With wine clubs as a model, the Folklight Film Club brings hands-on, artisanal filmmaking to Sonoma County
Brooke Tansley moved to Sonoma County from Los Angeles in 2010. A 28-year entertainment industry veteran, Tansley said she was inspired to bring back the narrative of real-life community stories.
“I want to change the world. I think we can change the world by changing the stories we tell,” she said. “We can foster empathy and understanding between people through the stories we tell, we can change hearts and minds, and we can make a kinder world together.”
After working in the wine industry, Tansley got an idea: she wondered if she could use the wine-club model to make movies instead.
“The values inherent in good winemaking — art with science, honing a craft and facilitating shared moments and quality time between people — were the same reasons I had become an artist and storyteller,” she said.
With that idea, the Folklight Film Club was born. Tanlsey said the pioneering notion of the film club isn’t about making people rich, but making community important.
“I don’t think what we are doing has ever been done before,” she said.
Membership is $79 per quarter. Tansley said the entire project will take two years, bringing the membership fee total to $632. Membership enrollment ends Nov. 1 and then a survey will be sent out to invite stories from local participants.
Filming is scheduled to begin in April 2019, and all content will be taken directly from the surveys, built on the recollections of residents in the area.
Nine events will accompany the project, including a panel discussion with the filmmakers and cast, a red carpet Oscar party, a concert of the original soundtrack, a gallery show of art inspired by the film, member-made short films, a festival of member shorts and a members’ red carpet premiere. Members will also make key decisions during the filmmaking process.
Tansley, who lives in Guerneville with her husband and daughter, first came to Sonoma County with Transcendence Theatre Company/Broadway Under the Stars. After several successful seasons helping build the company, she began laying the groundwork for Folklight.
“I’m thrilled to be bringing movie making back to storytelling’s original purpose, strengthening our community's bonds through our shared stories, values and wisdom, and I'm thrilled to be doing it here in Sonoma County,” she said.
The film’s screenwriter will be Bradley Fowler. According to his online biography, Fowler spent more than five years as a professional comedian and has written many screenplays, including “Love Meet Hope,” starring Ed Asner. As an actor, he was most recently seen in “Jonny’s Sweet Revenge” and has several films in production, including “Texas Heart.”
Fowler said he is excited to be part of a project that offers the opportunity to work with a different structure.
“It’s not typical; it’s not even atypical,” he said. “It’s different than any other films I’ve done in the past.”
With an emphasis on capturing unique local stories from residents of Sonoma County, instead of just profitability, Fowler said he thinks the screenwriting process will be one with much more artistic merit.
“It liberates me personally as a writer to tell the story we want to tell,” he said.
To become a member or to find out more, visit folklightfilmclub.com.