FROM FLAME TO FILM: Local Comedian, UWEC Grad Announce Surprise Short Film
"Everything I Learned When My House Burned Down" to debut at Midwest WeirdFest
UW-Eau Claire graduate and Found Footage Festival co-founder, Joe Pickett, and Chippewa Valley comedian and artist, Jacy Catlin, announced a surprise collaboration at the end of February: Everything I Learned When My House Burned Down, a comedy short film.
The nine-minute short film centers on Catlin’s own devastating experience from 2021 when he and his family suffered a massive house fire, their home located near Fairchild. The home went up in flames in February of that year, the coldest of the month, and while the Osseo Rural Fire Department did their very best to quell it, putting out a fire in subzero temperatures was an unfathomable task. The fire resulted in the home’s total loss, decades' worth of the families belongings with it.
Since then, Catlin and his family have been picking up the pieces, and in his social media announcement of the short film, he commented on the past two years’ journey.
“I have been under a pile of stressful and time-consuming life stuff since my house burned down 2 years ago. I apologize for not making many jokes during this dark period, but I do have some cool news. I secretly made a short film with (Joe Pickett),” Catlin announced.
Pickett was approached by Catlin to direct the short, saying in typical humorous fashion, “I was lucky that he asked me to direct it. Or maybe I wasn’t because we inhaled a lot of things that lungs shouldn’t inhale.”
The dark-humor, absurdist comedy will make its debut at the Midwest WeirdFest in downtown Eau Claire on Saturday, March 4, at 12pm at the Micon Downtown Theater. The local film fest runs March 3-5.
The entire short was shot against a backdrop of the burned-down home, starring Catlin, expanding on the loss and finding laughter in some of life’s darkest moments. The summary describes it as, “filled with absurd dark humor and disturbingly fascinating imagery from start to finish.”
Everything I Learned When My House Burned Down has also been selected to run at the Wisconsin Film Fest in Madison, April 13-20, and a third festival Catlin is not able to formally announce until March 3, with more submissions awaiting decision.
“Once we are done showing it theatrically we will plop it on the Internet of course, but currently it is not available online,” Catlin said.
Buy tickets to Midwest WeirdFest to view the film's first public showing and see the time slot's full lineup, and learn more about the film on FilmFreeway.