Podtalks: Midwest Film Festival Presents ‘Prairie Girls’ & ‘Provo’ on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022

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CHICAGO – First Tuesday for the Midwest Film Festival (MFF) is on September 6th, 2022, presenting the short “Prairie Girls” (Benett Holgerson) and feature “Provo” (Emma Thatcher) at the Gene Siskel Film Center. For ticket info, click MFF SEPT FIRST TUESDAY.

“Prairie Girls” is a kaleidoscope of time travel, fantasy, animation and interactive relationships that follow the title characters from their time to modern times, using distinct weaponry and the discovery of where everyone needs to be. Cast includes Bennet’s sister Abby Holgerson and Claire Reed as the Prairie Girls, in addition to Tarathorn Boonngamanong, Arbit Rushiti, Sofia Marichal and Henry Barford. The original score is by Richard Orofino and animation is by Jasmine Soompholphakdy.

‘Prairie Girls,’ Written/Directed by Benett Holgerson
Photo credit: MidwestFilm.com

In “Provo,” writer/director Emma Thatcher portrays Liz, an aimless underemployed ne’er-do-well in Chicago who finds out that her estranged father is dying in Provo, Utah. She reluctantly decides to go to his deathbed, mostly to tell him how horrible her life was with him during her developmental years. Accompanying her on the trip is her boyfriend-she-will-not-call-boyfriend Geoffrey (Hunter Bryant), and that conflicted designation will ride along with them.

Bennet Holgerson got his Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting, with a minor in filmmaking. He has received recognition for “Close Up” (Best LGBT Short at Vesuvius and Agententeuil Film Festivals) and “Supernatural Nanny” (Best Film, MICA Film/Animation Fest). He resides in Madison, Wisconsin.

Emma Thatcher is a veteran shorts filmmaker and stage-trained actor. Although the character of Liz shares some traits with Emma – including a former association with the Mormon religion – the names, events and locations have all changed. “Provo” is her debut feature film, and she is currently working on her second, which will center on the Chicago music scene.

Emma Thatcher in ‘Provo’
Photo credit: MidwestFilm.com

The Midwest Film Festival (formerly the Midwest Independent Film Festival) has been a staple in Chicago’s film community for 15 years. Through Executive Director Erica Duffy, the Festival thrives by bringing together the Chicago film community on every First Tuesday of the month in this ongoing cinema celebration.

Podtalk interviews with the two filmmakers are below. Emma Thatcher was recorded in July of 2022, on the occasion of “Provo” opening the Chicago Underground Film Festival.

In a Podtalk with Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com, Benett Holgerson of “Prairie Girls” talks about his mixed media approach …

In PART ONE of a Podtalk with Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com, writer/director/lead actor Emma Thatcher of “Provo” talks autobiographical elements of the film and other production notes …

In PART TWO, Emma dishes on Nico the Weed Man and Mormonism …

First Tuesdays at The Midwest Film Festival Presents “Prairie Girls” by Benett Holgerson and “Provo” by Emma Thatcher at the Gene Siskel Film Center – 164 North State Street in Chicago – at 7pm on Tuesday, September 6th, 2022. For more info re: The Midwest Film Festival, click here.

HollywoodChicago.com senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor and Film Writer

© 2022 Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com

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