Tag Archives: documentary film

BEHIND RIBFEST – Feature-Length Documentary Film Provides All-Access Behind-the-Scenes Look at Naperville Ribfest

by Stuart Meyer

For the past 26 years, the Naperville Exchange Club has produced Naperville Ribfest as a charitable event which donates 100% of net proceeds toward the prevention of child abuse and domestic violence.  Prepare to be entertained and inspired as you journey behind-the-scenes of the Naperville Ribfest for an exclusive inside look at every aspect of this volunteer-run charitable BBQ and music festival.  Behind Ribfest  is a feature-length documentary film produced by my production company, Social Frequency Media Communications, and after making some rounds at film festivals we’ve decided to release the film online in two parts.  We hope you’ll watch and share this film with others.  Watch the film below or simply click here.


“Behind Ribfest” Documentary Film to Debut at the Naperville Independent Film Festival on September 18th

Over a year ago, I began production on a documentary film about Ribfest.  Many of us know the festival from the perspective of attendee, but few get the chance to go behind-the-scenes of everything that goes into making this volunteer-run festival a success in raising millions of dollars toward the elimination of child abuse and domestic violence.  This film follows along with the Naperville Exchange Club, the rib teams, the musical entertainment acts, the volunteers and the faces behind the festivals ultimate mission.  I’m pleased to report the film is finished and will debut on September 18th at the Naperville Independent Film Festival at 7 PM at the Ogden 6 Classic Cinemas.  As a little teaser, take a look at the promo below:

Ribfest Documentary Film Update from the World of Naperville

It’s been a very busy 2011 thus far and its still ramping up.  So far, I’m humbled by the amount of progress I’ve made and paths I’ve crossed with so many amazing people as I continue this journey of purpose.   Unfortunately, during this time I’ve also found myself tardy in keeping up with my posts here in the World of Naperville.

The biggest Naperville-related project I’m working on has been my documentary film about Ribfest.  Believe it or not, we actually just concluded the last piece of principal photography at the Exchange Club’s agency luncheon just last week at Meson Sabika.  That’s the event where all the net proceeds have been awarded and each agency shares their mission and stories.  It’s been an amazing journey and I’m excited to continue the editing process.  In the end, we will see a time period between June, 2011 and March 2011.  We’ll have more information about when the film will premiere soon.  In the meantime, I want to personally thank Ray Kinney and the rest of the amazing people at the Naperville Exchange Club for their support and cooperation throughout this project.  It’s definitely a collage of many behind-the-scenes sides of Ribfest that few get to see… with plenty of stories that deserve to be told about the incredible mission behind Ribfest.

Anyway, the weather is getting warmer and I look forward to picking up the pace with the World of Naperville very soon.  SM

Association Publishing Magazine Features Composer and Filmmaker Stuart Meyer in September/October 2009 Issue

Association Publishing ArticleMy advance apologies for the dreadfully ego-centric sounding headline above.  I simply wanted to make sure this posting was optimized for search engine results… or “SEO” as it is called… which translates into posting views and insures that this story might reach a wider audience.

As many of you know, I’ve spent the second half of this year making the transition toward living and sustaining my life purpose.  This wonderful article, written by the very talented Carla Kalogeridis, provides a deeper perspective on how I am working to translate my humbling gifts and talents into my daily vocation as composer, filmmaker and not-for-profit social media consultant.

Earlier this year, as a step along this journey, I voluntarily composed a theme song (click here to listen) for the Association Forum to be used as a source of motivation for all the not-for-profit association professionals out there who have weathered a very difficult year.  The title of the theme song is “Go the Distance” which pretty much says it all to anyone from any walk of life who has endured this year of economic heartbreak and setbacks.

Within the past couple of months, I was contacted by Association Publishing Magazine about their interest in writing an article about the story behind this piece of music.  If you click here you can read the full article.

As the journey continues, I also invite you to support my current documentary film project, Imprévu – The Kenneth von Heidecke Storywhich is an inspiring story about a blue-collar Midwestern kid from Chicago who faces unimaginable triumph and tragedy in pursuing professional and international acclaim in the world of ballet.

When I first met Ken, I knew this was a powerful story that had to be told in a way that is as uniquely creative and as beautifully artistic as his life.  This film will not be your typical documentary, but rather an emotive and inspiring cinematic journey that well leave audiences reflecting, and hopefully acting upon their own inexhaustible purpose and calling in life.

Please join the official Imprévu film group on Facebook by clicking here where you can read our production diary dating back to 2008, listen to clips of film music I’ve composed and see our growing collection of production photos. I also welcome you to spread the word.

Von Heidecke and Meyer to Debut Two Original Ballet Works at the Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet

DSC_0298The  Von Heidecke School of Ballet of the Chicago Festival Ballet will present  its annual summer workshop performance this Sunday (8/9/09) at the Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet.   

In addition to student performances, there will be two original works performed by professional ballet dancers relating to my current collaboration with Kenneth von Heidecke.  The pieces are derived from a full-length ballet which Ken and I are currently developing concurrently with our documentary film project, Imprévu – The Kenneth von Heidecke Story .

The inside story is as production on the film has progressed over the past year, I found the original score I had been composing and recording telling me a story of its own as I listened over-and-over.  There is one piece of music, in particular, I had composed which unexpectedly summoned memories of an extraordinarily lucid and vivid dream I had shortly after my father passed away from a year-long battle with cancer in 2001.   My own grief had become amplified by the fact my mother lost her battle to cancer in 1997.  There I was, at age 29, sleeping in the only family home I had ever known for the first time in my life in the days after my father’s passing, feeling as though my life’s foundation was vanishing around me.  That night, I dreamed that I was standing along a small winding stream that was running downhill in a dense, yet beautiful forest.  I was paralyzed by my own grief and at a complete loss as to which direction I should travel.  To my astonishment, my mother appeared with a peaceful smile on her face, comforting and reassuring me that this was not a dream, that they would always be with me and that it was time for me to move on with my own life and dreams.  With that, we embraced before she turned and walked away back up the hill into the most beautiful rays of light.  I awoke in a peaceful calm that I had never before experienced and that morning a new sense of resolve began to surface.    

Based on this dream, I introduced the rough storyline I had visualized vividly to Ken along with the music and soon thereafter we had crafted the overall story.  The premise of the ballet flows from the same type of unforseeable and unexpected triumph, tragedy and transcendance which has characterized mine and Ken’s life, as well as the lives of so many others.   The story is as beautifully passionate as it is dark and tragic with the theme resting on the truth that dreams may grow dim, but they never truly die.

The two original pieces which will be performed on Sunday at the Rialto are taken from the second half of the ballet, one a romantic Pas de Deux and the other a high-energy rhythmic piece featuring three male ballet dancers.  The photo above features two professional ballet dancers, Katherine and Shane, who will be performing the Pas de Deux.

The full workshop performance featuring these works along with other performances from all levels of Ken’s school will take place at 2:00 PM on Sunday (8/9/09) at the Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet.  Tickets are $22 for adults and $20 for Seniors and children under the age of 12.  If you would like to attend, tickets can be purchased at the Rialto Square Box Office prior to the performance at 2 PM or by calling 815-726-6600.  We would love to see you there!

Announcement of Kenneth von Heidecke Documentary Film Project

Principal Photography Gets Underway with Film Shoot at Alma Dance Company Rehearsal
(production photo to the right)
Almost a year ago last November, I received an email from  Jennifer Navarro, of Ginny Richardson Public Relations, with a simple subject line, which read “Naperville Resident You Might Like to Know”.
The Naperville resident Jennifer was referring to is Kenneth von Heidecke, of Naperville’s Von Heidecke School of Ballet and Founder of the Chicago Festival Ballet. 
While I often receive a variety of press releases and requests for postings covering a wide array of topics, this particular message caught my attention given my deep passion for the arts and all forms of artistic expression, which had garnered Jennifer’s attention.
In January, I finally had the opportunity to sit down with Ken for a conversation.  It was a dark winter weeknight with blizzard-like conditions on the long drive home from Des Plaines as I navigated my way toward the Von Heidecke School of Dance Studio just off of Naper Boulevard.  Though I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, I was very much looking forward to having the opportunity to meet with an individual who has devoted his life to the arts.  Little did I know what was about to emerge.
By the time our conversation ended, I was so deeply inspired by Ken’s amazing story, the details of which many people don’t know, that I offered to produce a documentary film about his life and proceeded to share the improvisational creative visions which were running through my mind.  After listening carefully in his enthusiastically humble style, Ken indicated his excitement about the idea not out of vanity but of the thought that his life story might inspire others to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds in life to realize unexpected purpose. 
I’m pleased to announce that with the majority of pre-production details completed, production got underway on Friday with a three hour rehearsal shoot involving the Alma Dance Company in Highland Park (many thanks to Artistic Directors Guillermo Leyva and Suzanne Lek as well as all of the company’s talented professional dancers for their support and cooperation). 
Principle photography will likely run through the end of 2009 before heading into post-production with an anticipated release in early 2010.  During this time, I will be maintaining a production diary here at the World of Naperville to not only provide updates on the project but to also to give readers an inside look into the independent filmmaking process.  Further, during this time I invite you to submit any questions you might have about the project or process via comments.  However, don’t expect me to divulge too many details about Ken’s story but suffice it to say that we will be taking a unique approach to the storytelling process.  
So, I invite you to stay tuned to the World of Naperville for production updates. SM