Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Getting Ready for Catalyst: A Visit With Paul Lemenager of Dogsnose Media

Brian Leighton, "American Buskers"
I heard a rumor last month that there were no local films accepted to be part of  next week's international content festival. Ironically, the very next day I was posting an interview with two local women, Megan McGarvey and Katie Lindow, about their documentary Outsourced, a film about a UWS incident that is being featured at Catalyst.

Next, I discovered a short documentary on painter Jeffrey T. Larson, co-founder of the Great Lakes Academy of Fine Art, after which I stumbled upon another local connection. Local writer Jean Sramek had a script accepted for a different aspect of the five-day festival.

When I called Lance Parthe (Parthe Film & Video Productions) to inquire if he was involved in any way, I learned that his team had two documentaries in the festival. You can see the sizzle reel here for American Buskers. Lance suggested I reach out to Producer Paul Lemenager and I called to set up a meeting.

We met in the studio offices and flipped through a series of topics. I've been working with Parthe Productions for more than 30 years as a client, for a range of projects including training videos and television commercials.  (See: The Changing Face of Post-Production for Movie Makers) So, I am well acquainted with the Parthe team.

The two videos accepted by Catalyst are actually products of Dogsnose Media. Dogsnose is a subsidiary or side-project of Parthe comprised of Lance, Paul, Nick Kapanke and Matt Wiechmann whom Paul referred to as Mega-Matt. Each member of the team brings a set of gifts to the whole and a long history of exceptional work. (Paul also performs as a jazz singer, but this is not relevant for the purposes of this story, so I won't elaborate.)

Mega-Matt works out of Mankato as a nationally acclaimed DJ, putting on foam parties with smoke-filled bubbles. He gets hired for special occasions like weddings, school parties, Vikings training camp, big family gatherings. His parents are professors.

Nick is a 25 year veteran in the film & video world who got sucked into the Parthe Vortex at some point. He's a key part of the team as a director and chief creative officer for Parthe when Lance is not involved. I personally worked with Nick on several extreme sports TV spots 20 years ago.

We began by talking about Dogsnose Media in general. "Our first project was called Hopping the Pond," Lemenager said. "It involved a boxer named Kell Brook. His brother Billy the Hard Man makes videos, and is a brilliant comedic talent. When Billy turned out to be unavailable, we found a replacement, Neil Hurst, who is an accomplished actor."

American Buskers, one of two Catalyst-selected videos Dogsnose produced, came about when nationally recognized Twin Cities artist GB Leighton came in to Duluth for a concert at the Beacon Inn. "A group of us went up to watch him and before the concert he started working the crowd. He came to our table, asked questions and learned our names. He proceeded to circulate and learned everyone’s names, which he endeavored to work into his act. It was highly entertaining," Lemenager said, adding, "I enjoy music and come from a musical family and especially appreciated it."

Nick and Paul love music, so they wanted to produce a documentary around the fringe musicians of the busker scene. As they were brainstorming who to have as MC, it was a no-brainer. Brian Leighton. Gaelynn Lea and Joe Anderson also appear in this video.

"No Justice, No Peace"
Another big project, also accepted by Catalyst, is No Justice No Peace:The Original Black Panthers of Milwaukee. (Watch the Trailer.)

This show came together thru viral videos. Lemenager’s nephew asked if he had heard of them. Darryl Farmer, a.k.a King Rick, grew up as a cub in the Panthers. He taught high school, was a basketball coach, and was a bodyguard for some of the original Black Panthers. "He’s an interesting guy. His bodyguard is Quodo." Lemenager admitted. "This is one of the more interesting projects I’ve been involved with in my life."

Historically, after the activism of half century ago the Black Panthers broke into two divisions. One group remained militant, the other became community minded. No guns. Don’t beat people up. Use your influence to make things right.

Today King Rick is head general of Black Panthers of Milwaukee which are in resurgence nationally. There is a lot of civil strife in Milwaukee. "Milwaukee is not a city of inclusion," King Rick says. "Milwaukee is a city of illusion."

The Dogsnose Media team visited their headquarters, as well as local businesses, the Milwaukee mayor's offices and the Governor Walker's office in Madison. Several month's later King Rick and company came to Duluth to continue filming. In addition he was made available to speak at local schools of which Proctor, where a majority of the kids are Caucasian, was the only one who accepted his offer.

“I got to be a Black Panther for a day," some of the kids said afterwards.

* * * *
The Catalyst Content Festival begins a week from tomorrow. Follow this link to check out the schedule of events, films and other activities. Festival Schedule

And if you're a serious screenwriter, the Jacob Krueger Studio Masterclass looks like something that I can't help but imagine would be useful.

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