The Upper Peninsula is a landmass of 16,452 square miles enveloped by the Great Lakes Michigan and Superior and containing only three percent of Michigan’s total population—where there’s no school on the opening day of hunting season and a trip to Detroit would take just as long as a trip to St. Louis. Residents of the Upper Peninsula are proudly known as “Yoopers.”
In early 2009, amidst the widely publicized economic failures of the state and its Motor City, Governor Jennifer Granholm slashed funding for the State Fairs in Michigan. In step with the independent spirit of the region, the fifteen counties of the Upper Peninsula, along with the Hannahville Indian Tribe, created a coalition whose mission is to continue to support the U.P State Fair in providing a venue for “displaying, encouraging, and supporting agricultural and industrial pursuits in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.” By many accounts, the fair is better than ever.
Just as the Michigan Upper Peninsula State Fair showcases a wide swath of all that the Upper Peninsula has to offer, Our State Fair will showcase the fascinating history of the fair and its people. This one-of-a-kind film combines exciting, colorful visuals and personal interviews with fair organizers, carnival workers, exhibitors, and attendees, allowing audience members to discover the UP State Fair, the changing landscapes of local and rural economies, and the do-it-yourself spirit that is so inherent in the Upper Peninsula.
Part documentary, part musical, Our State Fair offers a unique approach to the genre by reimagining a handful of choreographed numbers from the 1945 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical State Fair, in partnership with local community theater group Players de Noc.
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Tara Kutz, Director/Producer
Born and raised in Michigan's beautiful Upper Peninsula, Tara Kutz is a filmmaker and production coordinator now based in New York City, where she works with acclaimed filmmakers Peter Sillen, Sam Green, Mai Iskander, Matt Wolf and others. She recently completed her graduate studies at The New School, where she received a Master's Degree in Media Studies and a graduate certificate in Documentary Media. In 2014, Tara filmed, directed and edited a short documentary film titled The Curator, which premiered at The New School’s Truth Be Told documentary film festival. Prior to attending The New School, Tara worked in video production and social media strategy at the Center for American Progress in Washington, DC. Her video work has been seen on MSNBC, The O’Reilly Factor, Showbiz Tonight, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, CBC, and more.
Chloe Heintz, ASSOCIATE Producer
Chloe Heintz is a non-profit development professional, outdoor educator and emerging independent film producer based in New York’s Hudson Valley. Chloe has a recreational background in performance: in various musical theater roles; as the bass in an all-female barbershop quartet; and most recently as an alto in a pop a cappella group and in a soul voices ensemble. After graduating summa cum laude from Purchase College with a bachelor’s degree in Women’s Studies and Economics, she has gone on to coordinate the rape crisis program in Westchester County and more recently, development systems for Riverkeeper, Inc.; she also currently co-teaches a wilderness education course for Purchase College. Chloe is driven by conversations about social justice; power and humility; and community.
Nathan Reich, Director of Photography
Nathan Reich is a filmmaker and musician from San Francisco, California currently living and working in New York City. He is most known for his songwriting which has been featured on MTV, NPR, Spotify and three episodes of NBC’s critically acclaimed series Parenthood. In 2014 Nathan completed a graduate certificate program at The New School for Documentary Media Studies. Heavy Fog Tonight, completed while in attendance at The New School, is his first short documentary and his debut as a filmmaker. The film premiered at the 2015 DOC/NYC film festival, and was selected to screen at Slamdance, Big Sky and other film festivals.
A trained guitarist and graduate of The Berklee College of Music, Nathan has travelled throughout the world playing his own music alongside such notable acts as Counting Crows, Langhorne Slim, and Melissa Ferrick. He currently plays acoustic guitar in the new musical project of David Duchovny, best known for his role as Fox Mulder from The X-Files.
Andrew Fox, Arranger/Composer
Theatrical orchestrations include grammy-nominee Justin Roberts' Hansel and Gretel, Starkid's Twisted: The Untold Story of a Royal Vizier, Foreverman (Winner 2012 NYMF Awards for Excellence, Outstanding Orchestration), Roads Courageous, Edges, and the "Still" orchestration for From Broadway With Love: A Benefit Concert for Sandy Hook. He was the musical coordinator for the North American premiere of Stephen Schwartz's My Fairytale and has contributed orchestrations to the children's musicals Space Pirates and Tut, Tut!. In addition to having orchestrated Twisted, he also produced its original cast recording (which reached #67 on the iTunes Top 100) and the Twisted: Twisted bonus record, which featured Andrea Ross and Italian jazz vocalists Cluster. Andrew also co-produced the original cast recording for Hansel and Gretel.
Film work includes original scoring for Dream Lover, arrangements & music production for Thunderstruck: An AC/DC Movie Musical, assistant scoring for The Anonymous People, original songs for Solomon Grundy: Born on a Monday, arrangements for the webseries Kef Date, and contributions to several award-winning shorts.
Brian Crimmins, Supervising Sound Engineer
Brian Crimmins is a Brooklyn, NY based audio engineer, mixer, and composer. He has worked in the music department for composer T. Griffin on the films The E-Team, Evolution of a Criminal, The Overnighters, Tocando La Luz, Welcome To Leith, and others. He has done post production mixing and sound design for VH1's Love & Hip Hop (and its spinoffs, Love & Hip Hop Atlanta, Love & Hip Hop Hollywood, K Michelle, and the forthcoming Stevie J and Joseline Go Hollywood), Discovery Channel's Amish Haunting, and many independent feature and short films. Before he turned his focus to film and TV, Brian wrote, produced, performed, and engineered music. He played for four years with These Animals, and has engineered Belly Fire, Lewis Watson, Kari Spieler (of Swear & Shake), Alyssa Kayhill, Kayce Laine, Eric Vitoff, and others.