Citywide documentary planned for Friday
Fame is in store for any Fairfield resident with a camera.
That is because everyone in town will have a chance to contribute to a documentary called “A Day in the Life of Fairfield.” Professionals and amateurs alike are being asked to capture on video and in still photography anything of interest Friday. Participants will then submit their work to Burt Chojnowski, who will splice the photos and videos together for a documentary that will be shown in February at the art walk film festival.
Chojnowski picked the first Friday in November because it would provide plenty of photographic opportunities through Fairfield 1st Fridays Art Walk. He anticipates getting plenty of shots at art walk but also wants to receive photos from all over Fairfield.
He said he would accept whatever local photographers think is interesting on that particular day. The pictures could be of landscapes, people, pets or anything else that catches a photographer’s eye.
Participants might wonder how Chojnowski is going to incorporate still photographs into a motion picture. Chojnowski said he likes to employ a style of editing known as the “Ken Burns effect.” The effect refers to how documentarian Ken Burns would zoom in on a photo and slowly pan across it to accent different parts while the narrator tells a story.
“You don’t think of it as a static photo,” he said. “It makes the photo come alive.”
Chojnowski said he wants to get audio recordings from local artists to play in the background while photos and videos are shown on the screen.
“I’m going to ask local musicians if they’d like to compose a song for this,” he said. “I’m going to ask people if they’d like to create a skit. If someone wanted to shoot a video to tell the story about what was happening in their classroom or at their business, that would be fine. A movie trailer is two minutes and you get the whole idea of the story in that time.”
This director wants participants to know there is no task too minor to be included in the documentary.
“Kids could film their friends coming off the school bus,” he said. “You could film an event as simple as shopping for groceries.”
Chojnowski said the documentary will be ready for public viewing for a film festival in town Feb. 7-8, although he’s not sure yet where it will be shown. It could be shown at the Orpheum Theatre, the Stephen Sondheim Center for the Performing Arts or the Fairfield Public Library. He doesn’t know how long the documentary will last because that depends on how many submissions he receives. He imagines it will be an hour or less.
“If it turns out it’s only 15 minutes, that’s cool, too,” he said.
To get instructions about how to submit photos and videos to Chojnowski, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He said he plans to create a “drop box” account on the Internet where participants can upload their files, which he said will be easier than trying to email the files.
Chojnowski plans to shoot another documentary, which he will also show at the February art walk film festival. The documentary will be called “Follywood,” and it will be about the connections between Fairfield and Hollywood. Chojnowski plans to interview celebrities who live in Fairfield or who spend time here, as well as Fairfield residents who work behind-the-scenes in movies and television.
For example, Chojnowski wants to interview Fairfield resident Richard Beymer, star of the 1961 film “West Side Story.” He would also like to interview Ellen Chenoweth, a prominent casting director who lives in Fairfield.
Chojnowski wants to explore why so many celebrities visit a small town in southeast Iowa.
“Jim Carrey was here this summer. Why did Jim Carrey come here this summer?” he said. “Why did Russell Brand come here to write a couple of his books?”
In 1980, comedian Andy Kaufman visited Fairfield, and many of his best friends still live in town, including Chojnowski. Chojnowski wants to do a tribute to Kaufman in “Follywood.”
Chojnowski plans to begin filming “Follywood” as soon as he receives the submissions for “A Day in the Life of Fairfield.”