Cable’s newly rebranded MCN6 has planned four hours of special Valentine’s Day movie-watching.
What formerly was known at Metro Cable Network is becoming Minnesota’s Community Network, said acting MCN6 director Stuart DeVaan, a former WCCO-TV broadcast engineer. “We are going to do more with the internet [MCN6.org livestream], more social media with a focus on producing Minnesota-made content,” he said. “We are producing Minnesota-made movies. We have two hours blocked out highlighting either short films or feature films. The idea would be to interview the artist and then play their films.”
He added, “We are not cable access, so we don’t get any funding from the cable companies, but we are more ubiquitous. We’re on all the cable networks throughout the Twin Cities metro; in over 62,000 homes. What we are doing is more of [a] sponsorship underwriting model; building a sales team to find sponsors for, say, if someone wanted to produce a game show.”
Hey, if Ellen DeGeneres can do it. …
“Because we are a nonprofit, we don’t have to make a lot of money to make something like that a reality,” said DeVaan, who also plans to use “the latest, greatest technology to bring multicamera video production cost way down and then setting up so we can do remote bands, remote dance — basically remote events.”
While talking to DeVaan, I realized he was in a position to help with a couple Fancy Ray-related image problems. I asked if the MCN6 archive footage from “Get Down With It” that captures me — rope in one hand, an apple being tossed by the other — threatening to put Fancy Ray on a spit and roast him like a pig could just disappear? Oh, and could we also dump Fancy Ray’s 20th anniversary retrospective, anchored by me, during which I was nicer than usual because I was there to “honor” the “Best Lookin’ Man in Comedy”? I can live without another colleague saying, “The other night I couldn’t sleep so I was flipping channels when I saw. …”
DeVaan burst into laughter repeatedly throughout my entreaty, to which he responded with seriousness before saying, “I know you’re kidding.”
As for Valentine’s Day, between 6 and 10 p.m., the network that now mostly broadcasts religion shows and movies in the public domain is airing the “Minnesota-Made Short Film Showcase,” said producer Russell Johnson, a Twin Cities Film Fest development team member. Johnson, interviewed below, plans to air a new showcase every month in addition to feature films that will be a regular part of programming.
Q: In your wildest dreams, what will MCN6 look like in six months?
A: You’ll see some game shows, music shows, Minnesota-made documentaries. I want to make it the home of Minnesota-made film. If you are a filmmaker here, you have a home at Channel 6. We are also looking for the support of the companies that do business with film companies. The rental companies, the editing companies. We’re hoping that those become the sponsors.
Q: How long are the movies?
A: There are 20-plus films — relationship films, drama, comedy, sci-fi. They are all locally made and locally acted and being sponsored by Floyd Total Security. Some of them were made for festivals; I asked the filmmakers if I could play them. Others were submitted. … The films are diverse — directed by people who are LGBT, Asian, women, black. I tried to find films from everywhere.
Q: Tell me about some of Thursday’s movies.
A: “Sad Clown” won an audience choice award at the Twin Cities Film Fest in 2014. [In] that particular film, two clowns fall in love and then out of love. Visually it’s very stimulating. The shortest film is “The Midway,” by Patrick Pierson. It’s one minute and 57 seconds. It’s about a couple on a date at the Minnesota State Fair. The longest film is 21 minutes, 20 seconds. It’s called “Blue Silver,” by Nathan Block. He actually [co-]owns the Woodbury 10 Theater. He’s probably one of the busiest producers of independent short films I know. It’s about a married couple; the husband had an affair.
Q: Do you have a movie in there?
A: I have one called “All Choked Up,” and it’s eight minutes and 6 seconds. It was made for the 48-Hour Film Festival, and it’s a comedy. It’s a Valentine’s film. A couple come home and find a dead girl in their house and they don’t know how she got there. Ends up she went to the wrong house and choked on a piece of Valentine’s Day candy.
Q: Why are we laughing?
A: It is kind of funny.
Q: The detective in “All Choked Up” is sort of an Eric Eskola look-alike?
A: Not sure.
Q: The guy with the mustache and gray hair on TPT2’s “Almanac”?
A: Oh, [the actor is] Tom Ritchie — kind of looks like Einstein. That was his first acting role; he’s mainly a producer.
Q: You’re an actor, too?
A: Yes. I’m in like seven films coming out this year; I get cast a lot as a cop and a bad guy. I’m currently in a Healthy for Life Meals commercial. I play the male half of a couple walking inside the Como Park Conservatory.
C.J. can be reached at email@example.com and seen on Fox 9’s “Buzz.” E-mailers, please state a subject; “Hello” does not count.