, David (yahn soon), hits the streets without money or direction. Fortunately a little girl (Maya Aguayo Schmidt-Feng), points him to a rooftop where other homeless people have crashed. There he's mistaken for another "David" (the renter everyone in the building has been expecting) and suddenly lands a free apartment. One by one the strange tenants get introduced, including a beautiful multi-tattooed masseuse who uses a forked "guava tree stick" for "treatments", and two crazed brothers who are Froot Loop junkies. An old girlfriend appears on the scene and tries to turn David's seemingly aimless life around.

Chetzemoka's Curse

(81 min, Color, © 2000)

A Feature Workshops Production

A movie created according to the rules of Dogme 95 by Maya Berthoud, Morgan Schmidt-Feng, Dave Nold, Lawrence E. Pado www.pado3d.com/Curse/, Rick Schmidt, Chris Tow and Marlon Schmidt.

Produced by Morgan Schmidt-Feng and Rick Schmidt.

Director of Photography - Morgan Schmidt-Feng www.filmsight.com.

WINNER of the DOGME 95 Certificate!

Read more about Chetzemoka's Curse

A young woman in her early twenties (Maya Berthoud) relives her past while wiling away her time as a maid in a small town hotel. She tells a true story of how she betrayed her first love, and then proceeds to convince a middle-aged man (Steve Gillard) to desert his wife and kids and take her on a fling to Thailand (Steve's real-life wife Sue and daughter Jessica add their real-life stories about early pregnancy and first love respectively). Even an itinerant street musician (Robert Rutledge) sings about love and tells his true tale of falling in love with his best friend. In the end the message is clear. Above all, avoid betraying yourself.

My Bounty Hunter

(70 min., Color, © 2001)

A Feature Workshops Production

Written/Directed by Molly Ainsley, Dave Duffett, Morgan Schmidt-Feng, Lloyd Francis, Stephen King, Tim Kolarsick, Stephen Rubin, Rick Schmidt, Phil Smy and Chris Tow.

Produced by Morgan Schmidt-Feng and Rick Schmidt.

Director of Photography - Morgan Schmidt-Feng www.filmsight.com.

MYBOUNTYHUNTER is about an old man, Jefé, who is on the run from the law, holed up in an old adobe house on the outskirts of Death Valley Junction. Two dot.comers decide to hunt him down, to grab publicity for their fledging website launch of www.bountyhunter.com. It is never clear what exactly Jefé is wanted for, but as the chase proceeds we get to meet an array of his desert friends and hear their real-life stories. We're told about abusive fathers, fathers dying too young, and the loss of innocence when a dropped lightmeter entrused to a seven-year-old impacts the man he is to become. Marta Becket, first lady of the Amargosa Opera House, shares her story of the difficulty she had as a young woman, breaking free from her overly-possessive mother. The two bounty hunters (Stephen King and Dave Duffett) bumble their way along, learning more about themselves than how to catch a harmless old man who sells corn cob pipes.

The 5th Wall
The 5th Wall

(89 minutes, Color, © 2001)

A Film by Rick Schmidt and Willie Boy Walker.

Directed by Rick Schmidt.

Script by Schmidt and Willie Boy Walker.

Director of Photography - Lloyd Francis.

Produced by Rick Schmidt, Morgan Schmidt-Feng www.filmsight.com, and Willie Boy Walker.

THE 5TH WALL is a screwball comedy about video artist Willie Boy Walker's life being turned upside down by his winning the Nobel Prize in Literature (and accompanying cash award of nine million Swedish Crowns = $900,000). The thing is...he's never written a book! A Channel 8 reporter (Rohana Kenin) is placed on the strange story by an over-eager TV executive ("Get the scoop!"), and Willie Boy thwarts her efforts in every way possible. Before long, Walker's neurosis regarding the prize (Nobel Prize speech demands, taxation on the money, loss of privacy...), and his secrecy regarding his ability to break down the 5th wall of television using a "secret crystal," results in strange behavioral changes for all those who've made contact. Only a young neighbor girl (Maya Aguayo Schmidt-Feng), is entrusted to carry on his secret television appearances into the next century.

It's Not About The Shawerma

(74 minutes, Color, © 2003)

A Feature Workshops Production

A DV written/directed by Andrea Ament, Aaron Anderson, Pedro Avila, Vaughn Blake, Tavon Boldurchi, Daniel Boynton, Jaron Burnett, Christine Corrigan, Glenn Douglass, Adeline Fong, Ryan Gallagher, Peter Galvin, Timothy Graham, Laurel Graydon, Daniel Harbin, Nicholas Johansson, Chris Jones-Marino, Kathleen Lindenmuth, Anish Patel, Nicholas Philbrook, Philip Rashkovetsky, Grant Richards, and Rick Schmidt.

Produced by Rick Schmidt.

IT'S NOT ABOUT THE SHAWERMA is a story about obsessions, centered on a young hippie-style writer, Mikey (played by yahn soon), who let's his imagination run wild after his chicken shawerma order is stolen from a Falafel cafe in Santa Cruz, California. Caught in his fiction/non-fiction fancies is a couple in their twenties who virtually take on the roles of his parents. Dean (Adam Karagas), though a “friend,” can't help cutting him down at every opportunity, while Yvette (Maya Berthoud) is supportive to a fault. A new roommate, Claire (Piper Corbett), becomes a handy foil, generating new material for the notebook. Real-life stories from main characters and outsiders track the development to Mikey's circular writing jag, with some final cautionary notes tailoring out the hilarious, yet dark comedy.

Release The Head
Release The Head

(102 minutes, Color, © 2004)

A Feature Workshops Production

A DV by John Barnum, Stephen W. Gillard, and Rick Schmidt. Directed, shot, edited and produced by Rick Schmidt. With Stephen W. Gillard, John Barnum, Katrina Eggert, Sue Gillard, Joe Gillard, Jessica Gillard, Margaret Rickard, Christa Cesmet, Michelle Cesmet, Roger Cesmet, Bob Varteresian, Wendy Erickson, Susan Kinney, Silas Holm, Jabez Richard, Cheryl Berry, Thomas E.Swanson, Vernon W. Jarvi, Delores Jarvi, John Sheehan, Anchalee Sheehan, Janice Streitler, Mary Hewit, Benson Davis, Chris Hook, Kaiya Lynn Hubbard. Music by Marc Gizzi, Robert Force & Albert d’Ossche.

Produced by Rick Schmidt.

RELEASE THE HEAD is a story about a new-age drifter (played by Steve Gillard—Chetzemoka’s Curse, Dogme #10) who returns to his home town where his ex-wife still resides, to try and start a new religion, called “Sol-Luna.” Because he can talk-the-talk he’s able to convince a gullible young man (John Barnum) to join his cause. Inadvertantly, the young side-kick does some actual good as he circulates around Port Townsend, Washington, preaching “the word.” He becomes an eager ear for various towns people, hearing real-life stories about setbacks, family pain, and miracles, helping us to remember that “we are all our own messiahs.”

Bear Dance
Bear Dance

(72 minutes, Color, © 2004)

A Feature Workshops Production

Directed, shot, and edited by Rick Schmidt.

Scripted and produced by Rick Schmidt and Willie Boy Walker.

With Willie Boy Walker, Alfons Engelen, Charles Hedges, Diana Tavares, Yves Andre Delubac, Rosa Margarida Balreira Prazeres, Andreia De Jesus Alves, Sandra Isabel De Jesus Oliveira, Ana Isabel Da Silva Pereira, Sandra Maria Perestrelo Olim, Joao Abrunhosa Moreira, Aida Silva, and Pedro Miguel Condeios.

BEAR DANCE, shot in Portugal during the 2002 Figueira da Foz International Film Festival, discusses the sanity and insanity of daily life, cultures colliding, young and old meshing in a common stew of modern humanity in new-millennium turmoil. We are introduced to a cast of interesting characters who entertain us with various real-life stories of surfing accidents, knife threats, chocolate addition, bricks being thrown at babies, confessing Catholic sins, safaris with blue people, a past life as a castrated eunuch, etc. In the end, it hopefully becomes clear that we need to express tolerance for differing views of existence.

The Higden Man
The Higden Man

(75 min., Color, ©2004)

A Feature Workshop Production

A DV by John Barnum, Stephen W. Gillard, and Rick Schmidt.

Produced by Rick Schmidt

THE HIGDEN MAN is a story about two small-town grifters trying to convince Heber Springs, Arkansas landowners to sell their lakefront property, running the story that the local dam will soon raise the water level and flood surrounding property. Starring John Barnum and Stephen W. Gillard (Release the Head), with Music from Charlotte Taylor & Gypsy Rain, and Paul Baker (www.epiphanyfunhouse.com), the movie is instructive about how easily people can be dupped by a loquacious lawyer. Life stories about old boyfriends, odd accidents, cancer-causing smoking, motel living, etc., paint a picture of rural Arkansas as it moves quietly into the 21st century.


(78 min., Color, ©2005)

A Feature Workshops Production

A DV by Luca Ceccarelli, Stephen "Jules" Rubin, Michael Saliba, Thomas A. Secor, Joseph Stern, and Rick Schmidt. With Fredrick Lopez (Freddie), Lisa K. Hill (Roller Skate Lisa), Michael Saliba (Mike), Barbara Mayfield (Woman Ordering Coffee), Lisa Benge (Lisa Counter Person), Sarah Wilhelm (Aztec Cafe Owner). Xui/Chewy (Cartoonist at Cafe), Stephen “Jules” Rubin (Jules the Mute), Alexandra Marchitelli Hess (French Woman), Karim R. Saioli (Moroccan in Cafe), Vashti Anaya (19-Year-Old Girl in Cafe), Jefe (Cult Leader Jefe), Sarah West (Sedona Woman). Thomas ("Biff") Secor (Shopping Cowboy), Camille Nighthorse (Camille), Lisa Bonanno Schwartz (Lisa Leaves w/Two Men), Carmcia Lucero (Jewelry Vendor), Edward McLoughlin (English Man), Granville Greene (Man Who Read "Love Poem"), Nicholas Ballas (Cowboy w/Grand Prix).

Produced by Stephen "Jules" Rubin (Julesworks) and Rick Schmidt.

Associate Producer Luca Ceccarelli (HDNM Entertainment)

MIRAGE is about a old man, Jefe, who has a cult-like hold on his household of wayward, homeless new-age women, whoever Mike (Michael Saliba), his 20 year old henchman, can pick up at local bars and cafes in Santa Fe, NM and bring back to the adobe. Homelife start disintegrating when a Native American woman, Lisa (Lisa K. Hill), falls in love with a Native American drifter, Freddie (Fredrick Lopez, The Miagro Beanfield War). Music from underground Chicago (Ill Ben, .org, Murlot, Jo-Fixxx-it, www.saykay.org), Memphis (David Brookings, Olga, and Bluff City Backslides/Don MacGregor), and Santa Fe (Alex Maryol, Jonathan Grossman, Blood Drained Cows) supplies an energy pack, propelling the lovers forth toward their breakout finale.

Rick's Canoe

(86 min., Color, ©2006)

A Feature Workshops Production

A DV by Jonathan Grossman, Barry Norman, John Reed, Stephen “Jules” Rubin, Jonathan Skurnik, and Rick Schmidt

Produced by Stephen “Jules” Rubin (Julesworks) and Rick Schmidt.

Associate Producer Luca Ceccarelli (HDNM Entertainment)

In RICK'S CANOE, Rick arrives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, trying to change his life's fortunes. Unfortunately, he continues his downward spiral. Reunited with his best friend Jules, the two embark on a quest for answers regarding their relationship with women, which lands them in a men's therapy group led by a woman named Deirdre. The various members of the group, Franco, Michael, Phil, form a bond with Rick and Jules that is threatened by the love triangles Deirdre spins. It all comes to a head when Rick confronts his father, played by veteran screen actor Val DeVargas (Touch of Evil, Magnificent Seven, Hatari!), who faults his son for everything from a stolen camper/truck to his latest hairdo. Real life stories are interspersed, revealing the choppy waters men must navigate these days.

Featuring performances by Barry Norman, Stephen “Jules” Rubin, Roberto Codato, Deidre Parness, Michael Schwab, Philip Lee, John Reed, Jonathan Grossman, Chad Forrest. Music: “Afraid to Die”, by TUCSON SIMPSON (ggpiii@yahoo.com). “Little Black Egg”, by BLOOD DRAINED COWS (www.blooddrainedcows.com). “Eclipse” and “My Tantric Gatito”, by GLASS (www.rpursuit.com). Instrumental for walk to camper, by BILLY COTE AND MARY LORSON (www.marylorson.com (www.saintlow.com). “Lonely Days”, performed by Barry Norman, written by BEE GEES, ©1971 Warner/Chappell Music. Ltd. “Right Through You”, by BULLET THEORY, Thirty Second Publishing (ggpiii@yahoo.com).“I’ll Never Love You Again”, by DAVID BROOKINGS, from the album “Chorus Verses the Bridge” (www.davidbrookings.com).

Real Life
Real Life

(55 minutes, Color, ©2008)

A Feature Workshops Production

A collaborative feature documentary by Zola Azevedo, Cynthia Duval, Stephen Rubin, Mike Saliba, and Rick Schmidt.

Produced By Stephen Rubin (Julesworks), and Rick Schmidt.

REAL LIFE shows just that, 14 stories told by people of various ages, who have the courage to impart vital and personal information you rarely hear in the so-called ”information age.” They cover most the pertinent issues of our time; love and loss, happiness and heartbreak, ironies of all sorts. If you need to refresh your psyche, hope to better understand your stay on the planet, then this is the movie for you. It’s as refreshing as a summer walk on a leaf-blown mountain top.

Starring (In Order Of Appearance), Amy Johnson, Roberto Codato, Will Arute, Angela Damron, Aron Kalaii, Jennifer Miller, Zola Azevedo, Mike Saliba, Lisa Friedland, Raji, Stephen Rubin, Cynthia Duval, Carrie Ronneau, And Alejandro Delgado. Cinematography by John Lore. Camera by John Lore & Rick Schmidt. Music by Will Arute. Camera & Editing Equipment courtesy of Rock Hollow Studios (www.rockhollowstudios.com).

White Stork is Coming
White Stork is Coming

(77 min., Color, © 2010)

A Film by Zola Azevedo, Cynthia Duval, Stephen Rubin, Mike Saliba, and Rick Schmidt

In 2012, White Stork Enterprises insures that baby-hungry couples will bear 'perfect' offspring for a mere $100,000. By offering successful embryo fertilization through digital chip technology, ‘Stork’ advertises that they can remove potential disease and negative personality traits from the embroyo's genetic code for $5000 per item. Too good to be true? A con game? Well, a chip-like microfluidic device does exist (developed in Tokyo) that increases the probability of successful in-vitro fertilization from 29% (eggs in a petri dish…), up to 88%. And genetic engineers are close to identifying the codes for various diseases. But after hearing the couples (and doctor's) real-life stories, it's sad to think that many delightful human pecularities might disappear, when perfect people walk the earth.

Starring Cynthia Duval, Roberto Codato, Mike Saliba, Stephen Rubin, Amy Johnson, Will Arute, Angela Damron, Zola Azevedo, Aron Kalaii, Jennifer Miller, Carrie Ronneau, and Lisa Friedland. Cinematography by John Lore. Camera by John Lore & Rick Schmidt. Music by Will Arute, Roy 2000, Amy Johnson. Camera/Editing equipment courtesy of Rock Hollow Studios/ (www.rockhollowstudios.com). Produced by Stephen Rubin (Julesworks), and Rick Schmidt. Executive Producer Rick Schmidt.


(72 minutes, B&W, © 2010)

A Film By Curtis Imrie and Rick Schmidt. Produced by Morgan Schmidt-Feng (www.filmsight.com), Curtis Imrie (www.curtisimrie.com), Kent Nussbaum/INDIANA, and Rick Schmidt/L.L. Productions.

The old west is certainly dead, but pack burro racers don't know it yet. Especially in Colorado. Although few outside the state have ever heard of the sport, the old-time races have continued to be conducted right into the new millennium. Running alongside a burro for twenty-five miles at 7000-plus elevation, with a fifteen foot tether in hand, is as daunting as it sounds. But it's everyday life for Everett Winfield (played by three-time world champion burro racer Curtis Imrie), who is dedicated to this sport. Winfield/Imrie also breeds his own burros, presenting his bearded face to theirs at birth, to establish him as their birth-mother and master. But all is not well at the ranch. When a bank loan officer balks at supplying Winfield with a bailout – $22,000 for a final mortgage payment – he unwisely flaunts the $5,000 purse at an upcoming race as his "employment record." Of course, it's no dice. As Winfield's options narrow, his girlfriend (played by Sue Conroe) offers to share her homestead. But in the world of a cowboy, a man doesn't live off a woman – Winfield accuses a fellow rancher of being a member of the "lucky sperm club." Not one to relinquish his free-range freedoms, Winfield becomes involved with a young rodeo queen half his age, to the chagrin of his young niece, Hannah. As morals slip, and the financial noose tightens, Winfield drifts toward setting things right, old-west style.

CAST: CURTIS IMRIE as Everett Winfield, SUE CONROE as Bonnie, Hannah as herself. MIKE MARTIN feedstore clerk, BILLY JOHNSON blacksmith, RODNEY FISHER handyman/friend, ADAM ST. JOHNS bank officer, ABIGAIL DODGE rodeo queen, PHYLLIS DODGE real estate agent & race commentator, OSCAR PETERSEN old cowboy, GRACE PURDUE lawyer, MIKE PURDUE Mickey, HELGA PETERSON farmer, DR. ATWOOD chiropractor, DAVE PURNELL race commentator, RICHARD FARNSWORTH as himself. Cinematography by GARY ROHAN. Camerawork by GARY ROHAN & RICK SCHMIDT. Edited by RICK SCHMIDT. Music by PAUL BAKER. Location Sound by GREG VON BUCHAU. Written/directed by CURTIS IMRIE & RICK SCHMIDT. Produced by MORGAN SCHMIDT-FENG, CURTIS IMRIE, KENT NUSSBAUM, and RICK SCHMIDT. Special Thanks to Sue Conroe, Julie Schachter, Henry S. Rosenthal, Martin Feed, City of Salida, CO, City of Buena Vista, CO, City of Westcliffe, CO. © 2010 imrie Independent and L.L. Productions.

No Tears For Bankers (formerly Tears Of Bankers)

on IMDB.com

(100 min., Color, © 2012)

A Film by Rick Schmidt. Written, Directed, and Edited by Rick Schmidt. Co-Produced by Rick Schmidt and Barry Norman. Executive Producer – Barry Norman. A Sandy Entertainment/Feature Workshops Production.

No Tears For Bankers follows the mortgage meltdown of Mr. Barry Norman's B&B, owned and operated by himself and his wife Brittany (Brittany Hannah) in the small town of Rome, Georgia. At the beginning, Norman states his distain for bankers; they will rule soon on his loan and prospects for the future ('ten words that decides basically the rest of my life'). Since Norman has kept his present financial problems secret from Brittany, she's remained confused by her husband's increasingly erratic behavior. As the loan deadline approaches, Norman wonders if he will again lose a house AND a wife (his second) to the machinations of the banking industry. Only a miracle can save him, as money men move in for the kill.

STARRING (in order of appearance): Barry Norman – B&B Owner. Brittany Hannah – Barry's Wife. E. Wright Ledbetter – Banker. Holly McHagge – B&B staff. Haley Parnell – Intern. Paige Parnell – Intern. Chris McHagge – B&B Staff, Stan Jackson – B&B Guest. Allen Bell – Banker. Derek Bell – Landscaper. Gregg Parnell – Father of Interns. Special Appearance by Sid Eudy, AKA Sid Vicious – Barry's Friend. Bill Roberts – Banker. Roger Miller – Singer/Guitarist. CREW: Director of Photography – Ron McLellen. Second Camera – Rick Schmidt. Location Sound – K.L. Powers. Editorial Consultant – Marlon Schmidt. Color Correction – Chris Brown. Sound Mix – Scot Charles. Production Manager – Allen Bell. MUSIC: Title Instrumental by Marlon Schmidt. Bank-Sign, Front Porch/Photos by B. Gillespie, T. Osborn. Toby Keith and Patrick Swayze by King Okra. Dangerous, Born Knowing by Mary Lorson (www.marylorson.com) & Saint Low (www.saintlow.com). Deep Space by Mark Wallace Maguire and the Dawn Treaders. I've Been Smoking by D.E.T. Academy Fight Song by Mission of Burma (www.missionofburma.com). This is Not a Photograph, 13 by Roger Miller (www.funworldmusic.com)). For festival News/Showdates please see: www.tearsofbankers.com (www.tearsofbankers.com))

Sticky Wicket

(77 min., Color, © 2014)

A Film by Rick Schmidt. Written, Directed, Shot and Edited by Rick Schmidt. Co-Produced by Rick Schmidt and Barry Norman. Associate Producer– Sarah Childress. Executive Producer – Barry Norman. A Sandy Entertainment/Feature Workshops Production.

In the small town of Brunswick, Maine, the Women-Only Croquet Club is the only organized resistance to a corporate takeover by an invading cineplex movie chain. In its direct path is a 100 seat, hippie-built theater called the Eveningstar Cinema, crunched into a tiny, jewelry-store-sized space at the local mall. The owner, Barry Norman, is barely holding on. He’s too tall for the 6’ high upstairs projection booth (at 6’5”), and too old (over 50) to be carting around the heavy reels back and forth between projectors. As the cineplex ground-breaking approaches, future plans are made for a big croquet showdown at city hall. With croquet balls smacked to the tune of ‘Drive That Fast' by legendary UK band Kitchens of Distinction, it begins to dawn on us that maybe these mallet-wielding women can get the job done. And they do.

Starring (in order of appearance) Sarah Childress – Croquet Club Activist, Barry Norman – Eveningstar Cinema Owner, Stephanie Bouche – Cinema Employee, Kay Kehew – Croquet Club President, Jesse Calderone – Cinema Projectionist, Paul Fortin – Architect for Cineplex, Dorothy Fortin – 'Dorothy' Club Member, Rebecca Lizanecz – Video Store Clerk, Gracia Babbidge – 'Gracia' Club Member, James Horner – Kicked Croquet Wicket, Kayleigh McAllister – 'Lana' Club Member, Margarite Day – 'Laura' Club Member, Isabel Low – 'Kate' Club Member, Diane Vernesoni – 'Diane' Club Member, Kacey Berry – 'Patty' Club Member, Justin Day – War Sign Attacker, Krista Woodbridge – War Sign Attacker, Michael Lyne – Developer. Director of Photography – Sarah Childress. Second Unit Director – Sarah Childress. On-Location Sound – Jared Morneau. Camera – Rick Schmidt & Sarah Childress. Music by Marlon Schmidt (opening title), Danger, I Reckon! (“Coast of Maine”), and Kitchens of Distinction (“Drive That Fast”).

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