Q&A with Jeff Ircink
We all know this has been a mild winter. Temperatures have been manageable, snowfall sparse, and the Wisconsin landscape abides an unusual greenness. But it’s winter nonetheless, and Milwaukeeans need to shake off some cabin fever.
As a hopeful precursor for spring, Horny Goat Brewing Company presents The Really Funny Horny Goat International Short Film Festival. This mouthful of a festival runs May 2 – 3 inside the Horny Hideaway’s 14,600 square foot heated volley dome.
The mastermind behind TRFHGISFF is Jeff Ircink. He’s a local actor, playwright, filmmaker, substitute teacher, and seasonal cemetery groundskeeper. Third Coast talked with Jeff about this event’s formula to beat winter weather with short comedy, good company and plenty of beer.
ThirdCoast Digest: How did this short film festival come to be?
Jeff Ircink: I approached Jim Sorenson at the Horny Goat about a different event. He mentioned me showing a short film I’d adapted from a play I wrote that’s been touring around the world. I wasn’t able to make it available to the public while it was still on the festival circuit. I thought, “hey you could have a film festival here.” He said OK. I gathered 14 filmmakers whose films I’d seen and they were more than willing to have their films on display at this festival.
TCD: Can you describe a liitle about what is being screened?
JI: There are 14 films. Six from the United States then we have films from Great Britain, Australia, Canada, Denmark, and the Netherlands. The shortest is a minute long animation and the longest is a 20 minute film from a Milwaukee filmmaker. They have been all over the world at vatious festivals and all have won at least one festival award. They’re all comedies but run the gamut. There’s racy, comedy, sex, and even a little nudity — something for everybody.
TCD: How would you explain your own short film, Pass the Salt, Please?
JI: It was a short play that I wrote for an event in Cedar Rapids kind of on a whim. It went on to win best in show and it played in Los Angeles, Miami, and Seattle. It was always a crowd pleaser so a colleague of mine whom I worked with in LA said we should make it into a film. We jerked around for a few years and didn’t really get much accomplished. Then I moved back to Wisconsin and within a year we got all the players, cast, and crew. We shot it in two days last January. It’s a story about this elderly couple having dinner, talking about nothing, passing the salt back and forth. Halfway through, it turns into this erotic foreplay that comes out of nowhere. It kind of ebbs and flows and climaxes then comes back to where it began. It’s kind of racy with the language, but a big hit at festivals.
TCD: A film festival at a brewery/bar is uncommon. How did you know the Horny Hideaway was the right place?
JI: It’s a popular destination with a reputation. I went to high school with Jim Sorenson who’s really intent on making the Hideaway an entertainment complex — not just beer and sports. At a film festival, you just wait in line to see the films and then sit in the theatre. Which is fine, but with this festival I thought lets try something new. We’re taking it to the public where people can relax with a beer, eat, talk and watch these films.
TCD: What else is happening at the festival?
JI: We’ve got a couple of surprises and special appearances. A film crew from New York is coming to premiere their new webisode, Two Girls One Pint, which was shot at the Horny Goat. The Brew City Bruisers roller girls club is coming to accept a beer trophy. We have DJs from WMSE both nights. We’ve also got the Third Coast Hula Hoopers. There will be drink specials and giveaways including a trip to Las Vegas both nights.
TCD: It’s ironic that a short film festival has such a long winded name. Who came up with The Really Funny Horny Goat International Short Film Festival?
JI: That’s my idea and that’s exactly why we did it. Hopefully it will bring a couple people in.
The Really Funny Horny Goat International Short Film Festival takes place March 2-3 at the Horny Goat Hideaway (2011 S. 1st). Admission is $10.