Eau Claire Filmmaker’s Work Featured at Austin Film Festival

Nealy Corcoran

GRIEVING AND GROWING. Speaking in Tongues is the story of a student who copes with his mother’s passing during a summer internship with a megachurch.
GRIEVING AND GROWING. Speaking in Tongues is the story of a student who copes with his mother’s passing during a summer internship with a megachurch.

This year marked the 25th Anniversary of the Austin Film Festival. Founded in 1993, the festival was the first event of its kind and is recognized for bringing together all levels of screenwriting, filmmaking, and artists who use the language of film to tell a story. This year’s event featured Wisconsin filmmaker Nathan Deming and the world premiere of his film, Speaking In Tongues.

Written and directed by Deming, Speaking In Tongues features a UW-Eau Claire student grieving the loss of his mother. Struggling to keep his faith during a period where he feels adrift, he finds purpose at a local megachurch’s summer internship evangelizing the “lost.” As summer continues, his new faith is put to the test. Filmed at UWEC, the State Theatre, and various locations all over downtown, the project was self-funded and consisted of local actors and crew that volunteered their time.

I love all kinds of movies, but mainly just want to make ones that are personal, realistic, and natural. Nathan Deming, writer/director of Speaking in Tongues

Deming grew up in Tomah knowing that he wanted to make films and that he loved to write. From 2007-11, he pursued a degree in writing from Webster University in St. Louis. Following graduation, he still wanted to make films, but was unsure of what to do. He began looking at graduate programs and eventually decided on the London Film School. “I was lucky enough to get in and the whole experience was really important to me,” Deming said. “It was an incredible opportunity to live abroad, meet people from all over the world, and study in a school run by one of my favorite directors, British filmmaker Mike Leigh.”

While attending the London Film School, Deming made a short film called, Tongues. The film was based on his college experiences as a Christian, and was also his first experience directing with a proper production. Shot at a studio in North London, the film went on to the London Short Film Festival and other European festivals. It was the seed of Speaking in Tongues.

“It was exciting to watch it with the people in Austin and hear that it was already causing some debate,” Deming said. During the festival, he ran into a group who had had a hot discussion about the film. “I don’t necessarily want to cause arguments, but it is exciting to hear that sharing your personal story causes some people to argue about it and what it meant. That’s the whole reason you make a personal film in the first place I think.”

Deming is currently working on his next feature, set entirely in Eau Claire and is hoping to shoot in fall and winter of 2019, although he is still figuring out the best ways to find inspiration for his films. “I love all kinds of movies, but mainly just want to make ones that are personal, realistic, and natural,” he said. Setting up shop in the Midwest is also important to him. “Wisconsin is just a part of who I am: It’s the place I know the best, and understand the most.”

For more information about Deming’s film, visit speakingintonguesfilm.com.

Press and hold the up/down arrows to scroll.