2012 Special Guests

Julie Amsberry

Julie_Amsberry Julie Amsberry began her artistic journey as a child growing up in small town Iowa, completely entranced in pop music, dancing, live theatre, and the wonder of television. In college, she pursued a degree in music education at the University of Northern Iowa then put her nose to the grindstone for many years as a middle and high school chorus teacher in both Iowa and South Dakota. During those years she took great pride in preparing students for individual and group vocal contests and concerts and musical theater performances. Julie’s professional journey took a turn (for the quieter) when she moved to Hawaii in 2004 and took up the art of Massage Therapy. With a keen eye for detail and a strong desire to help people explore their own artistic voice, Julie’s multiple talents and interests have led her to a new passion…film. Requiem for Emily is Julie’s second credit as a producer. Her film, Requiem for Emily, will be shown during Film Session 6 which begins at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, September 30.


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Jay Albertson

ZekeJayphotog Ezekiel Richter and Jay Albertson work together as a filmmaking team, sharing the tasks of writing, directing, and producing.They have completed several short films including Excess Express. More recently, Richter and Albertson finished production on their first feature film, Worst Kind of People. But even more recently, Albertson and Richter have launched an unofficial campaign for the presidency. Their slogan: “Whatever You Want . . . Plus Free Internet!” Neither Albertson nor Richter are technically old enough to run for president. Their Film, Excess Express, will be shown during Film Session 1 which begins at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 27.


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Emily Beck

Headshot_EmilyBorn and raised in North Dakota, Emily now serves as Executive Director of the Historic Fargo Theatre and the annual Fargo Film Festival. After falling in love with movies at a young age, Emily followed that passion in her academic pursuits earning her degree in Film History/Criticism at Minnesota State University Moorhead. She began her career at the Fargo Theatre/FFF in 2008 as a programmer and events coordinator. In July of 2011, Emily transitioned to the role of Executive Director after the retirement of Fargo Film Festival co-founder Margie Bailly. After years of admiring the innovative programming of her neighbors to the south, Emily is thrilled to be attending the SDFF for the first time!

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Chad Bishoff

Chad Bishoff Chad Bishoff comes to the South Dakota Film Festival with a film he produced with Eric Dwight and also served as Director of Photography and Editor, Bus 1107.  Bishoff started his career in production before moving into producing, writing and directing. He has produced and directed commercial spots for Omaha Children’s Hospital, Nebraska Furniture Mart, and Maytag to name a few. He has also worked in casting for Academy Award winner Alexander Payne’s About Schmidt and as crew on Jason Reitman’s Academy Award winning film, Up in the Air and MTV’s critically acclaimed TV show Teen Mom and recently co-produced the upcoming ,independent film Vino Veritas. Bishoff recently won a Telly Award, which honors groundbreaking web commercials, for the online company Ooly. Up next for Bishoff is a documentary about troubled youth titled The Shoe Guys.  He is also slated collaborate with Eric Dwight again and direct the film Punished Woman’s Lake, inspired by the legend of the lake just outside of South Shore, South Dakota. His film, Bus 1107, will be shown during Film Session 5, which begins on Saturday, September 29 at 6:30 p.m.

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Dalton Coffey

DaltonCoffey_HS_4Dalton Coffey is an award winning filmmaker from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, known for his creative storytelling and visual aesthetic. Originally from Harrison, Arkansas, Dalton began his creative career as a musician, recording engineer, and songwriter. His passion for storytelling led to a desire to share his stories with a broader audience, providing a new medium for his creativity. Dalton has written, directed, and produced several short stories, entertaining audiences with his unique, but refined, style. His film, Yonder, will be shown during Film Session 2, which begins at 1 p.m., Friday, September 28.
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Greg Carlson – Filmmaker, Professor

greg_carlsonGreg Carlson is an educator, moviemaker, and writer. He is the senior co-chair of the 2011 Fargo Film Festival, the Associate Film Editor of the High Plains Reader and teaches film at Concordia College. Work that Carlson has directed or produced has been screened in the Orlando Film Festival, the Free Range Film Festival, the Tallahassee Film Festival, the Dam Short Film Festival, the South Dakota Film Festival, the Milwaukee Short Film Festival, the Illinois International Film Festival, the Rappahannock Independent Film Festival and the Kent Film Festival, among others. He is also the recipient of an Aloha Accolade award from the Honolulu International Film Festival. His film, Wonderful Hat plays during film session 4, Saturday afternoon which starts at 1:00.

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Brianna Deihl

BrieBrianna Deihl is a Writer / Director / Producer from Minneapolis. She made her first film in 4th grade. Her mother was the camera operator. Her father ruined most of the takes by driving through the background in his green hearse as he was trying to level the topsoil for planting grass seeds. Since then her senior project from film school was programmed internationally under the genre “experimental.” Other more recent short films have won their budgets back in local time-based film festivals and then gone on to programming at New York City International Film Festival and the South Dakota Film Festival. She’s aiming for a feature, but it turns out “cookies” aren’t a payment method at motion.kodak.com. Her film, Blood Terror of the Night Fiend, will be shown during Film Session 4, Friday, September 29 at 1 p.m.

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Lawrence Diggs

Lawrence DiggsLawrence Diggs uses art to encourage communication on difficult topics. He creates short animations to spark interactive discussions with his audience about these difficult topics. He makes presentations worldwide on culture and food. He works in various media including animation, photography, digital imagery, musical composition, interactive presentation, poetry in English and Japanese, ceramics and microbial fiber. His film, Frames, will be shown during Film Session 6, which begins Sunday, September 30 at 12:30 p.m.

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Eric Dwight

Eric_DwightEric Dwight comes to the South Dakota Film Festival with a film he wrote, directed, and acted in, Bus 1107.  Eric started out writing as a teenager writing scripts, short stories, and even publishing two poems.  While in high school he got involved in improvisational comedy. (Something he still performs today in Nebraska, Iowa, and South Dakota.)  Working in improv lead Eric to work as an on-air radio personality in Norfolk, Nebraska, Wayne, Nebraska, and Yankton, South Dakota.  In 2002, he and his wife, Angela, moved to Omaha, Nebraska where Eric worked as a professional actor in local commercials, murder mystery Improv Theater, and independent film. His biggest acting job came in the Academy Award winning film Up in the Air. Also in 2002, Eric moved into producing with currently eight short films and two feature films to date. In May of 2010, Eric signed with a Los Angeles based literary agent, Brava Entertainment, as a screenwriter.  Next up, he his producing the feature script he wrote titled, Punished Woman’s Lake.  The film is inspired by the legend of the lake just outside of South Shore, South Dakota. His film, Bus 1107, will be shown during Film Session 5, which begins on Saturday, September 29 at 6:30 p.m.

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Matt Eckholm

Matt EckholmMatt Eckholm is a director, producer and screenwriter from the Twin Cities. He attended the Northwestern University NHSI Film/Video program in 2009, and is currently finishing his Bachelor of Arts in Film Studies at Minnesota State University Moorhead. His film Try Number Three received several awards from the MSUM Film Studies juried screening, including ‘Best Ensemble Cast’ and ‘Best Screenplay.’ Apart from MSUM, he is currently in preproduction on his first feature film, Izzie Midnight, an indie-rock romance.” His film, Try Number Three, will be shown during Film Session 6, which begins on Sunday, September 30 at 12:30 p.m.

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Graham Greene

The South Dakota Film Festival is pleased to announce that Graham Greene will be attending the Festival as part of the Thunderheart retrospective.  Greene earned his first major feature film credit in the historical epic, Revolution, opposite Al Pacino. Later, he landed the role of Kicking Bird in Kevin Costner’s Dances with Wolves (1990). The part not only provided him with major exposure around the world, it garnered him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

With the door to the acting world wide open, Greene took advantage taking major roles in films like Thunderheart (1992), Maverick (1994), Die Hard: With a Vengeance (1995), Camille (1995), and The Green Mile (1999).
Greene has also made a significant contribution to the small screen with regular gigs on the series The Red Green Show, Northern Exposure, Lonesome Dove: The Series, The Adventures of Dudley the Dragon, Wolf Lake and narrating the Discovery Channel’s Exhibit A series. He also appeared as the sole survivor of a pre-WW1 Indian tribe in the telefilm, The Last of His Tribe in 1992.

In 1992, he was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Southwest Museum in Los Angeles, one of the nation’s pre-eminent museums dedicated to the culture of Native Americans. In 2002, he won the Best Actor Award for his role in Skins at the Tokyo International Film Festival. In his native Canada, he has been nominated three times for Gemini awards and in 2004 he was honored with the Gemini’s Earle Grey Award.

He continues to work in high profile projects such as The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009) and Gunless (2010), with Paul Gross. We are honored that Mr. Graham will travel to Aberdeen to take part in our Festival. Don’t miss him and Jane Rosenthal! His film, Thunderheart, will be shown during Film Session 3, which begins on Friday, September 28 at 7:00 p.m.

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Brian Hoesing

Brian HoesingBrian Hoesing was born and raised in Aberdeen S.D. and has been making films since childhood. More recently he has Co-Written and Directed several short films including Table 9, which premieres this year at the South Dakota Film Fest. Favorite Films Include Jurassic Park, Back to the Future, Toy Story, Almost Famous, and Son of Rambow. His film, Table 9, will be shown during Film Session 1, which begins on Thursday, September 27 at 7:00 p.m.

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Andrew Kightlinger

DoWDirector2Born and raised in Madagascar, Kightlinger studied politics and French at Augustana College before attending film school at Boston University.  Having already directed a few shorts, Kightlinger’s feature directing debut Dust of War, co-stars Tony Todd (Candyman) and Doug Jones (Pan’s Labyrinth).  It is currently in post-production. Andrew holds a unique view of the world and its people, and his goal is to project that viewpoint into captivating and thought-provoking films, while also feeding his philanthropic goal to create an organization to fund medical research in Madagascar.  Favorite films include Walkabout, Aliens, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Straw Dogs, and Barry Lyndon.

Andrew will be conducting a screenwriting workshop on Saturday morning (Sept. 29) on the Capitol Theatre stage starting at 10:30 a.m. Full Festival Pass or VIP required.

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Steven Luke

Steven-Luke-2Steven is a graduate of South Dakota State University, where he pursued and honed his natural love of acting and producing.  His most recent works include Souvenirs starring Academy Award nominee James Cromwell and The Deep End, for which he earned a Best Actor recognition at the 2011 Fischgaard Short Film Competition.  When not in front of the camera, Steven utilizes his skills as a historic military technical adviser and supplier for the motion picture and television industries. Favorite film roles include Mads Mikkelsen in Valhalla Rising and Gunnar Björnstrand in The Seventh Seal. His film, Wunderland, will be be shown during Film Session 2, which begins at 1 p.m. Friday, September 28. His other film, Paper People, will be shown during Film Session 5, which begins at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, September 29.

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Ben Lifson – Filmmaker

Ben_LifsonBen Lifson is a senior filmmaker at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Starting out wanting to make video games, he transitioned into film when he realized his interest in visual storytelling through movies. He has found his talent in screenwriting and editing, and has worked on several narrative and documentary works, both student films and professional projects. His film, Halfway, will be shown during Film Session 4, Saturday, September 29, beginning at 1:00 p.m.

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Amy Miner

Amy HeadshotYankton native Amy Miner is a teacher at heart.  From teaching language arts and drama at both public and private middle and high schools, teaching acting and composition to college students, guiding drama residencies in public and private schools K-12, and offering methods classes to secondary educators, she has been inevitably drawn to the classroom for her entire adult life.  The other big draw in Miner’s life has been theatre…and lots of it!

At the beginning of her journey as an educator, Miner taught in South Dakota for thirteen years before landing an Archibald Bush Fellowship and heading to the University of Hawai’i to get her MFA in Children’s Theatre.  From 2004-2011, she adventured in classrooms across the islands as both a teaching artist and a classroom instructor gaining invaluable experience and perspective as well as a whole lot of aloha! She returned to Yankton in 2011 where she served as Executive Director of the Yankton Area Arts Association for a year before recently stepping back into secondary academics as a teacher at Yankton High School.

Miner’s theatrical background is extensive and eclectic. While she has taken on virtually every sort of role that exists in the theatrical process, her niche is in writing and directing. Her interest in writing film is relatively recent and is particularly serendipitous as the actors, director, and crew she’s been working with are largely her former students from both South Dakota and Hawai’i, making the creative process that much more illuminating.  She is happy to report that, in fact, old dogs are quite capable of learning new tricks, although they do tend to need more naps than the young dogs.

Amy’s film, Requiem for Emily, will be shown during Film Session 6, Sunday, September 30 which begins at 12:30 p.m.

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Patrick McKeown

headshotPatrick McKeown is a student filmmaker from Shoreview, MN. He is currently a senior at Minnesota State University Moorhead. In addition to Francois Marconi – Man or God?, he has participated in several projects of varying genre and tone. He enjoys reading comic books, photography, and playing music. His film, Francois Marconi- Man or God?, will be shown during Film Session 4 which begins at 1 p.m. on Saturday, September 29.

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Andy Mogren – Filmmaker


Andy Mogren is a self taught comedy wizard.  With a unique visual and comedy style unlike anything you’ve seen before, he has taken the comedy film festival circuit by surprise with films like Bear Force One and Werewolf in a Girl’s Sorority.  He is also the creator of the World’s first 3D comedy television show Son of a Pitch which was developed for CBS, but debuted on Discovery’s 3D network 3Net and has been described as “the next South Park”. His film, Werewolf in a Girl’s Sorority, will be shown during Film Session 5, which begins at 6:30, Saturday, September 29.

Andy will be traveling to Aberdeen, SD to attend the 5th annual Festival and to represent his film.


Posted by mcgadmin in 2012 Special Guests

Jason A. Micallef

Jason_A_MicallefWe are pleased to announce that screenwriter, Jason A. Micallef will be attending the South Dakota Film Festival. Jason travels to Aberdeen to take part in a Q&A following the screening of Butter. Tickets are still available, click on the link to the right to purchase online or stop in at the Capitol Theatre. Butter is being shown before it’s national release. It has been making the festival circuit and comes to us via the newly created production company, Radius. Welcome Jason! His film, Butter, will be shown during Film Session 5 at 7 p.m. on Saturday, September 29.

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Ashley Marie Odegard

Ashley_headshotAshley Marie Odegard is a screenwriter, director and animator from Fargo, North Dakota. She is currently finishing her degrees in Writing and Film Production at Minnesota State University Moorhead. In addition to her film Verbatim, Ashley has written and directed two narrative shorts and worked on several film crews. She loves to write and works as a writing tutor, which, combined with her love of language, inspired the film, Verbatim. Her film will be shown during Film Session 6, which begins on Sunday, September 30 at 12:30 p.m.

Posted by mcgadmin in 2012 Special Guests