L’Max film fest fourth outing is new and improved

The fourth annual Lake Maxinkuckee Film Festival, “A Gift of Warmth,” will feature a grand assortment of “fabulous ‘50s” films, kicking off with a gala sponsors’ evening Friday, September 2. As mentioned in last week’s edition of this newspaper, this year’s sponsor’s evening will have a “twist”: six film shorts created and produced by students in Purdue University’s Film and Video Studies department. Each short, says festival committee chairman Gary Shaffer, is five to eight minutes long, and students act in, direct, and produced the films.
Titles include “Indie Mormon,” “Late,” “The Bet” “The Hustler & the Blind Man,” “The Note,” and “View.”
Following a “meet and greet” for sponsors with wine served and light entertainment, Friday evening’s audience will judge the films, with first prize of $1,000 awarded to the top chosen “gold” film; the second prize “silver” filmmaker will receive $250, and “bronze” awards of $100 each will go to the next four winning entries. Money is coming from an anonymous donor, notes Shaffer, so sponsor funds will not be depleted.
Those funds will instead go towards the festival’s overall goal of providing a donation of new or lightly worn, clean items of winter wear for school age children, or financial assistance, which will be provided to the for heating bills, towards needy children in the Culver Community School district. As in the past, sponsors will facilitate money Friday, while Saturday’s events are open to anyone donating one or more coats or other wraps, or cash.
Rounding out the evening Friday will be dinner catered by the Victorian Pantry, voting on films (and announcement of winners) and the return of the popular Indiana University Jacob School of Music singers performing show tunes and light operatic arias, courtesy of Richard Ford.
Shaffer says anyone interested in becoming a sponsor is more than welcome to Friday night’s gala, and is encouraged to contact him at 574-842-8296.
Another new twist Friday is an 11 p.m. 1950s horror classic film, “Forbidden Planet,” at the Uptown Cinema.
As in years past, Saturday will see a children’s movie (“Shrek”) kicking off an all-day roster of movies at the Uptown (see schedule this issue for a complete listing), with entry “fees” being simply the aforementioned donation of one or more coats, wraps, or heating funds.
A picnic-style dinner of pulled pork sandwiches will be offered starting at 6 p.m. in the town park, with a new entry this year of Coney dogs provided by the Original Root Beer Stand. The Lions Club’s cotton candy machine will be on hand, the Antiquarian and Historical Society of Culver’s cake, ice cream, and root beer offered, and popcorn from Shaffer’s own machine, plus a clown and a visit from the Fort Wayne Mad Ants basketball team mascot, in costume. An evening of musical entertainment also begins at 6 p.m., as detailed in the accompanying schedule.
Starting around 8:45 p.m., a children’s Warner Brothers cartoon short will precede showing of the winning student film from Friday night, on the big screen under the stars in the park. At 9 p.m., the original John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John musical, “Grease,” will hit the screen.
Shaffer notes John Zeglis and Dick Dugger were the founders of the event four years ago.
“They’ve been so great,” he says, adding a steering committee of about 19 people has been planning this year’s event, which “is bigger than ever.”
He’s grateful to Susan Thews of Culver Academies for arranging school-provided tables and chairs and tent for Friday night, after which Academies staff will return and set up at the park for Saturday’s events.
He’s also appreciative of the efforts of Culver Community Schools social worker Deb Stevens, who makes sure funds and clothes make their way to needy students and their families.
“She helped out with propane heat and NIPSCO bills for people and spent $4,000 last winter for needy people,” he adds.
It looks like a sure bet that, as winter winds begin to blow this year, she’ll be once again providing film festival-derived “gifts of warmth.”


Friday, September 2
5:30 p.m. Meet and greet wine hour outside Uptown Cinema, Lake Shore Drive (with light entertainment)
6:30 p.m. Purdue School of Film and Video Studies student films begin inside Uptown Cinema. Followed by voting on films and a catered dinner by Victorian Pantry. Music by the Indiana University Jacob School of Music performers (show tunes and light operatic arias), and awards for winning films.
11 p.m. “Forbidden Planet” `50s movie, Uptown Cinema
Saturday, September 3
11 a.m. “Shrek” children’s movie at the Uptown Cinema
1950s movies at the Uptown Cinema:
1 p.m. “American Graffiti”
3 p.m. “Rebel Without a Cause”
5 p.m. “Blue Hawaii”
Live music with dinner and dessert in the town park, Lake Shore Drive 6 p.m. Culver Academies band
6 p.m. Culver Academies chorus
6:40 p.m. Culver Comm. High School chorus
7 p.m. Kathy Overmyer
7:30 p.m. Sentimental Journey
8 p.m. Quentin Flagg (performing his “Elvis” show to lead into “Grease”)
Movies on the big screen under the stars, town park:
8:45 p.m. Warner Brothers cartoon short followed by winning entry in Friday night’s student film competition
9 p.m. “Grease” movie